Snow Hill, Maryland – On March 15, 2022, the commissioners recognized the career accomplishments of Worcester County Fire Marshal Jeff McMahon, who will retire March 31. McMahon joined Worcester County Government (WCG) on March 9, 1987. He played a pivotal role in transforming the Worcester County Fire Marshal’s Office (WCFMO) from a one-man shop into a team of highly-trained deputy fire marshals whose responsibilities include fire inspections and plan reviews, instructing fire safety awareness programs in schools and communities, investigating fires and explosions, and responding to hazardous materials incidents.
“In his role leading the WCFMO, volunteering with area fire companies, and heading up hazardous materials responses, Jeff has made a number of noteworthy marks on public safety in Worcester County,” Commissioner Joe Mitrecic said.
McMahon, who worked as a program director at WDMV radio in Pocomoke and also worked at WKHI, began his career with WCG in Emergency Services and was quickly promoted to the position of supervisor.
During that time, he played a key role in developing and maintaining the computer-aided dispatch system and the original 911 addresses, which required measuring and adding a physical 911 address for every 50-foot section of roadway in the county.
When the WCFMO was separated from Emergency Services in 1994, McMahon was recruited to the position of an assistant fire marshal. Eighteen months later the commissioners appointed him to lead the young department as the fire marshal.
Following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, he worked with local, state, and federal partners to establish the 40-member Special Hazards Response Team. This team consists of the county, fire, and emergency medical services (EMS) professionals, and volunteers who are trained to respond to biological, radiological, nuclear, and high-yield explosives. He also succeeded in having the WCFMO selected to serve as a beta tester for the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Fire Arms BATS (Basic Arson Tracking System).
McMahon spearheaded the development of the Fire Training Center in Newark, along with the 2006 replacement of its main classroom building, which now houses the special hazardous response equipment and serves as a training facility for fire, EMS, law enforcement, military, and Worcester Technical High School students earning certification as firefighters and emergency medical technicians.
He also authored the current policy requiring county fire marshals to be trained and certified as law enforcement officers, enabling the WCFMO to be officially recognized by the Maryland Police Training Commission as a law enforcement agency. This certification grants police authorities to deputy fire marshals when investigating the fire and explosive-related crimes.
McMahon also cultivated close working relationships between the WCFMO and other departments and agencies, which resulted in the sharing of manpower and specialty resources as needed with the Ocean City Fire Marshal’s Office and with the ten volunteer fire departments and all law enforcement agencies in Worcester County to investigate fires, particularly so when the origins are suspicious, involve fatalities, high-dollar losses, or other suspicious circumstances.
In addition to his service to WCG, McMahon was a paramedic for 24 years, served as vice president and president of the Maryland Fire and Explosive Investigators Association and sat on several National Fire Protection Association subcommittees.
He is a 41-year member and former assistant chief of the Girdletree Volunteer Fire Company as well as a current member of the International Association of Arson Investigators.
Upon his retirement, Fire Marshal Jeff McMahon will pass the torch of leadership to incoming Fire Marshal Matt Owens.
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