Mr. Burns started his fire service career with the Verplanck Fire Department in April 1961. He served as Lieutenant, Captain, Assistant Chief, and Chief of Department from 1981 to 1984. Mr. Burns also served as President of the Fire Company on two occasions and was elected to the Board of Fire Commissioners in 1987, where he served as Chairman of the Board, leaving this post to serve his position as appointed New York State Fire Administrator by Governor George Pataki in May 1995. Mr. Burns served in this position until his retirement in 2007.
Among other accomplishments in his service as State Fire Administrator, Mr. Burns presided over the development of the nation’s first cigarette fire safety requirements, which have since been duplicated exactly by 49 other
Mr. Burns has also served as President of the Westchester County Firemen’s Association, the Westchester Fire Chiefs Association and the Hudson Valley Volunteer Firemen’s Association. In 1988 he was elected as a member of the Board of Trustees of the NY State Firemen’s Home and was serving as President of that Board until his appointment as NY State Fire Administrator.
Mr. Burns also holds memberships with the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), NY State Association of Fire Chiefs, National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI), National Association of Emergency Managers (NAEM), International Fire Service Instructors (IFSI), and many other national and state fire organizations.
Mr. Burns has served on the Board of the National Professional Qualification Association (PRO Board) and served as President of the National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM) from July 2004 – July 2006.
Jim is the retired Postmaster of his home town of Verplanck having served 30 years as a Postal employee. Jim later served for 12 years as the State Fire Administrator under the administration of Governor George Pataki.