Brown County fire and ambulance chief heard his calling early, devotes his life to public safety
Brown County Fire Chief and Ambulance Director Brian Gallaher does not just care about people, he also thrives on helping them during times of need.
“I love what I do and can’t imagine myself doing anything else,” Gallaher told West Central Reporter. “My favorite thing about my position is doing my best each and every day to ensure that the residents and visitors of our county have the very best emergency services available to them.”
Gallaher became ambulance director in October 1991 and fire chief in August 1994. He previously served as a paramedic for the Brown County Ambulance Service, and a firefighter and assistant fire chief for the Mount Sterling Fire Department and Brown County Fire Protection District.
“Overall, my experience as both the ambulance director and the fire chief have been wonderful,” Gallaher said. “I have, however, had my share of bad days, whether it be as a result of a bad call or as a result of dealing with an administrative issue such as disciplining an employee. My position requires that I prepare budgets and assure that the necessary funding to operate my departments is always there. That can be quite frustrating at times.”
Gallaher’s goals and aspirations, to continue to provide the very best emergency services possible to the community, are both simple and lofty at the same time.
“I work hard every day to secure funding to purchase the most advanced and state-of-the art equipment available to us without burdening the local taxpayers,” he said. “We are located 20 miles from the closest hospital and 40 miles from the closest Cardiac/Stroke/Trauma Center, so the emergency services that we provide are crucial to the residents and visitors of our county.”
Gallaher became interested in the firefighting field at a young age.
“As corny as it may sound, I knew from the time that I was five years old that I wanted to be a firefighter,” he said. “My favorite toys were fire trucks and I can remember as a child playing as a firefighter often. While we were at a family gathering a year or so ago, my Mom told the story about how all of the elderly ladies that lived in our neighborhood when I was a child often came running to their doors to see where the fire truck was going because when I imitated a siren as I was playing, it sounded like the real thing.”
Gallaher said he was also drawn to the profession because of the television show “Emergency!”.
“I can remember how excited I was to get home from school every afternoon to watch it,” he said. “If you are not familiar with that show, it was the groundbreaking show about two Los Angeles County Firefighter/Paramedics and it is credited with the start up of many paramedic services across our country in the mid-1970’s.”
Gallaher, who was born in Rushville and has lived his entire life in Mount Sterling, became a State of Illinois Emergency Medical Technician – Basic in 1989. He graduated from the Blessing Hospital Paramedic Program in 1991 and is a State of Illinois licensed paramedic. He has multiple other certifications related to emergency medical services and firefighting.
When he’s not working, Gallaher enjoys spending time with his family, attending flea markets and antiquing, especially for fire- and ambulance-related antiques.