A new face has been leading Hays fire safety inspections with the promotion of Hays Fire Department Deputy Fire Chief Ryan Hagans in September.

Hagans, who has been with the HFD since October 2003, oversees inspections of schools and businesses. He said he learned much about the position from his predecessor, Wendy Schumacher.

"He showed you the amount of coordination and everything it takes to make our town run safely," Hagans said.

Schumacher's friendly rapport with community members influenced how Hagans views his responsibilities.

"We're not here to be the long arm of the law, you might say," he said. "We're here to work with our community, with our schools, with our hotels and all of our businesses to make this a safe community."

The new deputy fire chief wants to continue encouraging HFD's employees to pursue professional education.

"From the new guy on up, just to make ourselves better at our jobs," he said.

Hagans has three children with his wife, Stephanie. He moved to Hays from Utica when he started as a firefighter because of the area's schools.

"It's just a great place to raise a family," he said.

Hagans encouraged residents to use the HFD's smoke and carbon monoxide alarm programs. For more information about eligibility and benefits, call the HFD at (785) 628-7330.