Mental Health Task Force Established in Charleston

The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation is organizing a task force of professionals.CHARLESTON -- The firefighters' funerals are over. The national media has left town.But, things are far from back to normal for the Charleston Fire Department and...

Sitting in the command post last Saturday afternoon, Bowie said city officials realized early on the logistics of the memorial service and the days ahead would be overwhelming.

An incident command system was initiated, and various people were assigned tasks. Charleston police and city officials also participated in the effort.

A local chief handled scheduling the fill-in crews at the Charleston fire stations so personnel could attend the funerals. Others coordinated lunches and other meals to be served in between the services.

Bowie said there was a multitude of things to do, and that everyone worked well together.

On Tuesday, a financial benefits seminar was conducted for families. Representatives of federal, state and local agencies were available to meet with the survivors to assist them with the paperwork involved.

Siarnicki said the South Carolina task force worked well. "This is just what we envisioned. We're hoping to get one in every state. We received a Department of Justice grant to get these started. It's important to have this nucleus group because they know the players in their state."