The Next Step: Charleston Facts Part 2

Clearly, the fire in Charleston that took the lives of nine firefighters shook all members of the fire service in one way or the other. Most firefighters were shocked, saddened and upset. Why wouldn't we be? We have lost 9 "more" firefighters-in a...


Managing the information during this process also requires an expert and the Public Information Specialist coordinating the facts is Pete Piringer. Pete is currently Director of Community Outreach and Public Information for the Montgomery County (Maryland) Fire and Rescue Service and is assigned to the Division of Community Risk Reduction. In this capacity he serves as the Public Information Officer and oversees the Life Safety Education Team. Pete previously served as the Public Information Officer for the Maryland State Police and presently serves as Chairman of the Washington (D.C.) Area Public Safety Media Relations Council. He has over 35 years of public safety experience and for 23 years, from 1975 to 1998, Mr. Piringer worked for Prince Georges's County (Maryland) Fire/EMS and served in numerous capacities, including Public Information Officer. He is the recipient of numerous fire/rescue awards, including the Prince George's County Chamber of Commerce Gold Medal of Valor, Maryland EMS Institute Outstanding Contribution to EMS Award, as well as several American Legion and VFW Firefighter of the Year awards.

While numerous external resources and individuals will support the above lead teams efforts, this appears to be a very professional and positive start by the Mayor. While some might think these folks are there serving at the Mayor's pleasure-forget it. These folks are busy, have plenty to do in their professional and personal lives. None of them would waste their time if they were not given full authority to seek and provide the facts and truth without any interference. None of them would 'touch" this investigation if there was the slightest concern that what they say would not be made public. None of them.

Now, add the experts at NIST as well as the experts at NIOSH to the above experts and odds are-the FACTS will come out in a coordinated and professional manner. Odds are the above team will communicate with the NIST folks and the NIOSH folks and from all these areas of expertise, the facts will come out so we can learn and not repeat history, once again.