CNN’s Lisa Sylvester reports “a battalion chief is now being reprimanded” for the incident I dubbed “watergate” (unfortunately no one else likes my name for this). This was the assignment of one of the busiest engine companies in the country to go out of service to fill an above ground swimming pool. This happened on a day the DC Fire & EMS Department handled more than 1500 calls in the aftermath of last Friday’s storm that caused major power disruptions for much of the National Capital area.
DC Fire & EMS Department Chief Kenneth Ellerbe told Sylvester yesterday, “They ran it up the flag pole and they were told not to do it, but unfortunately that information was not communicated down to the company level. We found out where the break down is and we are going to just have to take appropriate action.”
According to Sylvester, Chief Ellerbe insists there is no connection between the homeowner and anyone in the fire department that brought about this special treatment. When asked if the department will be filling any pools in the future Chief Ellerbe said, “No”. It was also interesting that despite all that work the crew from Engine 30 did to fill that pool, it has now been drained (see the picture below).
If you’ve been following this story since the start, I hope you’ve been paying attention. There is a real good media lesson in this one. In the next few days I hope to discuss how the filling of a little above-ground swimming pool because of what Chief Ellerbe now says was a simple communications screw-up aroused such suspicion that the story lasted all week and then made national news. Lots of missteps that you can learn from.
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Also on STATter911 …
- Water-Gate II, The Sequel: DC firefighters fill another private swimming pool after chief tells CNN it wouldn’t happen again. – July 9, 2012
- Busy DC fire engine placed out of service to fill pool. Order came as firefighters scrambled to handle major storm workload. – July 3, 2012
- Watergate update: DC Chief Kenneth Ellerbe launches investigation. Says he didn’t approve pool filling but wants to find out who did. – July 3, 2012
- Paramedic shortage in Nation’s Capital. TV station reports medics leaving DC at high rate due to overwork & stress. – November 5, 2012
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