Harrisburg, PA – Today, the Pennsylvania Senate unanimously confirmed Thomas Cook to serve as Pennsylvania’s first Senate-confirmed state fire commissioner. In this role, Commissioner Cook leads the development and operation of Pennsylvania’s emergency service training program and supports the Commonwealth’s 2,400 fire departments and personnel.
“I am truly honored to be nominated by the Governor to serve in this role and humbled by the opportunity that lays before the Office of State Fire Commissioner,” Commissioner Cook said. “Fire departments across the Commonwealth are facing ongoing challenges such as recruitment, safety, and revenue shortfalls, and I look forward to working with Governor Shapiro and the General Assembly to find solutions to these challenges and continue to further public safety in Pennsylvania.”
Since his nomination in January, under Cook’s leadership the Office has sought to:
- Modernize and streamline training opportunities to improve access to the State Fire Academy, expand recruitment and retention outreach from the Office of State Fire Commissioner, and provide stakeholders with professional and timely service.
- Better inform first responders and the communities they operate in of the operational challenges posed to fire service including declining volunteer rates, rising expenses coupled with funding scarcity, and an increase in operational tempo that has driven exhaustion, injuries, and fatalities.
- Make fire prevention/community risk reduction a priority for the office going forward. Keeping the public actively engaged and informed will reverse the trend of deadly fire incidents, and ultimately make firefighters and citizens safer.
Before serving in the Shapiro Administration, Commissioner Cook was the Deputy Fire Commissioner under Governor Tom Wolf. Prior to that, Commissioner Cook was the administrator of the Pennsylvania State Fire Academy with oversight of the firefighter training system for the Commonwealth.
Commissioner Cook also held the position of assistant fire chief of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire, overseeing the day-to-day operations of a 700-person department. Cook also held positions in the Mount Lebanon Fire Department and Monroeville Volunteer Fire Department.
Contact: L. Paul Vezzetti – firstname.lastname@example.org, 717-503-9289