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Fire News in Focus
by Adam K. Thiel

Do citizens feel comfortable physically attacking us?

I can't help but wonder if the overall negative tone of discussions about government agencies and employees is affecting behavior

By Adam K. Thiel

I have to admit that while reading this story I briefly suppressed a chuckle at the idea of someone throwing a frying pan at a fire engine!

But, obviously, violence against firefighters, medics, and code enforcement officials is never a laughing matter.

I don't think there's a solid data collection system for attacks against fire department personnel, but anecdotally it seems like such incidents are on the rise.

I can't help but wonder if the overall negative tone of discussions (in the media and elsewhere) about government agencies and employees (including volunteers since our citizens don't always know who's who on a fire scene) is affecting behavior to the point where people feel more "comfortable" attacking us?

Regardless of the motivation or initial presentation, we must take any incident of violence against our brothers and sisters very seriously.

Who knows if the rocks will be followed by a weight bench or a bullet? It's important to develop good working relationships with our law enforcement partners to quickly address attacks, as well as ensure the laws in our respective states, provinces, territories, and nations provide appropriate penalties as both punishment and deterrent.

Stay safe and keep your head down!

About the author

With more than two decades in the field, Chief Adam K. Thiel FireRescue1's editorial advisor is an active fire chief in the National Capital Region and a former state fire director for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Chief Thiel's operational experience includes serving with distinction in four states as a chief officer, incident commander, company officer, hazardous materials team leader, paramedic, technical rescuer, structural/wildland firefighter and rescue diver. He also directly participated in response and recovery efforts for several major disasters including the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Tropical Storm Gaston and Hurricane Isabel.



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