Super Bowl fire chief made right call

Hundreds of fans were turned away from Super Bowl XLV because of safety concerns

I'm a big football fan and planned to attend this year's Super Bowl until the Chicago Bears' unfortunate loss to that green and yellow team in the NFC Championship.

A few years ago I paid more than I care to remember to attend the Bears vs. Colts Super Bowl game in Miami; it was a great experience, despite the final score.

I can't imagine how it would have felt to make that trip and be denied my designated seat.

But I can absolutely imagine how it would feel to be trapped in a stadium with thousands of fans during an emergency, unable to quickly egress the venue.

If you've attended a professional sporting event lately, you know how tightly the seats are arranged; there's simply no room for error.

It's always a difficult call to deny people in situations like this one, and they're generally not going to (immediately) understand.

At the end of the day, however, they'll be alive; and that's always our principal responsibility.

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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