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Fire News in Focus
by Adam K. Thiel

Jet-propelled water cannon offers food for thought

The basic methods we employ for putting the wet stuff on the red stuff haven't changed much over the past 200 years

By Adam K. Thiel

Wow! Like many of you, I can't resist the urge to comment on this international story.

If it was April 2011 I'd probably think this was an April Fools' joke, but it's not.

When I finished laughing, the video made me think.

While it's difficult to imagine a firefighting application for such an apparatus in our normal operating environment, it's not hard to conjure up a scenario where it could be useful, especially during a hazardous materials emergency.

The broader issue, as several FR1 members have already pointed out, is the need for continued innovation in the way we approach fire and emergency incidents.

Although we are very fortunate to benefit from meaningful technological advances in vehicles, appliances, extinguishing agents, and personal protective equipment, the basic methods we employ for putting the wet stuff on the red stuff haven't changed much over the past 200 years.

Should they? I'm not sure, but I do know this old saying in business: Innovate or die.

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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