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Fire News in Focus
by Adam K. Thiel

Often truth in jest

FireRescue1's April Fool's story wouldn't have surprised any of us if it actually was true

By Adam K. Thiel

When I first saw the title of FireRescue1's article on Friday, "Mayor wants to ban term 'firefighter,'" like many of you, I wasn't really surprised.

Despite the April 1st byline, it seemed entirely possible, given the "tenor of the times."

While it quickly became apparent that this story was an April Fools' Day joke, the fact that it wouldn't have surprised any of us if it were true is worth considering.

As my mother used to say, "there's often truth in jest."

Like it or not, the way firefighters are perceived by citizens, elected officials, city/county managers, and the media is vitally important to achieving our mission.

We are generally fortunate to have the trust and confidence of the public, but sometimes our behaviors make it difficult to retain that critical bond.

So after having a good laugh, take the opportunity for a quick self-assessment and think about how you and your department are perceived by those we serve.

Stay safe!

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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