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Fire News in Focus
by Adam K. Thiel

Staying calm when others are not

Difficult as it may be, staying calm in the face of irate civilians is part of the job

By Adam K. Thiel

Editor's note: Chief Adam K. Thiel turns to poet Kipling as an inspiration to keep cool when others are losing theirs.

Thanks to one of my supervisors a few years ago, there's a great poem by Rudyard Kipling that I always carry along with me now. It's titled "If."

The poem begins: "If you can keep your head when all about you. Are losing theirs and blaming it on you."

And one of its closing lines is: "Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it."

The point, of course, is that we — as firefighters and EMS providers — are always supposed to be calm, composed and professional. This is especially true when others (those we serve) are not.

Enough said.

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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