I've written several times, including recently, about fire and EMS response to potentially violent incidents. When I wrote those commentaries, I was talking about responding away from the fire station.
Unfortunately, however, as this story demonstrates, even the firehouse can be a setting for violence. At least this incident didn't result in any deaths or injuries.
While I'm guessing we don't know the whole story in this case, and beyond the broader issue of how we resolve interpersonal conflicts in the fire and emergency services, it brings up another topic that we don't like to discuss: weapons in fire department facilities.
Frankly, this isn't the first time I've heard of a firefighter threatening another firefighter with a weapon. Although I hope it's not a common occurrence, I know that physical violence is not always experienced beyond (what should always be) the safety of the four walls in which our brother and sister firefighters work, train and live together.
Now, I'm not an expert on the Second Amendment, and I realize there might be times when firearms will show up on fire department property.
That's exactly my point; beyond the business need for sworn fire marshals and other law enforcement officers to carry weapons, we need to understand when, where and how firearms should be allowed, stored and rendered safe in our fire departments.
What do you think?
About the author
With more than two decades in the field, Chief Adam K. Thiel ó FireRescue1's editorial advisor ó 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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Ryan JensenMonday, August 26, 2013 8:27:48 PMAs a firefighter that is also a police officer I can tell you that I would not want weapons allowed in the fire house. Too many emotionally charged people work in the fire service which is great when you want someone to advocate for your care or be aggressive in attacking a fire but not when you have interpersonal conflict. On the other side of he coin, I have rolled into countless staged scenes where armed disturbances have rolled out to our location. I have worked at several fire departments over the years and my opinion stays the same. I am all for gun ownership and CCW but I am not in favor of weapons in the station.
Robert J Vance IITuesday, August 27, 2013 6:32:38 AMIf you don't trust your fellow firefighters with a gun, then you shouldn t trust them at all.
Ted ScottTuesday, August 27, 2013 1:22:46 PMRobert J Vance II.
Are you serious? As firefighters we trust each other with our lives on a daily bases, but that doesnít mean I want my fellow firefighter armed. Itís more of an argument of whatís best for the Fire / EMS service. Should we be armed or not. Iíve spent most of my carrier working the inter city and personally donít see the need to be armed. MOST (Not all) of the Firefighter / EMT / Paramedic that IíVE worked with, that have been involved in altercations have brought it on themselves with there mouth and actions. By putting a gun in there hands were escalating an already bad situation.
Patricia Sparkles BoumanThursday, August 29, 2013 7:14:04 AMI believe firefighters should have guns on them at the station. Any weirdo can walk into their station off the streets, at gun point and hold them hostage, and as another ff. can maybe reach for his gun.... the world is a crazy sick place these days... you never know.. you see it o T.V. but it can happen in real life guys... just learn to RESPECT and get ALONG with one another at te Station. .. and on call if a sicko shoots at an medic or ff... shoot back....=]