The key to successful joint responses

Sometimes we don't spend enough time developing positive working relationships and common standard operating procedures


Editor’s Note:

Editor's note: A fire at a northern California mall following a standoff highlights the importance of different public safety agencies being able to work closely together, says Editorial Advisor Chief Adam K. Thiel.

Beyond reinforcing the mantra — expect the unexpected — when responding to any type of emergency call, this story highlights the importance of fire and law enforcement cooperation during violent, or potentially violent, events.

There are many occasions where fire departments and our law enforcement counterparts work together in the street handling routine daily emergencies.

Yet sometimes we don't spend enough time developing positive working relationships and common standard operating procedures to meet our mutual goals of protecting lives and property.

The need for solid cooperation is even more vital when considering the risk of active shooter-type incidents that include improvised explosive devices (IEDs) or, as in this case, the use of fire as a weapon or distraction.

Whatever your rank/position in your department, take some time to reach out to your law enforcement counterpart(s) and start a "what-if"discussion.

That's the best way to start creating the mutual understanding and respect that forms the basis of a successful joint response.

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.

Recommended Fire Department Management

Join the discussion