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Fire News in Focus
by Adam K. Thiel

Celebrity screw up is pub ed opportunity

Pulling fire alarms is serious business and Mr. Lewis' act can be used to explain that to the public

By Adam K. Thiel

Editor's note: Like many of us, celebrities screw up. In this case, Chief Adam K. Thiel says it is an excellent opportunity to teach the public about fire alarms.

In the interest of full disclosure, and not to make light of a potentially serious subject, I should probably start by saying that I'm a diehard Chicago Bears fan.

Still, I'm glad Dion Lewis and the Philadelphia Eagles issued an apology for this event.

Hopefully, some people are paying attention and understand why pulling a fire alarm is both malicious (just like the code book says) and, in many localities, a felony.

Others will likely be asking, "what's the big deal?" And that's where we come in.

It's important to use these opportunities to explain to our constituents why certain behaviors lead to increased risk, for them and their neighbors, regardless of whether or not they're directly involved

While it's not clear if this incident garnered a fire department response, most folks don't understand why that's a risky event — even for a false alarm; we should tell them.

Similarly, while almost every child is familiar with the "Boy who Cried Wolf," as we grow-up we sometimes forget (yes, even as firefighters) that complacency kills.

Maybe one of the national fire service organizations will approach Mr. Lewis and see if he's willing to be a spokesperson for a public education campaign to reduce malicious false alarms?

Who knows ... maybe even a helmet sticker for the 2012 NFL season?

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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