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Fire News in Focus
by Adam K. Thiel

Clocking in: A sign of changing times

Perhaps, citing an oft-quoted phrase, the best idea is to "trust but verify"

By Adam K. Thiel

Editor's note: Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson is moving quickly to install time clocks that read fingerprints in all fire stations to ensure that firefighters are actually on the job on the days they are paid to be. Read the story, and check out Chief Adam K. Thiel's take below.

While I think it is uncommon, although certainly not unheard of, for firefighters to formally clock in and clock out of the fire station, I wonder if this story is a sign of changing times (pun intended), or an isolated response to a local situation?

As you can see from the story, and perhaps contrary to what you might think, both labor and management agree on the proposal to install biometric timeclocks in Cleveland firehouses.

And why wouldn't they?

My experience has been that many firefighters work a lot more hours than they are compensated for; by relieving their brothers and sisters early, staying late when needed to run calls or assist with other activities, participating in outside (off-duty) training, and otherwise "living" according to the finest traditions of our service.

Unfortunately, there are others — a much smaller group — who take advantage of the trust placed in us by our citizens, and as a result, tarnish our entire profession.

Perhaps, citing an oft-quoted phrase, the best idea is to: "trust but verify."

What do you think?

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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