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Fire News in Focus
by Adam K. Thiel

I'm glad it wasn't a firefighter

The caught-on-camera scuffle between a woman and a police officer is why we need law enforcement on scene

By Adam K. Thiel

Editor's note: Chief Adam K. Thiel says that while it is never acceptable to strike a police officer, a little empathy may be in order for those who are watching all of their possesions go up in flames.

I'm not sure what to say about this story beyond: I'm glad it was a police officer and not a firefighter involved!

In all seriousness, it makes you wonder what might have transpired if law enforcement wasn't already on scene.

I've certainly encountered irate property owners, and bystanders, at fires before. As quick as we are to condemn their behavior, it's important to consider how we might feel in a similar situation.

What would you do if your home, all your worldly possessions, and your pets were involved in a fire?

Would you calmly stand back and watch? Hmmmm ... I'm not sure I could do that; could you?

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not condoning anyone attacking a law enforcement officer, firefighter, EMS provider or other public official regardless of the circumstances.

Still, I think a bit of empathy in these circumstances goes a long way. After all, finding your house on fire is a pretty bad day in anyone's book.

The central question for all of us, however, remains: "How do we handle people (maybe even brother or sister firefighters) who really want to run back inside a burning building without protection?"

What do you think?

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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