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Fire News in Focus
by Adam K. Thiel

No joke: Prank video crosses the line

Clips like this one don't shine a positive light on the fire and emergency services

By Adam K. Thiel

Editor's note: With a video, titled "Rookie prank," showing a masked man bursting into a fire station making the headlines, our Editorial Advisor Chief Adam K. Thiel gives his take below.

Wow! This one really leaves me speechless...

If you haven't figured it out yet, local fire departments are under huge pressure to justify their resources, staffing levels, pay and benefits (for career/combination organizations), and in some cases, their very existence.

Setting that aside for a moment, I think it's particularly inappropriate to bring violence (even "fake" violence, although it probably didn't feel "fake" to the firefighters who weren't in on the joke) into the firehouse.

Too many of our brother and sister firefighters have been killed through the years in violent incidents; it's just not funny.

Beyond these obvious issues, videos like this one, wherever they come from and for whatever purpose they were originally intended, don't shine a positive light on the fire and emergency services.

We know that most firefighters spend the majority of their time — when not running calls — training, performing community outreach activities, doing fire prevention, maintaining equipment, etc.

Imagine, however, that you are a citizen who doesn't know much about your local fire department; and then you see this video. What would your first impressions be about your department and its members?

Not too good, right?

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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