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Fire News in Focus
by Adam K. Thiel

The importance of collaboration

Agencies need to train together, practice together, and establish solid working relationships

By Adam K. Thiel

Editor's note: Coordination and communication between different responding agencies helped the victims of recent MCI in Vermont escape with relatively minor injuries. Our Editorial Advisor Adam K. Thiel says there are lessons to be learned.

The successful resolution of this serious incident is another success story demonstrating the importance of collaboration across multiple agencies, disciplines, and jurisdictions.

Even though we regularly respond to events together, we can't take cooperation for granted with our mutual-aid fire, EMS, and law enforcement partners.

When was the last time you ran a MCI drill and invited participation from state and/or local law enforcement?

Do you include responding law enforcement officers in tailboard critiques or after-action reviews?

Are the policies and procedures used for commanding highway incidents shared by all the agencies who will be called to respond?

If we don't train together, practice together, and establish solid working relationships, we can't expect things to go well on the emergency scene, as they did in this case.

Think about it ...


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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