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Fire News in Focus
by Adam K. Thiel

Seeing the positives: Helmet-cam captures great rescue

Balancing the potential down- and up-side of onscene video will likely continue to be a challenge faced by all our departments

By Adam K. Thiel

Editor's note: With a helmet-cam capturing firefighters rescuing three children from a house fire Tuesday in Calif., our Editorial Advisor Chief Adam K. Thiel gives his thoughts on video playing a positive role in firefighting.

We've certainly seen plenty of negative stories about "firefighter-produced" video and still photos, so it's nice to see a positive example of how the prevalence of cameras (on helmets, in mobile phones, on dashboards, or in pockets) can help our fire departments tell their better stories.

Obviously, if the outcome of this incident had been different, the resultant video footage could be a great deal more sensitive.

In this case, it documented three rescues by skilled and dedicated firefighters — and that's undoubtedly a good thing.

Balancing the potential down- and up-side of onscene video (both official and unofficial) will likely continue to be a challenge faced by all our departments.

Like so many things we do: when it's good, it's really good; but when it's bad, it can be really bad.

Stay safe and remember to smile for the camera(s)!

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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