The Colo. massacre: Terror really can strike anywhere

Can any department be truly "ready" for an event like this one?

Like many of us located on the East Coast, I awoke Friday morning to the terrible, and still developing, news from Colorado.

Probably also like many FR1 readers, while thinking about all the lives and families affected by this awful tragedy, my thoughts quickly turned to the "what if" scenarios.

What if this happened in my jurisdiction? How would we respond? What would we do? How would we recover?

Later, while watching the investigation and subsequent EOD incident, I considered the same questions as the fire department assisted law enforcement officials from multiple agencies tasked with rendering the suspect's apartment safe.

Where I work, we spend a fair amount of time planning, training, exercising, and otherwise planning for multi-casualty incidents arising from a range of threats.

But can any department be truly "ready" for an event like this one?

I'm sure we'll have many opportunities to analyze, and hopefully learn from, the responses to this horrific incident.

Until then, we can join our nation in mourning the victims, supporting the survivors, and by helping others remember (as if we needed a reminder) that terror (by any definition) really can strike anywhere.

Be 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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