- - Thursday, February 25, 2021

I am a retired D.C. fire captain, having served most of my career on Heavy Rescue Squads and specializing in interior rescues. It goes without saying that a quick and responsible deployment is critical when seconds are the difference between life and death.

In fact, all first-arriving firefighters on the fire ground have an immediate responsibility and obligation to save lives. That’s why we have sirens and horns — to get there quickly and safely and save lives.

We are the Washington, D.C., fire department and once considered to be the greatest in the country.

Presently, however, the department’s second in command has in place a policy to stage responding apparatus a considerable distance from the fire ground in order to wait for the arrival of the battalion fire chief to assess needs. This places lives in danger and wastes valuable moments. It also certainly shows a lack of confidence in this great department’s capabilities.

Apparently this policy decision was made by someone who never carried a child out of a fire and, trying to bring him or her back to life, wished they had arrived a minute earlier.


D.C. Fire and EMS (retired)

Tampa, Fla.

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