PIQUA — Troy resident Doug Stewart has fulfilled his longtime ambition to become a firefighter and will now work toward a new goal of becoming a licensed tactical medic for the combined Piqua-Sidney Tactical Response Team (TRT).
Having started his firefighting career for the Piqua Fire Department 13 years ago, Stewart, 41, said he had previously worked a very different type of job at FOX45/ABC22. He attributes the switch in occupation to achieving “a lifelong dream.”
“I’ve always wanted to be a firefighter since I was a child,” Stewart said. “My parents always wanted me to have a college education, so I went that route first, then pursued firefighting as I got older.”
Stewart earned a bachelor’s degree in communication from the University of Dayton, later attending Sinclair Community College for his schooling to become a firefighter and paramedic.
Throughout his time with PFD, Stewart has become part of several specialized teams, including the dive and technical rescue teams, and is licensed as a fire and fire safety instructor.
As part of the technical rescue team, Stewart said there are six disciplines of focus.
“There is rope rescue, water rescue, auto extrication, trench rescue, structural collapse, and confined space,” he said. “We have quarterly training on those disciplines and we respond to any sort of technical need in the city or locality.”
Stewart said fire department’s dive team is often called to assist in other cities and counties, as they are one of two dive teams in the area, the other being the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base dive team.
“We go to Dayton and surrounding counties quite a bit, especially during the warmer months when there’s a lot more dive recoveries,” he said. “We do quite extensive training for that. This past summer, we did a stress inoculation class where we were blindfolded and had to take off all of our gear and switch it with someone else’s gear, all under water, just to get stressed out and make sure we know what we’re doing.”
Stewart, who currently lives in Troy with his wife, Courtney, and 8-year-old son Eli, is now part of the tactical medic team for Piqua-Sidney TRT, but will need to complete a training class to become officially licensed.
“It’s like specialized paramedic training dealing with more trauma care, gunshot wounds, and other things that a SWAT team would deal with,” Stewart said, adding that he hopes to complete the required training in May of 2020.
Once training is complete, Stewart will be one of only two tactical medics on the cities’ combined TRTs.
“Basically, I will always be on-call,” he said. “Whenever SWAT makes entry on a call, I would be making entry with the team, so if one of the SWAT members gets hurt or injured, I would provide immediate medical care to them, or even if a suspect were to go down, I would immediately patch them up, essentially, and pull them out to initiate life-saving care.”
Stewart said he was drawn to the opportunity to join the TRT thanks to his innate interest in the line of work.
“It just sounds really exciting to me,” he said. “I like the fast-paced environment and thrill of it all.”
Stewart noted that his work on the fire department’s rescue task force is similar to the TRT in terms of the care provided.
“That would include responses to things like school shootings; we would go in with the police officers as soon as we get on scene and start treating the injured people,” he said. “So, it’s very similar to that and I enjoy that type of work, so it sparked my interest. We also work very close with the police officers who are on the SWAT team and I enjoy working with them.”
Along with being on-call 24/7, Stewart said he will also complete monthly technical training with the TRT in order to stay well-versed in protocol and procedures in the event that the team is called.
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