Pinellas Park Fire Department’s Tactical Medical Team was named the 2019 Fire Professionals Special Operations Team of the Year by Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners. The annual award recognizes those who go above and beyond when providing professional fire services to the community.
Members of the team include Lt. Brian Davies, firefighter/emergency medical technician CJ Huffman, and firefighter/paramedics Jared Nestor, Ken Huertas and Tyler Coats. Their mission is to assist the Pinellas Park Police Department’s Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT) by providing immediate medical care to officers or others injured in high stress or potentially violent incidents like crisis negotiations, active shooter, or narcotics seizure.
“We can face a level of threat that an ordinary paramedic off the street wouldn’t be able to come into because we have the protection and we have the training to directly work with those operators (police officers),” said team member Jared Nestor. Lt. Davies added, “We’re there not only to protect that team, but anyone else that gets injured or hurt in the line of duty.”
The fire department created the first team in 2006 and conducts annual tryouts for firefighters who wish to qualify for the team. Once selected, new members attend law enforcement SWAT school, become weapons certified and receive extensive field medical training.
Huffman and Coats stated that being able to work as a team is critical. “We get a bad trauma call — a shooting or accident, what have you— you can’t do it by yourself,” said Coats. “Everybody starts to know and piece together what’s to be expected and anticipating the moves of what somebody else is going to be doing,” added Huffman.
(Pictured L-R): Ken Huertas, CJ Huffman, Brian Davies, Jared Nestor, Tyler Coats.