Douglas Bird, BApB, ACP
Originally certified as a First Aid Instructor at age 18, Doug has lived a life committed to public service, first as a volunteer with the St. John Ambulance and later as a paramedic. He has worked with Don in the Ministry of Health BTLS training teams. He has also been an instructor with the York and Durham Regions' Paramedic Base Hospitals. He retired as a Quality & Development Facilitator with Region of Durham Paramedic Services in 2018.
Doug is a member of the National Association of EMS Educators and has completed level 2 Instructor's certification. He is an Instructor for The Canadian Red Cross, The Ontario Heart & Stroke Foundation and an Instructor Trainer with the Emergency Care & Safety Institute.
St. John Ambulance Letter of Commendation
St. John Ambulance Long Service Medal with second award
EMS Exemplary Service Medal with second award
Ontario Auxiliary Police Long Service Medal with the second award
Durham Region COA's Award for Public Service
Durham Region Paramedic Association's Murray Charland Award for Public Service
I would have to say that my call to public service started early. My father was one of ten Town Constables in Bowmanville, Ontario, in the '50s and '60s. Since I put on my first Boy Scout uniform, that's what it was called in those days, I have worn a uniform all my life.
My first uniform
(I loved that stetson)
The St. John Years
When I turned 16, my status in Scouting changed. I was too old to be a scout. So I became a Junior Leader. Venturers did not exist in Bowmanville in those days. We needed someone to take a Standard First Aid course and I was volentold that I was going. This turned out to be the most crucial decision I never made.
I arrived at the old Bowmanville Fire Hall for the class. It was under the St. John Ambulance and was conducted by two uniform members of the Brigade. Alf Brown and Bob Keene changed my life. I fell in love with the idea of helping people in their worst moments. I have never looked back.
This is coming full circle. I am teaching first aid in the very fire hall where I received my first course.
I went on tho be the charter Superintendant for the Newcastle (Clarington) 871 Division
Throughout the years I maintained a close connection to the St. John Ambulance, and finally retired, with 20-years of service, as a crown ranked (major) as the Area Emergency Planning Officer for the St. JOhn Ambulance in the City of Toronto.
The Emergency Medical Service (1981 - 2018)
It is funny where life takes us. When I was forming the 871 Division I met a young man who had just moved to Bowmanville. His name was Glenn Legault and he had just received a full-time appointment with the Bowmanville. Ambulance Service. He wanted to join our division and help with the training. We became friends, and even though his path differed from mine, and he lives in Sudbury, I still consider him a very good friend.
In August of 1981, the Bowmanville hospital gave up the license to own an ambulance service. When I heard this I asked about applying for part-time work. I was working full-time for Goodyear Canada at this point. I handed in my application with the caution that there was no hiring anticipated in the near future. However, the new owners wanted to add more part-time to cut down on overtime. So, three days after I handed in my application I received a phone call asking me if I could work that Saturday. In the late 1970s into the 1980s, you only had to have Standard First Aid, CPR and a Class F Ontario driver's licence to work part-time.
In 1983, I went to Humber College for "Ambulance & Emergency Care." After the Provincial exams, I received certification as an Emergency Medical Care Assistant (EMCA).
In 1985 I worked full-time for the Uxbridge/Stouffville Ambulance Service. In 1990, I became the Operations Manager for this service. A position I held until January 91, 2000, when we became part of the region of Durham Paramedic Service.
At this point, I reverted back to a Primary Care Paramedic until 2002, when I was accepted into the Advanced Care Paramedic course at Durham College. As of this writing, I am still the second oldest person to graduate from this course.