"I don't know how you deal with that one," added Stittleburg, who's also chief of the La Farge, Wisconsin, Fire Department, an all-volunteer agency.
In the last 10 years or so, however, firefighters are increasingly being cross-training to become certified police officers assigned to SWAT teams, Stittleburg said.
In an era of high body-count mass shootings since Colorado's Columbine High School massacre in 1999, police departments are demanding their SWAT teams include a firefighter with emergency medical service skills, Stittleburg said.
"EMS skills are certainly one of the important skills that you would want on that SWAT team -- primarily for law enforcement, primarily for the SWAT team members," Stittleburg said.
"We have people who are EMS folks, whose primary mission is to take care of the wounded, to be almost in a position of military corpsman or medic," he said.
"It's kind of sad that things have taken a turn that creates the need for this," he added.