1. #1

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    Default Question to FFs in FL

    Hello,
    I've been on this forum viewing it for a while and finally decided to sign up. I live in Pinellas County, recently moved down here from RI. I was looking to sign up and start school for the fire dept, however found out that in this county you need to take EMS courses first before fire. And in this county you need to be an EMT before being hired on as an FF. And for the EMT you have to deal with the NR.

    So my question to everyone is this, what counties in FL accept just FFs so I don't need to go into EMT school, as I only want to do Fire.

    Thank You all for the help.

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    Hello,
    I've been on this forum viewing it for a while and finally decided to sign up. I live in Pinellas County, recently moved down here from RI. I was looking to sign up and start school for the fire dept, however found out that in this county you need to take EMS courses first before fire. And in this county you need to be an EMT before being hired on as an FF. And for the EMT you have to deal with the NR.

    So my question to everyone is this, what counties in FL accept just FFs so I don't need to go into EMT school, as I only want to do Fire.

    Thank You all for the help.

    Hey there,

    I will start off by saying glad to see you wanting to be a fellow brother.

    Here's the bad news...

    In Florida, we run a dual certification both EMS and Fire to be a firefighter. There are those few departments that have some "old timers" who were grandfathered in from First Responder, but those days are over. You have to have at the VERY MINIMUM you EMT and Firefighter 2 certification be be eligible for employment.

    Now heres the statistics I have recently heard. I work in Osceola County as a firemedic. When I applied I was 1 of 13 medics hired and two were EMT's with their feet in the door. There were OVER 400 applicants for 15 positions and it was in the first 2-4 hours of I remember correctly that those applications were submitted, resulting in a system overload. Turns out, around 19 medics applied. So all of those other 400 applications were EMT's. I know Pinellas County very well. I used to work for Sunstar and I applied at Palm Harbor in December for 1 position for firemedic that 50 people applied for.

    The reason im pointing this out is because the reality is, the days of JUST having your fire certification and getting employed are over. Here, YOU MUST at the very least have EMT/Fire-2. Paramedics are the certification of choice now over EMT's in MOST(not all), but most places here. The economy has toughened things to where jobs are even difficult for Medics to get.

    The fire academies in this state are really blowing my mind how they keep pushing through 20-30 graduates, none of which or very few get jobs. I know some guys who went through my recruit class who had to RECERT because they never got a job for the 3 years you have to get a job after graduation.

    My suggestion is this... if you have NO desire to be an EMT or Paramedic, you might as well just volunteer as a firefighter. Or even look into other states that don't require dual certification. I will tell you this though, PLEASE, PLEASE PLEASE do NOT go get your Paramedic just to "get the job". You have to have the Passion of caring for patients, not just to get the job which is just about 10-15 percent of our annual call volume compared to 90 percent which is medical and trauma.

    Good Luck and if you need answers to any other questions there are a lot of good guys and gals in here to give you information as well.

    Mike

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    BTW,

    You don't have to "deal" with the NR. The NR is used as the state test for Florida. So in reality, yes you do take the NR, but its the state test. Kinda screwy, but its not as bad as it sounds.

    Again, if you don't have the desire to care for patients as well as fire, you might be choosing the wrong field my friend.

    Good Luck

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    I felt the same way 10 years ago when I started volunteering. I got my EMT cert and started working for AMR transporting bls patients and realized it wasn't so bad. Four years later I became a paramedic and really enjoy what I do.

    You don't have to follow my path, but it worked for me.

    Good luck with your decision

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    "The fire academies in this state are really blowing my mind how they keep pushing through 20-30 graduates, none of which or very few get jobs"

    That is scary since I'm waiting to get in the academy, I've been actually thinking of getting my EMT and moving on to my paramedic certs in hopes of getting on a department before I get my FF 1&2 cert.

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    Thank you to everyone who replied. I had already taken the EMS classes for EMT and passed them without any problems. It was when I found out about the NR the problems with passing that damn exam started. About 30 or so questions were fire related when in this county, all EMTs for sunstar do is drive. One of the questions even asked me what is the strongest knot. Why should that be on the exam and marked against my score if I get it wrong?

    This county is so jammed packed with people who want to do fire and few jobs open for EMT FFs that it makes me wonder if in the future I will have to move somewhere else. I have seen it first hand what you said about all the people applying for the opening and only 2-3 got hired.

    I think what bored me to death was my time in the ER, it was the most boring time I spent, as we did nothing. I begged for a broken leg to come in, or a code to happen, just something. But 10 hours a day of that, just sitting looking into the school book slowed things down. Riding with fire really got me back into things. Everything about it I loved.

    I'll review the next year to see what I want to do. I can take classes again in Aug. However we have no ride along programs in this county, so all the "skills" I have learned in class, the ER, and with the fire ride alongs, could possibly be forgotten. I don't know what I am going to do there.

    I don't mean to ramble, just thinking one line at a time. I can go to Tampa for AMR and do more than just drive like I would do here at SunStar. However SS is an all ALS service. Pros & cons of both. I need to also find some sort of ride along program in the mean time to help out.

    And this may be a dumb question, but what are the requirements needed to be a Vol FF?

    Thank you all again for taking the time and replying to me on here.
    Last edited by thefireinme; 04-03-2009 at 12:03 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thefireinme View Post
    Hello,


    So my question to everyone is this, what counties in FL accept just FFs so I don't need to go into EMT school, as I only want to do Fire.

    Thank You all for the help.
    My advice is to find another career, All departments that I know of run EMS calls, including Department of Defense fire.

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    I spoke with a local fire house today and they told me to talk with the chief as he allows ride alongs. I think I'll do that for a couple months here & there and prep for EMT school again. Fire is something I've wanted to do since I was young, I'm not going to give up that easily. You guys telling me to find another career has given me back that drive to keep going and give it another shot. Thank you for that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thefireinme View Post

    I think what killed my passion for patient care was my time in the ER, it was the most boring time I spent, as we did nothing. I begged for a broken leg to come in, or a code to happen, just something. But 10 hours a day of that, just sitting looking into the school book slowed things down. Riding with fire really got me back into things. Everything about it I loved.
    Ok,

    I do not mean to come off and sound like a jerk, but there are a few things you have stated that concern me greatly. Please don't take this the wrong way. The fact that you said your passion for patient care was killed basically means you want a cake job. The fire service is one that people take pride in. EMS is 90 percent of our call volume. So if your not about EMS, which you stated bluntly your not, then this career is not for you. Go work for the Division of Forestry. Even there you will probably need BLS skills. EMS is either you love it or hate it, no in between. I LOVE EMS and have a great passion for it. I would not want someone who has no passion to take care of my family member, would you? Florida is a state that is fire/ems. Most states are going that route if they are not already. Again, I am not trying to be mean, but you have made it clear, you have no desire to work ems, therefore, please rethink your career options.

    Just so you know, working in an ER and working on a rig are two completely different worlds, this I know as I have done both. Your comparing apples and oranges. Yes ER tech work is boring in my opinion, but for you to say your patient care passion is killed, again tells me your not in for this line of work.

    Good Luck

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    Quote Originally Posted by firemedic80 View Post
    Ok,

    Again, I am not trying to be mean, but you have made it clear, you have no desire to work ems, therefore, please rethink your career options.

    Just so you know, working in an ER and working on a rig are two completely different worlds, this I know as I have done both. Your comparing apples and oranges. Yes ER tech work is boring in my opinion, but for you to say your patient care passion is killed, again tells me your not in for this line of work.

    Good Luck
    Please do all of us a favor and try a different state. I am totally fed up with the "wa, wa, wa, I don't want to ride the rescue, I want to be a fireman!" attitude I hear from probies, or better yet people that don't even have a job yet. Tough *****!!!!!!! It is a fact of life in Fla. As the others have stated, EMS is the vast majority of our job. That nurse wagon in the bay is what opens new positions for people to fill. If it wasn't for the band-aid box many, if not most of us wouldn't have jobs and we know it, so we do the best that we can because thats what we signed on for. If you just want to be a firefighter go to the Division of Forestry, I'll bet you'll have an attitude change very quickly. Those guys are over worked, under staffed and under paid. I'm sure that will change your mind on patient care. If not, well the world always needs ditch diggers.
    If your going to cry about doing the job you signed up for do us all a favor and quit, there are plenty of dedicated people standing in line for the best job in the world.

    Firefighter/Paramedic

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    Quote Originally Posted by firemedic80 View Post
    Ok,

    I do not mean to come off and sound like a jerk, but there are a few things you have stated that concern me greatly. Please don't take this the wrong way. The fact that you said your passion for patient care was killed basically means you want a cake job. The fire service is one that people take pride in. EMS is 90 percent of our call volume. So if your not about EMS, which you stated bluntly your not, then this career is not for you. Go work for the Division of Forestry. Even there you will probably need BLS skills. EMS is either you love it or hate it, no in between. I LOVE EMS and have a great passion for it. I would not want someone who has no passion to take care of my family member, would you? Florida is a state that is fire/ems. Most states are going that route if they are not already. Again, I am not trying to be mean, but you have made it clear, you have no desire to work ems, therefore, please rethink your career options.

    Just so you know, working in an ER and working on a rig are two completely different worlds, this I know as I have done both. Your comparing apples and oranges. Yes ER tech work is boring in my opinion, but for you to say your patient care passion is killed, again tells me your not in for this line of work.

    Good Luck
    I didn't take your post as you sounding like a jerk, and thank you for writing that. As I reread what I wrote, I clearly used the wrong words. Very true, I wouldn't want someone who has no care to take care of a family member in need. Apples and oranges indeed as I take a step back and look at the larger picture here. That's why I came here, to get all of your opinions from the fire side.

    What it boils down too is that I learn with my hands, a very hands on kinda guy. I was hoping when I signed up that the ER tech work was going to be more than it turned out to be.

    I work for an EMS company and work around medics, EMTs, nurses alot. Hearing them bitch, whine, and yap about being a taxi doesn't help either.

    And to Firemedic 61: I'm not going anywhere. I see your point clear as day and to be honest with you, I respect that sort of no BS attitude. Granted the world does need ditch diggers as you put it, but we have plenty of those and I'm sure not one of them, nor will I ever be. I have too much pride and sink that low on the pole.

    I will take your advice however & look into the Division of Forestry. I honestly don't mean to come off as having an attitude about patient care, I just meant that I wasn't challanged enough while in the ER.


    Our county just started a first responder class, even though the county doesn't hire for FR. EMT classes are starting up again in a couple of months and I'm going to give it another shot, going to choose a different more busier ER & station for ride time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thefireinme View Post
    Hello,
    I've been on this forum viewing it for a while and finally decided to sign up. I live in Pinellas County, recently moved down here from RI. I was looking to sign up and start school for the fire dept, however found out that in this county you need to take EMS courses first before fire. And in this county you need to be an EMT before being hired on as an FF. And for the EMT you have to deal with the NR.

    So my question to everyone is this, what counties in FL accept just FFs so I don't need to go into EMT school, as I only want to do Fire.

    Thank You all for the help.

    Where do you live in Pinellas County?

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    Quote Originally Posted by thefireinme View Post

    And this may be a dumb question, but what are the requirements needed to be a Vol FF?
    First a heart beat...second, patience.

    Also, a hiring freeze is forcasted in the Tampa area around Oct. 1. Get your apps in soon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jgennaro View Post
    Where do you live in Pinellas County?
    Seminole area

    And a hiring freeze? Oh boy, I'll start sending in apps. Thanks for the heads up.

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    aslo rember your FF cert will age out in 3 yrs. if you dont get hired or vol. some were.

    So you are better off going to EMT (or studing for theat cert if have out of state) than going to fire school. So at least you have the full 3 yrs. to try to get hired on.

    (also just so you know you have to be a vol for at least 6 months so dont waite to the very end of the 3 yrs. to vol.)

    DeFuniak Springs, in walton co. will hire only a FF, but the pay aint that good.

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    I think Lake County doesnt require EMT certs to work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeatherHed4Life View Post
    I think Lake County doesnt require EMT certs to work.
    Incorrect. Lake county requires EMT at minimum working for Lake Sumter EMS and EMT/FF2 for all of the Lake County FD's. Sumter County which is the neighboring county, does require EMT now as well. They used to be First Responders but they are now moving to Paid Career and require the certs.

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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by thefireinme View Post
    Seminole area

    And a hiring freeze? Oh boy, I'll start sending in apps. Thanks for the heads up.

    There are no volunteer departments in Pinellas County. Also, you're right about Pinellas County being overcrowded! I think you're best bet is to apply at Hillsborough County.

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    I'm late jumping in here but perhaps I can offer some info. I worked for sunstar for about 3 years and largo fire for about 2. I've been with hillsborough county now for almost 3 (in july). I almost crossed the bay to hillsborough AMR (back when sunstar was actually AMR, now they are paramedics plus) to be able to do smething else besides drive all day. but now that I can see both sides (since the AMR BLS units run calls with us) I can definitely tell you you will get much better experience and training at sunstar. the bls units in hillsborough drive me out of my mind they are so lazy and usually incompetent. no offense to anyone who works there, but I have had several bad experiences with bls. the most common is, none of them bring their stretcher in. why do you think you came to the call? drives me crazy...
    anyhow, being a medic is almost a pre-req to getting hired anymore. although I did hear the other day that largo has plenty of medics and isn't really pushing new hires to go to medic school. especially since they may have to cut some ALS units. largo is a top notch department, I highly recommend it if you want to stay in pinellas.
    as far as being a volunteer, I know treasure island has them (or did as of a few years ago). there may be someone else, but it's pretty uncommon in pinellas. hillsborough has 5 volunteer stations. there isn't any pre-requisites, but you have to be a ff1 to ride on the engine. if you want more info about volunteering, here is the website: http://hillsboroughcounty.org/firere...ns/volinfo.cfm
    I'm probably forgetting some stuff I wanted to say, but I've rambled on long enough. if you want further info or have any questions, let me know. good luck.

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    Default Do it 100% or go home.

    You know, you could just as easily pack up and head north, put in a ton of applications and wait years to get hired. Like others have said 80-90% of this job is EMS. Want to make a real good name for yourself, when you do ride alongs tell the officers your only in it for the fire side, they love that.
    This is a 100% career, not a " I think I want to do it" job! Going into this with the attitude of " I only want to do this" is not going to get you anywhere.
    You either want the job all the way with what ever comes with it or you dont, period.

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    Couldn't have said it better myself Boeing.

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    Default Looking to transfer to Florida

    I am currently a level 2 firefighter with NREMT-p certification in the state of ohio looking to transfer to the tampa, clearwater area. Girlfriend is having our first child and wants to live close to her family. Currently registered to take floridas paramedic test however i do not know what to expect since florida does not use National Registry for paramedics. I dont want to go into this test blind and was wandering if there is any info on preparing for this exam. Looking to transfer my level 2 state of oh fire card to a level 1 florida card and was wandering what academy would be the best to obtain level 2. And if anyone has an oppinion on how to land a full time job in florida that would be greatly appreciated. My e-mail is jahoover1979@yahoo.com. Thanks in advance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jhoover View Post
    And if anyone has an oppinion on how to land a full time job in florida that would be greatly appreciated .

    Fairy dust and a magic wand could come in handy. If you haven't been reading the Fla news I'll give you the readers digest version: more places are laying off than hiring and if you do find a dept hiring estimate 500 applicants for each position.
    If your going to cry about doing the job you signed up for do us all a favor and quit, there are plenty of dedicated people standing in line for the best job in the world.

    Firefighter/Paramedic

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    I will also add that if you are lucky enough to get your Fire 1 cert reciprocity, not many fire schools here are allowing students into their Fire 2 classes anymore because they want their classes to be a class of the same students learning the same material from beginning to end so their is no gap of material being learned since every school is different on how and when they teach the material.

    You are better off getting your Medic, finding a job at an ambulance company and going through Fire Academy here. Its only 3 months full-time.


    Good Luck!

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    Default My magic wand blows, moving to florida because of it.

    Anyways thanks for the feedback. And yes the more I read the more I want to stay here in Ohio however thats where my child is going. Starting to realize Im going to have to regress and end up back at the private. Thinking sunstar is my best bet however does anyone know how they will react when I get a job from them and then tell them a few months later im going to fire academy and wont be back for 3 mts. But when Im done id like my job back. Anyone know how drop is going to effect florida I know in 2010 ohio is going to get slammed pretty bad in fact anyone in florida wanting a big city job, Clevelands giving a test in august. 140 guys mandatory retirement in october.

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