I have my fire cert and just finished EMT school so now I can test for that cert then start my job search. I have one department that I want to work for more than any other but I don't know when they will open for hiring again. My question is should I wait for them to open up, or just start applying and hope I get on some where? I start medic school in August and I think it will be easier to go through school while working at a station so I have working medics available to help me when I have a question. I have had friends say apply everywhere for "experience" whatever that means. I had one friend say just get on somewhere and keep applying were you want to work then once you get hired go there, but I have a loyalty problem with that, I don't want to build up trust and friendships just to leave. What should I do?
I had this same issue... I agree with the "apply everywhere" theory. Don't wait for one dept. People wait for years to be where they want. One guy got the first job he could until he was hired where he really wanted to go, he ended up loving it so much he turned his first choice down when the time came. I worked for a very small, poor, dept. for a few months. When my choice dept. offered me a job I jumped on it without regret. The small dept. was ****ed and did't treat me real well for my last two weeks, but that made it even easier to leave and I realized it wasn't the place for me. I love my dept now and still feel good about my decision.
Your friends are right, you should apply everywhere for the experience. Here's why: practice. Your "dream department" potentially may not hire for a very long time (possibly years given the economy and local gov budget cuts). By applying to work at lots of departments you get the opportunity to test with them and possibly interview. Since each department's physical agility test is different (some require running, hose pulling, climbing or raising ladders, mazes, dragging dummies, keiser sleds, whatever) testing allows you to keep up the skills you learned in the academy. It also gives you the chance to see many different departments and their equipment. Keep an open mind.
Secondly, the interview is argueably the single most important thing that determines if you are hired. The interview is where candidates are weeded out. If 75 people passed the agility, and there's only one or two positions, the interview is where they will pick the top 5. And believe me, a FD interview is not easy - in more ways that one. I will almost gurantee that you will fail your first interview. You will learn A LOT from your first interview. That may sound rough, but every person that has interviewed will probably agree that their first was less than stellar. When you finally test with your "dream department" you don't want to blow that chance you have been waiting for so long, do you? You want to be ready and practiced for what ever questions they might ask. Besides, if you get a job offer before your "dream department" gives you one, you can always reject it. You have lost nothing and no skin off their backs.
I personally have never been to Medic school, but I have worked with and have friends that have. And going to paramedic school by their account and my observation is itself a full time job. If you have the financial ability to support yourself for a year, your body will thank you for not working full time while your in school. But, I will say that most people do attend school while working full time...so it can and is done.
Last, I have put always put "dream department" in quotes because a department is anything you want it to be. Departments that some people consider "stepping stone" departments are only a stepping stone if you want it to be one. Make sure that no matter where you are hired, you contribute more than you require. Leave that department a better place than when you started there. In the career fire service, your reputation WILL WILL WILL follow you around.
Right now anywhere you can get you should take and be happy with it. I dont know if you watch the news but multiple areas throughout the state are talking about laying off firefighters. Waiting for the "dream" job is not really pratical right now. And for all you know is that the "dream" job might not always be all it is cracked up to be.
What areas are considering laying off? Aren't FF part of a union, does the violate their contract?
City of Orlando...
70 positions eliminated, 40 I believe are filled positions...
There is a Rally being organized for the 30th of this month downtown. You all should come support your brothers and sisters.
The mayor of Orlando is a pig and I hope this clown gets ousted.
Unions don't mean anything in Florida. An employer can fire you for sneezing. The Unions do have some leverage, but if the money isn't in the budget, layoffs are allowed. Plus I read something about how a mayor can pretty much nullify any contract he chooses due to money issues.
How hard is it to land a job as a paramedic if there are no openings at stations?
Isn't Florida getting government money to help city budgets?
In SW Florida their are departments that are looking at laying off also, and very few are hiring in any sort of big numbers. My departments lost about 20% of its budget last year and looking at possibly another 40% this year. We have roughly 120 line people and there is a good possiblity we could be laying off.
I don't know much about the funding, budgets etc... All I know is each department, city etc has a annual budget they must work from. Its obvious that Orlando City Mayor Buddy Dyer has politics in his best interest more than keeping property and lives safe.
Originally Posted by ctrlaltdelete
Landing a job as a paramedic is more difficult than people think right now. Be it fire departments or just ems. The economy is hurting and until it has some sort of optimistic outlook, don't expect to see more than 1 or 2 positions open up at a time, IF that. And look for 500+ applicants for a single job.
My department will not be giving COLA or merit raises this year. I am not upset though because I am thankful to have a job in these rough economic times.
Not much money. You also have to remember that money is spent politicaly, which isn't always best for the citizens. We have a one cent sales tax going through legislation right now. The money will be used to offset fire rescue and only fire rescue costs. The money collected will go to the counties and will then be distributed to only the departments that operate at the same or higher standard as the county they are in. Hopefully this will slow or eliminate further lay-offs and maybe re-employ those who lost their jobs.
Originally Posted by ctrlaltdelete
If you keep your eyes open you will see a few places still hiring. Boynton Beach just hired 5, but there was somewhere around 5-6 hundred that applied. Just keep that in mind, you have to really out shine everyone else if you are going to get a job. Private ambo companies are also still looking for people.
Originally Posted by ctrlaltdelete
Just wondering how do you out shine others? More certs ect?
All you need are your ff2, EMT and medic certs to get a job.
Here are some things that we look for during your interview, they may sound like no-brainers but pay attention:
Be on time!!!!!!!!!!!!
Be clean, neat and pressed. So many people are passes over in the first 5 seconds because thier suits are wrinkled.
Get a NORMAL hair cut. No pony tails, corn rows, unnatural colors, afros, or any other style that needs 5 pounds of gel to hold it in place.
Use PROPER English! You are going to do something, not your fixin' to or your finna, or you is, or you be. Don't use words you cannot pronounce or don't know the meaning of.
Speak clearly and at a volume that everyone can hear you.
Say "yes sir or no sir, yes ma'am or no ma'am"
Don't tell stories......like this one time in the fire academy.........
Look the interview panel in the eye when you answer or ask a question.
If you don't know an answer then say you don't and, feel free to ask that a question be repeated if you did not understand it. Your nervous, we know, we have been in your spot too.
Know your skills back and forth, don't be surprised if someone throws you a rope during an interview and tells you to tie a knot or an EKG strip and wants it interpreted.
You may be asked medic/EMT questions, know the answers.
Know at least basic info about the department your interviewing for.
Always ask questions about what the depts future goals/plans are and what opportunities the dept has for you. It makes you seem interested.
And ALWAYS start and end the interview with a firm hand shake. Also remember to say "thank you" to the person who's hand you are shaking and look them in the eye until the hand shake is over. Don't forget to say thank you for the opportunity to interview.
Does a large percentage of today's recruits fail to meet these parameters that you have pointed out?
Again thank you for taking the time to give some good tips!
That list is a compilation of some of the most ridiculous applicants I have ever seen. Unfortunately I am not surprised when I see some of the above mentioned things during an interview anymore. It seems that people think that they have a right to the job just because they went to school or because they're female or because they're a minority, not because of their merit.
all union contracts (worth their salt) will have a reduction in force article. if there is no money to employ firefighters, they get fired. firefighters aren't some untouchable golden child to any city or county. while most areas try to protect public safety employees due to the public perception, it's not always possible. what the union can do is negotiate how the reduction in force occurs, so that it's most fair (usually by seniority, though it's more complex than that). that way, even if the municipality has to fire some people, they can't just choose the ones they don't like. the contract can also specify things like rehiring if money comes available later, etc.
Thanks everyone I have both my certs now so the fun part of looking for the lucky department that gets to have me begins just kidding I will be the lucky one if I can find a department that will give me the chance I need.
Not sure what area/county you are in, but if you have no luck on getting a job many people have posted that volunteering is a really good way to get your foot in the door, also it offers some good networking to other departments, just a thought.
Wish you best of luck and keep us posted!