1. #1
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    Default working for a private ambulance while trying to get a FF job?

    Hey all I was just wondering if anyone here ever worked or is working for a private ambulance company? Im a 20 y/o student who will be done with my AAS degree in fire science this coming march. I just recently took and passed my NREMT-B exam and was considering working for a private ambulance company full time while I finish up school and while I test for departments. Honestly I have only heard pretty bad things about it, some say its decent experience in doing stuff in a moving ambulance but for the most part everyone seems negative about it. Any input?

    Thanks in advance for any answers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sTages19 View Post
    Hey all I was just wondering if anyone here ever worked or is working for a private ambulance company? Im a 20 y/o student who will be done with my AAS degree in fire science this coming march. I just recently took and passed my NREMT-B exam and was considering working for a private ambulance company full time while I finish up school and while I test for departments. Honestly I have only heard pretty bad things about it, some say its decent experience in doing stuff in a moving ambulance but for the most part everyone seems negative about it. Any input?

    Thanks in advance for any answers.
    I am also a student and I am very interested in any responses to this as well.

    /bump/

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    It depends on where you work. Most areas, EMTs are under paid for what they do and if the local fire depts provide EMS, you'll probably do primarily nursing home transfers. However, you may luck out and be in one of those few areas that pay their EMTs adequately and you might get to respond on emergencies. Do a little research in your area by calling the private ambulance companies and inquiring about their pay and what type of runs they do. If you think you'll be happy and the pay will allow you to make ends meet, it would be good experience.

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    I'm in a similar position to what you guys are talking about. Im a Fire-Safety student and work part time as an EMT for a county EMS service in Kentucky. From my dealings with private EMS and talking with my friends who work/worked there its hit or miss. There are some places where private EMS does nothing but transfers from Point A to Point B. Other places private EMS has a contract with the county/city/township or whatever entity you all have and they run as a 911 service. From the things I've heard of several private agencies it can depend on what part of the county you are in or what company you work for, some are regional and others national. All in all I would encourage you to pursue a job in EMS while working on your FF. So many of the FD's in the county are running EMS or at least first responder EMS and that being the majority of calls in most departments. Plus working EMS gets you experience in the emergency response field, give you contacts and resources to draw on in the future. Hell with the economy today, get the FF job and keep the EMS job part-time so there's a few more dollars in your pocket. Good luck to both of you, hope my two cents helps some.

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    chances are if you work for a private EMS company you'll face low pay and long hours. A lot of ambulance companies don't use ambulance bases, so between calls you'll be sitting in the ambulance while it idles in some parking lot.

    If you do do it, remember to watch your back and use proper lifting technique. There is a lot of lifting in EMS and you don't want to hurt your back before you get a chance at a fire job.

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    The one thing to remember about private EMS is that the company is there to make money. With that being said, often the best patient care and VERY often employee morale are low on the priority list. Here, the pay is actualy pretty good for private EMS- much better than the county run services.

    Try it and see how you like it. You will probably end up like most of us who have worked EMS for a little while- hating it.
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    I work per diem for a local family owned private ambulance company. The pay is very good, most of our transports are inter-hospital transfers, hospital discharges, doctors appointments and dialysis with an occasional EMS run. A lot of Firefighter/EMTs and Firefighter/Medics work for the company.
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    I did it for a little while it was OK I guess. Learned a little. Guess it would be good for you when you do get a job because you could work it on your off days for a little extra $$. Bottom line is that it can't hurt to work some where while you look for a job and test. Good luck.

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    I worked for a private before getting hired on as a FF. I started as there as an "ambulette" driver (nothing exciting, just a van with a wheel chair lift)and progressed to an EMT. I'll say this, for me, this was the absolute BEST thing I could've done.

    The job taught me alot, both about the area I lived in and it built my appreciation for the job I wanted.

    I can legitimately say I loved working there. Everyone I spoke with said I'd probably hate it, but I didn't. It's all about your attitude. I learned excellent patient interaction (especially from riding in the back of the ambulance for 2 hours to another facility.) I learned to take vitals in tough conditions on unstable patients like a pro.

    Also, you learn to improvise. We didn't have the most up to date equipment, so we had to make things work. You just had to figure it out. Also, I learned where all the hospitals in my area were located, the best ways to get to them and what services were provided at that hospital and on what floor.

    I was surrounded by a few "knuckleheads", but for the most part, I worked with a real "plethora" of good people. From young medics barely out of high school, to EMT-basics who were war veterans. It was great. And when I did finally have to say good bye and move on, I left on GOOD terms (plenty of notice and turned in ALL my uniforms) so that in case anything happened, I could always come back.

    Sorry this is so long, and I'm sure I'm in the minority here, but I HIGHLY recommend getting on a private and working up from there. Let me know if you have any questions.
    Pete
    Last edited by sweetpete; 01-06-2010 at 05:53 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ajandler View Post
    /bump/
    Nice job of "bumping" an eight hour old thread.

    sTages19- What part of the country are you at? That may give us some extra insight to the system you are looking to be in.

    I worked private EMS for a while before getting where I am now. I was there longer than I wanted to be as was most everybody else. One thing that private EMS can do, is get away with paying a low wage since the industry is such a high turnover job. It is expected in a way that most people that start working there will not be there for an extended period of time. It is a known stepping stone for many as they vie for a position in a fire department, paramedic school, nursing school, medical school or whatever.

    You will be subjected to long hours, tedious tasks, mundane calls, low wages, understaffing, and in some areas; little respect.

    The plus side? You will actually gain a lot of experience from 911 calls to the interfacility transport. You will develop a routine for doing these tasks and not look like a fish out of water when posed with a difficult situation. Your Continuing Education will usually be provided by the company as well. Depending on your attitude and how you perform, you will start to develop great working relationships with the departments you serve as well as may be trying to get hired with. Many times my partner and I were told, "Thank god it's you guys."

    It is a raw form of "customer service". From the billboard you will be riding around in (consider how you and your partner drive), to how you interact with fire departments, police departments, hospitals, nursing home facilities, your co-workers, and the general public.

    Thing is; DO NOT TREAT IT LIKE A STEPPING STONE.
    That will be your job. Don't just phone it in.

    Good luck,
    bam
    Last edited by ffbam24; 01-06-2010 at 06:09 PM.

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    Don't see anything wrong with it. Hell, just having a job in today's economy is not a bad deal, better than watching Jerry Springer all day (is that show still on?).

    You could do a lot worse while going through hiring process for FD. And having the ability to keep EMT skills sharp is a great bonus.

    It is all in perspective... Work at a private ambulance as an EMT and you'll end up meeting a lot of nice 82 year old ladies that need transported from the hospital to a nursing home. Work at a club as a bar back and you'll meet a lot of nice 22 year old ladies... Both will probably pee their pants before the night is over, your call.

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    There is no reason it should hurt you in the hiring process. Depending on the company, it could hurt your sanity. Your results may vary.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    I worked for almost 4 years FT for a private company and still work for them PT.

    They treated the employees quite well, and yes, we were very busy, sometimes making up to 17 or 18 runs in a 24 hour shift.

    We do routine transfers, nursing home emergencies and some 911 calls.

    If it's a well run company it can be a very good experience.

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    @sweet pete, I echo everything that you said. I work full time for a fairly large city as a firefighter/medic but I worked part time for AMR for awhile. I learned my way around, learned my way around through the hospitals, got to know people, learned how to write reports, make decisions, deal with family members.......etc....I thought it was a great experience.

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    sweetpete- thanks for you in depth answer. I will continue to pursue this and if the opportunity arises I am leaning towards taking the job and seeing how it goes. Ill be sure to enter with a positive attitude and take it from there. Thanks again.

    ffbam- im located in the chicago area, and the company I am looking at is superior ambulance if that information is of any help.

    firemanlyman- I laughed pretty hard when i read that, thanks for the mood booster lol.

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    Teradactyl: Right on man. I'm with you. That job just taught me so much, I'll always look back with appreciation.

    Stages: No problem bro. You sound like you really have your act together. I really think you'll enjoy the private ambulance service, especially if you keep a good attitude. Again, feel free to pm me or post again if there's anything I can do. I wish you the best!!
    Pete

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    Quote Originally Posted by sTages19 View Post
    Hey all I was just wondering if anyone here ever worked or is working for a private ambulance company? Im a 20 y/o student who will be done with my AAS degree in fire science this coming march. I just recently took and passed my NREMT-B exam and was considering working for a private ambulance company full time while I finish up school and while I test for departments. Honestly I have only heard pretty bad things about it, some say its decent experience in doing stuff in a moving ambulance but for the most part everyone seems negative about it. Any input?

    Thanks in advance for any answers.
    sTages19,

    I highly recommend it. I worked for private ambulance companies from when I graduated high school up until I was hired as a Fireman. Not only does it give you the basic fundamental patient contact experience but it allows you to gain a lot of useful skills that will help you in your pursuit of being a Fireman. The scheduling was one of the largest perks as well. I worked three days one week four days the other. All twelve hour shifts. On my days off their were a lot of overtime shifts to be worked. I also had plenty of time off to finish my studies and prepare to be a Fireman such as being a Reserve. I also had the ability to do many trades and get to virtually and fire test i wanted.

    Good luck.

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    If at the very least, it makes you comfortable in front of patients and medical staff. And that is a value thats worth its weight in gold.

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    I applied today thanks for all the help guys.

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    It gives you good experience in the medical field. But a lot of departments look for life experience outside the "clones" they have applying for them.

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    i have worked both for sometime. Each has there positives and negatives. You will have to make your own decision on which works best with you. I personally favor private ambulance company only becuase I don't have to be part of the fire company politics. But as far as it helping your chances in getting a job into a fire department. I'm sure they will look favorably in either direction dependant on your experience.
    "Courage is the resistance to fear, the mastery of fear, not the lack of fear." Mark Twain
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    Working for ANY ambulance gets you experience you need in dealing with pressure, patients, and a variety of situations. The experience you get will be totally beneficial. However, you will have to put up with low pay, crappy hours, some flack for working for a "private" service, and all the tests they will test you on like how you handle things and your work ethic.

    Stay with it, do what is expected of you and just a bit more, that will give you a great reference to go full time fire someplace.
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    thanks again everyone for responding. They have a two week training seminar type deal thats 8-5 m-f but is paid and they are gonna try to get me in the one that starts the second week of february. Im excited and nervous, they said they do not have any 911 contracts so it will basically just be transports but I'm ok with that I guess, I do not really have a choice haha.

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    Keep this in mind: Even though they don't have any emergency responses like 911, more than likely you'll still get some serious transports where you'll need to respond hot.

    The service I worked for didn't have any 911, but we still had to transport the critical from either their home / nf to the hospital and if my partner and I agreed, we'd go hot, depending on the situation.

    It was rare, but it still happened, and when it did, it was pretty exciting. But you never forget the safety and well being of the 2 people in the back as well as the public.

    We always drove hot with respect for everyone. You'll enjoy it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sweetpete View Post
    Keep this in mind: Even though they don't have any emergency responses like 911, more than likely you'll still get some serious transports where you'll need to respond hot.

    The service I worked for didn't have any 911, but we still had to transport the critical from either their home / nf to the hospital and if my partner and I agreed, we'd go hot, depending on the situation.

    It was rare, but it still happened, and when it did, it was pretty exciting. But you never forget the safety and well being of the 2 people in the back as well as the public.

    We always drove hot with respect for everyone. You'll enjoy it.
    I'll add to this point...some privates don't have 911 but alot do. Some of the ones I've talked with and seen have been employeed through hospitals and or counties. It's the departments that are run by indivivuals that have no EMS experience that tend to pay the least amount and work the heck out of you.
    "Courage is the resistance to fear, the mastery of fear, not the lack of fear." Mark Twain
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