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  1. #1
    TR
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    Default FF tempo and busiest cities?

    I'm leaving the military soon and I want to be a firefighter, one of the things I'm curious about is what the tempo is like; I'm guessing you see significantly more EMS calls, but are fire responses rare or just less common? How many fire and EMS calls would be considered typical in a shift? If there is less than one fire in a shift, how long would you go without seeing a fire?

    Second, which cities are generally the busiest? Any info is good, but I am particularly interested in the east coast, preferably a big city (think metro population 500K or more). Ultimately it would be no problem for me to move anywhere in the country though, so don't restrict answers to the east coast if you have other information. I'm already a paramedic so finding work while I wait to get on the fire department shouldn't be too difficult.

    Thanks very much guys, and if these have been answered before I apologize. I tried using the search function but it told me I would have to wait almost 4000 seconds between searches so I figured it wouldn't be too much of a trouble for me to just make a new thread.


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    If paramedic come on down departments are looking for you

    http://www.tcfp.state.tx.us/employment.asp


    cheaper cost of living

  3. #3
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Post Well..............

    Plan on Waiting a Bit........ Large Cities (and Small) are laying off people, not hiring. If your time and resources allow, check out the County Departments in the Mid-Atlantic area. All of those are busy....... Almost all Paramedics in this area work for the Fire Department, since private EMS Services don't handle anything but interfacility transfer type of work, no Emergencies. All Emergency EMS Services are Fire based, and account for, on average, 75-80% of a Department's Work Load.

    To surf a bit - in Maryland: Prince Georges, Anne Arundel, Montgomery, Baltimore, and Howard. Virginia: Fairfax, Arlington, Prince William, and Loudon.

    The distinction between a City and a County is somewhat blurred when you see that the City of Baltimore (which is independent, not part of a County) is smaller than three of Maryland's Counties. Prince Georges County, where I'm located, has a Population of almost 900,000 which is a lot more than Baltimore City's 650,000. With 47 Stations, we're a good sized outfit, with three stations running over 10,000 incidents per year, while the slowest station runs about 1,350 per year.
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by hwoods View Post
    Plan on Waiting a Bit........ Large Cities (and Small) are laying off people, not hiring. If your time and resources allow, check out the County Departments in the Mid-Atlantic area. All of those are busy....... Almost all Paramedics in this area work for the Fire Department, since private EMS Services don't handle anything but interfacility transfer type of work, no Emergencies. All Emergency EMS Services are Fire based, and account for, on average, 75-80% of a Department's Work Load.

    To surf a bit - in Maryland: Prince Georges, Anne Arundel, Montgomery, Baltimore, and Howard. Virginia: Fairfax, Arlington, Prince William, and Loudon.

    The distinction between a City and a County is somewhat blurred when you see that the City of Baltimore (which is independent, not part of a County) is smaller than three of Maryland's Counties. Prince Georges County, where I'm located, has a Population of almost 900,000 which is a lot more than Baltimore City's 650,000. With 47 Stations, we're a good sized outfit, with three stations running over 10,000 incidents per year, while the slowest station runs about 1,350 per year.
    Some differences down here.

    While many fire departments do handle transport, many do not. Parish wide third services are quite common as well as privates handling EMS transport is as well. In fact, Acadian Ambulance handles much of the EMS transport for the lower 1/2 of the state and has many other opportunities including chopper medic, fixed wing medic and offshore (drilling rig) medic positions.

    Busiest 3 departments in this state would be New Orleans, Shreveport and then either Baton Rouge or Bossier City. Shreveport and Bossier City do EMS transport. Baton Rouge and NO use either privates and/or 3rd services.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 04-26-2010 at 08:21 AM.

  5. #5
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    In Baton Rouge we ran 30k last year, with the busiest engine making 1700 runs, 80% of which are first aid. We run BLS non-transport. We have 19 stations and will be putting 2 more on in the near further. No known plans for the BRFD to start ALS engine\rescue.
    We have a parish (county to everyone else) run ALS ambulance service, no transfers. Acadian ambulance handle what little over flow EMS has. AASI also like to hire qualified fire fighter\paramedics part time.

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    Well, this is a hard question as everyones answers will be mostly from their own p.o.v

    First whats busy ? Some dept.s 1,500 runs a years others 4,000. Each dept. "runs" differant too. Many places send a 2 and 1 (2 engines 1 truck) to auto alarms,box alarms and fumes calls, my dept ? that would be a single co. run ,but others will build big numbers on those *** rides.


    As seen here some guys run 80-85 % ems ! For us last i heard 40 some % and being on a truck our ems area is reduced so we run even less ems. So 5,000 runs that are 80 % ems will be less fire then say someone who runs 3,000 calls at 40 % ems. Another thing to think about big numbers in the suburbs vs. smaller numbers in the hood. The hood's going to get way more fires with far lower run numbers. Take one look at Detroit !

    You are right if you want more fire then EMS look to the North East.

    Oh and good luck !!

    I work in the N.E. in a rust belt,often very violent , shrinking city. But we have a class at our academy right now.

    No paramedics or transporting either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hwoods View Post
    Prince Georges County, where I'm located, has a Population of almost 900,000 which is a lot more than Baltimore City's 650,000. With 47 Stations, we're a good sized outfit, with three stations running over 10,000 incidents per year, while the slowest station runs about 1,350 per year.
    Harve's department picks up extra work when school is in session...



    ...as Board of Ed. employees.

    Long time, no (internet) see, hey chief?
    "If you put the fire out right in the first place, you won't have to jump out the window."
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by bcarey View Post
    Harve's department picks up extra work when school is in session...
    Grabs popcorn..........
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

  9. #9
    Forum Member MemphisE34a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bcarey View Post
    Harve's department picks up extra work when school is in session...



    ...as Board of Ed. employees.

    Long time, no (internet) see, hey chief?
    BAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

    Chief.......I love ya, but that right there is funny!!
    RK
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    Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

  10. #10
    Forum Member MemphisE34a's Avatar
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    Oh......and to answer the question:


    As much as you are not going to like this, I have come to the conclusion that every fire department is the exact same. There are the same gung ho guys, the same slugs, a few good chiefs, and a whole lot of bad ones.

    I understand what your asking - I like being busy at work to. I love going to fires. I love getting to fires first. Having said that, I wish I would have picked a better place to live........a place with better schools for my kids, a place where crime was not nearly the highest in the country per capita, a place where the poverty level was below 60%, a place where politics in the city and the fire department were not so damn corrupt and "clicky" although that one is probably the same everywhere as well, and finally maybe somewhere closer to the beech!!

    The fires are great, but theyare no longer worth it.

    The information you want to hear is this:

    Every major metropolitan area is going to have areas that are busy and have a significant fire load, but it will not be every station inthis area. There are pockets that are worse than others.

    Memphis for example is mostly a shathole, but out of 57 stations, there are only a handful that are consistently "busy". I have tried to stay assigned in that handful and have made as many as 7 working fires in a 24 hour period, but have gone many, many, many more days with none. I would guess that our busy companies make about 100 - 175 fires a year, about one every 2-3 days, but with shift work, they may fall where you don't make one for months.

    As far as EMS goes, embrace it. If your in a community with fires, the EMS calls will be 1000 fold!!

    Lastly, if you get hired as a paramedic, you are likely to be riding an ambulance and not fire apparatus anyway, at least part of the time.

    Good luck.
    RK
    cell #901-494-9437

    Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

  11. #11
    Forum Member Jonnee's Avatar
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    Exclamation

    I want to point out that 'busy' can be fighting fires all day and night, in which most guys would get burned out in a few years and in some case grow old fast. They would be begging for a transfer to a less bust company.


    As Memphis E34A said, you have to find a place to live, as well to work that has good schools, government, department and the crime rate isn't in the top 5 in this country.

    My department stays pretty busy but the EMS calls will always outweigh the fire calls and actual fire jobs. When you have a department making close to 100,000 calls for service per year and the busiest company hitting 4,000 plus runs yearly, you stay busy on the street.


    Remember this busy means that someone property is burning and in most cases is being destroyed. In a lot of cases everyone does not have home owner insurance or enough to cover a several loss due to fire. These folks I have always felt sorry for as once we leave they have nothing to go back to and have to regroup and try to find somewhere to live and some type of furniture to use. I have given some older furniture to poorer folks than I, who have loss just about everything and were in need.


    I don't know of any firefighter that wants to see someone burned out of their homes, offices or buildings so that they can stay busy! I would have rather sit in the house all day and not turn a wheel, as oppose to running for 23-1/2 hours out of 24 making 8 to 12 working jobs and see folks being homeless because I want to be busy! Hey I love the job and love fighting fires but if I had the choice......

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a View Post
    Oh......and to answer the question:


    As much as you are not going to like this, I have come to the conclusion that every fire department is the exact same. There are the same gung ho guys, the same slugs, a few good chiefs, and a whole lot of bad ones.

    I understand what your asking - I like being busy at work to. I love going to fires. I love getting to fires first. Having said that, I wish I would have picked a better place to live........a place with better schools for my kids, a place where crime was not nearly the highest in the country per capita, a place where the poverty level was below 60%, a place where politics in the city and the fire department were not so damn corrupt and "clicky" although that one is probably the same everywhere as well, and finally maybe somewhere closer to the beech!!

    The fires are great, but theyare no longer worth it.

    The information you want to hear is this:

    Every major metropolitan area is going to have areas that are busy and have a significant fire load, but it will not be every station inthis area. There are pockets that are worse than others.

    Memphis for example is mostly a shathole, but out of 57 stations, there are only a handful that are consistently "busy". I have tried to stay assigned in that handful and have made as many as 7 working fires in a 24 hour period, but have gone many, many, many more days with none. I would guess that our busy companies make about 100 - 175 fires a year, about one every 2-3 days, but with shift work, they may fall where you don't make one for months.

    As far as EMS goes, embrace it. If your in a community with fires, the EMS calls will be 1000 fold!!

    Lastly, if you get hired as a paramedic, you are likely to be riding an ambulance and not fire apparatus anyway, at least part of the time.

    Good luck.
    Couldn't be any more right. We've got over 30 engines with our busiest in the city running just under 7000 runs in a year(used to be the busiest in the country, but I'm not sure it still is). Our slowest though, is all the way down to about 1000 runs per year. Mine is near the top with over 5000, but we don't run that much fire. No one does. Big cities are gentrifying everywhere, especially those big east coast cities you mentioned you would want. The one that I work for is changing extremely fast.

    There's a few smaller cities that are complete ghettos(flint, gary, camden) where most companies still run fire, but I don't see you, or anyone, getting hired in those. The reason they are like that is because there's nothing in those cities, but crime. So they don't have money to hire anyone. If they do hire, it will be those that were already laid off.

    MemphisE34 mentioned the whole EMS thing. If you are in a house that runs fire in the city, you are also most likely be in a house that runs a ton of EMS. Just think, where do most fires happen? The bad areas of town. Where do most people get sick/hurt? The bad areas of town. It's like a two-for-one deal. You don't only get one. You're going to get them both. The engine I mentioned in my department that runs almost 7000 runs per year... well about 5500 of them are EMS.

    If you can, the department hwoods works for is an AMAZING place for experience. It's a weird department because you're a volunteer, but you will run more fire than most career departments in the country. There's career staffing too, but a ton of volunteers that have just as much responsibility. Since you won't get paid it's not something you may want to move out here for, but if you're young and single, there's another option. Many of those fire houses have live in programs. In exchange to running calls for them, they let you live at the fire house. Because you are around so much, you will get a ton of experience.

    Good luck. Take whatever department you can as far as a job offer. With the economy and the popularity of the job, you kind of need to. You can always leave if something better comes along, but don't just assume it will because it might not.

  13. #13
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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  14. #14
    TR
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    Thanks for all the responses guys, I'm getting a lot of good info here. I don't have anything against EMS calls; I'm a paramedic for a reason, if someone is in need of help and I have the ability I'll be more than willing to provide that help regardless of whether it means putting out a fire or providing medical care on the way to the hospital. Given the opportunity, though, I would choose to be located in a place that I will see my fair share of both. When I was stationed at Kirtland in training, I basically interned as a medic for the Albuquerque Fire Dept. and I'm not sure if it was just the station I was at or what but I was there for 6 weeks and I only saw them go on one fire call. It was pretty cool to watch them work but ultimately it seemed like they were itching for more to do.

    @hwoods Yeah I have pretty much accepted that it may be a pretty long time before I can get on as a Firefighter no matter where I end up, just because of the unemployment and stuff. It's a job that's in pretty high demand even in good economic times. I'll make it work though. Thanks for the advice.

    @MemphisE34a That's actually going to give me something to think about. I'm not married or anything right now, but having a family is something I want so I should probably consider all my possibilities. As far as EMS, I have nothing against it and truly there are times when I love it more than anything. But at the same time... getting right up next to, and potentially even inside a blazing building is a rush that I hope I get to experience more than once a year or so, especially coming off the job I have now. But running a majority of EMS calls is not going to be a problem for me.

    @Jonnee Of course I wouldn't wish for someone to go through that loss, but the way I see it, they're going to suffer the loss whether I'm this city or the next, so I may as well be in this city where my training is being put to use for these people that really need it. I am more than familiar with the bittersweet feeling that comes from that type of a situation. I apologize if I came off as the type of person that would enjoy seeing a family put on the street just so I could have something to do, that's not me.

    @pipeman1822 I had to read through your post twice because the first time I just had to keep coming back to "7000 runs a year for the busiest engine". Jesus. Thanks for your thoughts though. I'm hoping that in the next year or two the economy and unemployment will pick back up so cities will start hiring more and there will be at least slightly less competition, but until then I may just do as you said and try to work wherever I can.
    Last edited by TR; 04-29-2010 at 04:58 AM.

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