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    Default fairfax county, VA.

    A Lieutenant from Fairfax County came and talked to my paramedic class this week, I'm in Illinois. They had great things to say about the department and the area of where it is. It seemed like a very interesting opportunity, in that they are looking for medics, so first things first on that. But I was just wondering if anyone knows anything about the Dept?

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    Anything specific you'd like to know? They're a big department, operating out of 37 fire stations with about 1400 uniformed personnel protecting 1 million people. All stations are staffed by career personnel, although some of the stations and apparatus are owned by the volunteers and painted in their respective organization's colors. They're answering around 90k calls per year, with a majority of those being EMS, as are most departments.

    They staff 37 engines, 8 heavy rescues, a whole slew of aerials (don't remember the number right off), ambulances, tankers, and of course support vehicles. They have a large hazmat team, and Station 18 is the home of one of Virginia's two FEMA USAR teams (VA-TF1). Station 12 routinely operates with Montgomery County, MD at Great Falls performing swiftwater rescues.

    Like any place, they have some slow stations, some busy stations, some ghetto, and some $5M homes. Just depends on where you are.

    Hope that helps, I'm sure some others can chime in and add some facts, figures, and the ever-important opinion.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    Anything specific you'd like to know? They're a big department, operating out of 37 fire stations with about 1400 uniformed personnel protecting 1 million people. All stations are staffed by career personnel, although some of the stations and apparatus are owned by the volunteers and painted in their respective organization's colors. They're answering around 90k calls per year, with a majority of those being EMS, as are most departments.

    They staff 37 engines, 8 heavy rescues, a whole slew of aerials (don't remember the number right off), ambulances, tankers, and of course support vehicles. They have a large hazmat team, and Station 18 is the home of one of Virginia's two FEMA USAR teams (VA-TF1). Station 12 routinely operates with Montgomery County, MD at Great Falls performing swiftwater rescues.

    Like any place, they have some slow stations, some busy stations, some ghetto, and some $5M homes. Just depends on where you are.

    Hope that helps, I'm sure some others can chime in and add some facts, figures, and the ever-important opinion.

    It is a good department to work for. A lot of everything going on. Newer apparatus is always coming in as the fleet gets updated.

    Medics have been the main hires of late. Now beginning to hire firefighter grades too.

    The salary is pretty.

    See the web site:

    http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fr/

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    I posted this in the employment section for Fairfax, but likewise, I am a NREMT-P / 10 year DoD firefighter interested in moving to the DC/Baltimore area as well. I was wondering if a Fire/Medic from Fairfax would be able to donate a little bit of their time to help me get a better feel for the department and area over a private message. The recruiting office was a wonderful help, yet recruitment can really only tell you so much apart from having some quick one on one time with the men and women who currently work in ops to get a better sense of the day to day. Most of my questions are along the lines of continuing education opportunities, ALS protocols/ED facilities in the area, resources/equipment, community outreach, etc.

    As like sTages19, I'm from the MidWest, so I am trying my best to educate myself and get a feel for the community I'd potentially be serving. I hope my inquiry isn't too taboo, for I feel it never hurts to ask humbly, with an eagerness to learn.

    Thank you

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonnee View Post
    It is a good department to work for. A lot of everything going on. Newer apparatus is always coming in as the fleet gets updated.

    Medics have been the main hires of late. Now beginning to hire firefighter grades too.

    The salary is pretty.

    See the web site:

    http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fr/
    What is the starting salary? Just curious. I didn't look too hard since it's not a big concern of mine since I'm not looking for a job there.

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    I googled "Fairfax County fire department salary" and this is what I found.

    Googling works well.


    This link will tell you a lot!!


    http://www.novaregion.org/index.aspx?NID=917


    $48,877
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonnee View Post
    It is a good department to work for. A lot of everything going on. Newer apparatus is always coming in as the fleet gets updated.

    Medics have been the main hires of late. Now beginning to hire firefighter grades too.

    The salary is pretty.
    See the web site:

    http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fr/

    Bear in mind...a higher salary usually means a higher cost of living in the area.
    .
    .

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    Quote Originally Posted by len1582 View Post
    Bear in mind...a higher salary usually means a higher cost of living in the area.
    .
    .

    See here............ http://www.fairfaxcountyeda.org/cost-living

    also google Fairfax County, Va Cost of Living.
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    Thanks for the replies. On the handout we got it stated that after the whole fire school, probationary period the salary was $71,XXX. The $48,XXX is what it said for during the probation and all that.

    They said that most ambulances go up 1 on 1? is that correct? Also do they have many hospitals around, whats an average transport time like? Being 1 on 1 i feel it would be more difficult just being the only one to be able to do certain things. Here in chicago you have a hospital every 5-7 mins so it doesnt come into affect, but they were saying the times were longer.

    Also we googled the area during break and it seemed like its a pretty costly area, thus the higher salary.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptOldTimer View Post
    I googled "Fairfax County fire department salary" and this is what I found.

    Googling works well.


    This link will tell you a lot!!


    http://www.novaregion.org/index.aspx?NID=917


    $48,877
    Relax man, just asked since it was conversation. I didn't care THAT much since I have no desire to work there. I already have a job on the "better" side of the river. haha kidding

    About cost of living, I think DC recently passed up LA and is only behind NYC and Bay Area. It sucks paying rent here, but the area itself is great in my opinion. You do get what you pay for. I'm not as familiar with FFX County itself and haven't lived that far out from the city, but it seems nice the few times I've been there. Tysons Corner is bigger than Downtown Atlanta from what I've read. The new silver line on the Metro should be finished in a few years and will connect it to the city which would make it more of an option for people to live and not just work. The DC area really is a fun place.
    Last edited by pipeman1822; 02-07-2011 at 12:13 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pipeman1822 View Post
    Relax man, just asked since it was conversation. I didn't care THAT much since I have no desire to work there. I already have a job on the "better" side of the river. haha kidding

    About cost of living, I think DC recently passed up LA and is only behind NYC and Bay Area. It sucks paying rent here, but the area itself is great in my opinion. You do get what you pay for. I'm not as familiar with FFX County itself and haven't lived that far out from the city, but it seems nice the few times I've been there. Tysons Corner is bigger than Downtown Atlanta from what I've read. The new silver line on the Metro should be finished in a few years and will connect it to the city which would make it more of an option for people to live and not just work. The DC area really is a fun place.
    Hear Hear! Also, there are guys that commute from Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New Jersey, southern Maryland, Deleware and I have heard at least one guy drives in for his tours from North Carolina. The shift schedule allows this, for those that don't mind a little driving every other day. But as a DC Native who has lived on both sides of the river, but always inside the Beltway, I will agree that the cost of living is worth what it gets you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DennisTheMenace View Post
    Hear Hear! Also, there are guys that commute from Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New Jersey, southern Maryland, Deleware and I have heard at least one guy drives in for his tours from North Carolina. The shift schedule allows this, for those that don't mind a little driving every other day. But as a DC Native who has lived on both sides of the river, but always inside the Beltway, I will agree that the cost of living is worth what it gets you.
    Yea it seems as though most live pretty far away now. I'm sure I eventually will with the prices going up so fast but I definitely don't want to. This is definitely one of the best cities in the country, as well as many of the suburbs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sTages19 View Post
    A Lieutenant from Fairfax County came and talked to my paramedic class this week, I'm in Illinois. They had great things to say about the department and the area of where it is. It seemed like a very interesting opportunity, in that they are looking for medics, so first things first on that. But I was just wondering if anyone knows anything about the Dept?
    I was hired at Fairfax County as a FF/medic with the 126th class, 4/08. I'm very happy here. What do you want to know in particular?
    "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those willing to work and give to those who are not." Thomas Jefferson

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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    Anything specific you'd like to know? They're a big department, operating out of 37 fire stations with about 1400 uniformed personnel protecting 1 million people. All stations are staffed by career personnel, although some of the stations and apparatus are owned by the volunteers and painted in their respective organization's colors. They're answering around 90k calls per year, with a majority of those being EMS, as are most departments.

    They staff 37 engines, 8 heavy rescues, a whole slew of aerials (don't remember the number right off), ambulances, tankers, and of course support vehicles. They have a large hazmat team, and Station 18 is the home of one of Virginia's two FEMA USAR teams (VA-TF1). Station 12 routinely operates with Montgomery County, MD at Great Falls performing swiftwater rescues.

    Like any place, they have some slow stations, some busy stations, some ghetto, and some $5M homes. Just depends on where you are.

    Hope that helps, I'm sure some others can chime in and add some facts, figures, and the ever-important opinion.
    All true, but what's considered a ghetto here really isn't, if you compare those areas to rough parts of PG county, SE DC, The Bronx, etc.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonnee View Post
    It is a good department to work for. A lot of everything going on. Newer apparatus is always coming in as the fleet gets updated.

    Medics have been the main hires of late. Now beginning to hire firefighter grades too.

    The salary is pretty.

    See the web site:

    http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fr/
    That $53,887 is what you make in the academy, although that may drop to a basic FF's starting salary until you get released into the field. That's where the 48,000 came from.

    I started out making the same (after the COLA took effect in July). My offer letter stated that I would get $182.59/pay period as cert pay after graduation from fire school. That was 10% of a basix FF's salary. It's probably a little more now, let's say $5,000 even on the year. You'll get night diff, which probably comes out to 2 grand a year. You get riding pay - $2/hr to ride the engine, $3/hr to ride the medic unit. It's a 56 hour workweek. If you were to not take any days off at all, you'll earn around 5,800 a year for engine riding pay, or 8,700 for the medic. If you split your time between the two, and take vacation, you'll get at least 6,000 as a conservative number. You also get paid holidays - 11.2 hours of straight time if you're off, and 16 hours if you work at least that amount of hours on a holiday. That's where the 71,000 comes from.

    Medics from my class just passed the EMS Technician promotional exam. The additional pay puts us at around 80k give or take on the year.
    "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those willing to work and give to those who are not." Thomas Jefferson

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adenosine6 View Post
    I posted this in the employment section for Fairfax, but likewise, I am a NREMT-P / 10 year DoD firefighter interested in moving to the DC/Baltimore area as well. I was wondering if a Fire/Medic from Fairfax would be able to donate a little bit of their time to help me get a better feel for the department and area over a private message. The recruiting office was a wonderful help, yet recruitment can really only tell you so much apart from having some quick one on one time with the men and women who currently work in ops to get a better sense of the day to day. Most of my questions are along the lines of continuing education opportunities, ALS protocols/ED facilities in the area, resources/equipment, community outreach, etc.

    As like sTages19, I'm from the MidWest, so I am trying my best to educate myself and get a feel for the community I'd potentially be serving. I hope my inquiry isn't too taboo, for I feel it never hurts to ask humbly, with an eagerness to learn.

    Thank you
    Ask away...
    "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those willing to work and give to those who are not." Thomas Jefferson

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    Quote Originally Posted by len1582 View Post
    Bear in mind...a higher salary usually means a higher cost of living in the area.
    .
    .
    There's no residency requirement. Many of us commute from The Winchester/Front Royal area, Prince William County, Warrenton, Stafford, Fredricksburgh/Spotsy, Culpepper, etc. All affordable areas.
    "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those willing to work and give to those who are not." Thomas Jefferson

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    Quote Originally Posted by pipeman1822 View Post
    Relax man, just asked since it was conversation. I didn't care THAT much since I have no desire to work there. I already have a job on the "better" side of the river. haha kidding

    About cost of living, I think DC recently passed up LA and is only behind NYC and Bay Area. It sucks paying rent here, but the area itself is great in my opinion. You do get what you pay for. I'm not as familiar with FFX County itself and haven't lived that far out from the city, but it seems nice the few times I've been there. Tysons Corner is bigger than Downtown Atlanta from what I've read. The new silver line on the Metro should be finished in a few years and will connect it to the city which would make it more of an option for people to live and not just work. The DC area really is a fun place.
    When I moved from NYC thecost of living from Queens, NY to Fairfax County was almost identical. Fairfax property values dropped more than those in NY, so it's a little cheaper now. I wouldn't live in Fairfax. I don't care for the inflated home values and the traffic, which wil only get worse. The only thing I don't like about working here is that there are no beaches around. I like to surf, and it's four hours to the OBX.
    "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those willing to work and give to those who are not." Thomas Jefferson

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    Quote Originally Posted by sTages19 View Post
    They said that most ambulances go up 1 on 1? is that correct? Also do they have many hospitals around, whats an average transport time like? Being 1 on 1 i feel it would be more difficult just being the only one to be able to do certain things. Here in chicago you have a hospital every 5-7 mins so it doesnt come into affect, but they were saying the times were longer.
    The average txp time is usually less than ten minutes. We only have one level 1 trauma center, so that may be a hike from the corners of the county. No 45-60 minute txp's like in rural areas, though. Otherwise, 5-15 minutes for the most part.

    Until a couple of years ago, we had only 14 PTU's (double medic training units), and the balance of our 37 stations had BLS buses. Each station has an ALS engine; that hasn't changed. Admin saw fit to convert all but four of our BLS ambulances to "one and one" units. The remaining four are BLS units that also have a PTU in the same house. You need to have an arbitrary eighteen months as an ALS field provider to be cleared to ride lead on a one and one. Also, most calls get an ALS engine, so you'll usually have two medics onscene. The county wants at least two medics onscene for any ALS call.

    I don't particularly agree with going to an all ALS system. I came from the NYC 911 tiered system. Medics weren't running sick jobs, injuries, MVA's, EDP's, abd pain, the intox, etc. We were only dispatched to serious jobs. The learning curve was high. I'd see several serious patients each shift. Now, you might see one or two a month. Vitals, O2, monitor, IV, txp doesn't count. With every unit being a medic, our opportunities to see truly sick pts diminishes greatly. You can also have three or four medics onscene with you. It's still not a bad system, though. It's better than a lot of places. I just get bored running mostly non acute, routine stuff. Back in NY, I used to go from the diff breather w/APE, to the unc. diabetic, to the arrest, to the tight asthmatic, to the pin job, (and a couple of sleeping "unconscious" drunks, to be honest) all in the same 12 hour shift. With any good call here, you'll have more help than you need.
    "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those willing to work and give to those who are not." Thomas Jefferson

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    Quote Originally Posted by edpmedic View Post
    That $53,887 is what you make in the academy, although that may drop to a basic FF's starting salary until you get released into the field. That's where the 48,000 came from.

    I started out making the same (after the COLA took effect in July). My offer letter stated that I would get $182.59/pay period as cert pay after graduation from fire school. That was 10% of a basix FF's salary. It's probably a little more now, let's say $5,000 even on the year. You'll get night diff, which probably comes out to 2 grand a year. You get riding pay - $2/hr to ride the engine, $3/hr to ride the medic unit. It's a 56 hour workweek. If you were to not take any days off at all, you'll earn around 5,800 a year for engine riding pay, or 8,700 for the medic. If you split your time between the two, and take vacation, you'll get at least 6,000 as a conservative number. You also get paid holidays - 11.2 hours of straight time if you're off, and 16 hours if you work at least that amount of hours on a holiday. That's where the 71,000 comes from.

    Medics from my class just passed the EMS Technician promotional exam. The additional pay puts us at around 80k give or take on the year.
    Wow. I'd never leave the DCFD for Fairfax personally, but that's a BIG difference in pay. How many platoons does FFX have?

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    Quote Originally Posted by pipeman1822 View Post
    Wow. I'd never leave the DCFD for Fairfax personally, but that's a BIG difference in pay. How many platoons does FFX have?
    Three platoons


    FAIRFAX COUNTY - 3/4 or what is also known as the LA Shift WOWOWOOOOWOWOWOOOO......
    Last edited by CaptOldTimer; 02-22-2011 at 04:21 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptOldTimer View Post
    Three platoons


    FAIRFAX COUNTY - 3/4 or what is also known as the LA Shift WOWOWOOOOWOWOWOOOO......
    I'd kill for DC's 24/72, or even a 48/96, although it's the same amount of hours I have now. With any 24/48 variant, which is a 56 hour workweek, you're actually working the equivalent of 33.75 40 hour week/years, if you do the 25 years you need to reach full retirement:

    http://alexandriava.gov/fire/info/default.aspx?id=5086

    This is a good talking point for anyone that thinks we have pensions that are too generous, or that we don't put in as many years of service than others do in private industry. It's a third of our time at work, time where you're raising your children and such.
    "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those willing to work and give to those who are not." Thomas Jefferson

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    Quote Originally Posted by edpmedic View Post
    I'd kill for DC's 24/72, or even a 48/96, although it's the same amount of hours I have now. With any 24/48 variant, which is a 56 hour workweek, you're actually working the equivalent of 33.75 40 hour week/years, if you do the 25 years you need to reach full retirement:

    http://alexandriava.gov/fire/info/default.aspx?id=5086

    This is a good talking point for anyone that thinks we have pensions that are too generous, or that we don't put in as many years of service than others do in private industry. It's a third of our time at work, time where you're raising your children and such.

    Yea but our schedule might not be so great in the future. They are once again trying to get rid of an entire platoon. Either 24/48 or some type with 12 hour shifts. This would be about 500 guys lose their jobs.

    We definitely would not do a 48/96. The move to 24/72 was court mandated in the 90s due to the high call volume. I think we were around 180,000 runs last year with many engine companies running 15-20 runs/tour. Over half of the ambulances don't even see their bunk. 48 hours on that thing would be unhealthy with no sleep and sometimes no food. I usually don't get lunch on the ambo and dinner sometimes comes at 11pm.

    Like I said, I love the DCFD but there are definitely some problems here that need to be addressed. Of course it's the same story at most departments, just different problems.

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    Quote Originally Posted by edpmedic View Post
    The average txp time is usually less than ten minutes. We only have one level 1 trauma center, so that may be a hike from the corners of the county. No 45-60 minute txp's like in rural areas, though. Otherwise, 5-15 minutes for the most part.

    Until a couple of years ago, we had only 14 PTU's (double medic training units), and the balance of our 37 stations had BLS buses. Each station has an ALS engine; that hasn't changed. Admin saw fit to convert all but four of our BLS ambulances to "one and one" units. The remaining four are BLS units that also have a PTU in the same house. You need to have an arbitrary eighteen months as an ALS field provider to be cleared to ride lead on a one and one. Also, most calls get an ALS engine, so you'll usually have two medics onscene. The county wants at least two medics onscene for any ALS call.

    I don't particularly agree with going to an all ALS system. I came from the NYC 911 tiered system. Medics weren't running sick jobs, injuries, MVA's, EDP's, abd pain, the intox, etc. We were only dispatched to serious jobs. The learning curve was high. I'd see several serious patients each shift. Now, you might see one or two a month. Vitals, O2, monitor, IV, txp doesn't count. With every unit being a medic, our opportunities to see truly sick pts diminishes greatly. You can also have three or four medics onscene with you. It's still not a bad system, though. It's better than a lot of places. I just get bored running mostly non acute, routine stuff. Back in NY, I used to go from the diff breather w/APE, to the unc. diabetic, to the arrest, to the tight asthmatic, to the pin job, (and a couple of sleeping "unconscious" drunks, to be honest) all in the same 12 hour shift. With any good call here, you'll have more help than you need.
    thanks for giving such in depth answers to all of the questions asked. the tp times dont seem too bad at all, when they came to our class it seemed, to me at least, that 20 min was a pretty avg tp time, which again to me, where im from is quite a long time.

    also its still pretty early in my class, so im really focusing on that which is why i havent been here lately. if i have any more questions i hope you wont mind answering them here.

    thanks and take care and be safe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pipeman1822 View Post
    Yea but our schedule might not be so great in the future. They are once again trying to get rid of an entire platoon. Either 24/48 or some type with 12 hour shifts. This would be about 500 guys lose their jobs.

    We definitely would not do a 48/96. The move to 24/72 was court mandated in the 90s due to the high call volume. I think we were around 180,000 runs last year with many engine companies running 15-20 runs/tour. Over half of the ambulances don't even see their bunk. 48 hours on that thing would be unhealthy with no sleep and sometimes no food. I usually don't get lunch on the ambo and dinner sometimes comes at 11pm.

    Like I said, I love the DCFD but there are definitely some problems here that need to be addressed. Of course it's the same story at most departments, just different problems.
    Sorry to hear that they're trying to mess with your schedule to save money via layoffs. Hopefully you can get them off your back.

    We're nowhere as busy as you guys. The busiest engines may run an average of 8-10 calls, but more than half of those are 20-30 minute EMS jobs. We could get away with a 48/96. The first day is full of drills, walkthroughs, etc. The second day you sleep in, get naps where you can, etc. The west coast depts that do this say the majority like it. I agree with you that the DCFD call volume would be way too much to have that type of schedule.

    I used to work NYC EMS with one of the hospitals, very busy system. Whether you're with the city or a hospital, they cap you at 16 hours, with a mandatory eight hours off before returning to work. I'd never want to ride a box that gets the type of call volume unless it's with your schedule, or the one at Alexandria Fire and EMS, which is almost the same. I worked a 24/48 down south in SC for a stint. We had little downtime. We were put in service as soon as we arrived at the hospital. We could never complete a report on the ePCR, since we were usually out the door in 5 minutes give or take for another one. Our downtime at night was spent completing all these reports and also being woken up to standby on some street corner for an hour. We were also mandated to stay for another 24 hours on a regular basis, so I was effectively working a 48/24 more often than not. I wanted to eat a bullet.
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