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    Default Smaller depts in the Central FL area

    I'm just curious, as I've been reading many threads since joining this forum a few weeks ago, I see that Orlando and Orange Co are pretty popular in the Central FL area. I dont see any mention of smaller depts like Oviedo, Winter Park, Maitland, or any of the other depts in the area.

    But I have seen Orlando and Orange Co mentioned a few times. So I was curious if anyone has any comments on some of the smaller depts in the Orlando area.

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    Kissimmee is hiring for firefighter/paramedic. Closes on Aug. 24th.
    Firefighter - Paramedic

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    Quote Originally Posted by FireFuss View Post
    I don't really know anything about the other depts in Cent FL, with the exception of Apopka FD. I know some people who worked for Sanford, Oviedo and Ocoee, but they all ended up going to the county or Orlando.

    I'm pretty sure most of the talk on here is about those two departments because they are the largest around and hire most often. Orlando just had a process and the county is having the second one in less than a year. Even with the crazy number of people who test with them, they are usually the best shot at a job around. Thats probably why all the talk about them.

    Hi FireFuss, thx for the reply... Do you know why those folks went to Orange and/or Orlando? Did they not like Oviedo/Sanford/Apopka as much or perhaps they went to Orlando/Orange Co for better pay/bennies?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Want2BAFF. View Post
    Hi FireFuss, thx for the reply... Do you know why those folks went to Orange and/or Orlando? Did they not like Oviedo/Sanford/Apopka as much or perhaps they went to Orlando/Orange Co for better pay/bennies?


    Firefuss kind of hit it on the head. It's not that the smaller departments aren't "better" or "worse" (all VERY subjective terms), it's just that the county and city hire more frequently and more people. For example, most people in this area consider winter park FD to be a well respected department, with great benefits, pay, living environment, tradition, and equipment. However, when they only hire one or 2 people, and 600 show up to test, not many people are going to be gung ho on just talking about winter park, see my point?

    Another example, City of Sanford. I know TONS of people that would kill to work for them, because it is well known in this area, that Sanford burns more than just about anyone, PERIOD. They burn more than the entire area of Seminole County does probably. But again, when they only hire a few, but 400 apply....

    I will say this, I think it is safe to say that every department in central Florida is more or less, a "good" department. I use that term lightly, because I know we all have pride in our company/department, but virtually all of Central Florida is a "hot spot" for decently good pay, departments with real nice apparatus and staffing, good benefits, and decent working conditions...... and plenty of opportunity to get good work on the job.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Want2BAFF. View Post
    Hi FireFuss, thx for the reply... Do you know why those folks went to Orange and/or Orlando? Did they not like Oviedo/Sanford/Apopka as much or perhaps they went to Orlando/Orange Co for better pay/bennies?
    I thought I would elaborate alittle more than my post above...


    Throughout your career, you will find people leaving their fire department to go to another fire department for tons of different reasons: Better pay, closer to home, family reasons, Better retirement, special teams etc...You will see people that leave for a department, and you can't understand why they would want to leave, but for them, it may be a better choice. While there are a ton of people that want to work for a department like say, Orlando ( ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) there are tons, if not more, that are perfectly content with their fire department. Why? Just may suit them better. For example: A guy on my dept is getting ready to leave for a smaller city department in Orange County. Why? Well for him, being closer to home was the biggest thing. This dept is right in his backyard. There is also slightly better pay, and NO TRANSPORT (a big thing around here). In some peoples eyes, they may think this is not such a good idea especially in times such as these, but for him it was the better option.

    Yes, you will always see young gung ho guys that want to work for a department like Orlando for the tradition, special teams, and how they run there truck company's: Just the way it is, nothing wrong with that. But that doesn't mean that another department is not as good, or as respected.

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    Default thx vesmedic!

    Good response. I see what you mean. It's good to hear that all the depts in the Central FL area are good too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VESmedic View Post
    Yes, you will always see young gung ho guys that want to work for a department like Orlando for the tradition, special teams, and how they run there truck company's: Just the way it is, nothing wrong with that. But that doesn't mean that another department is not as good, or as respected.
    Ding ding ding! From the moment my first Fire Service instructor spoke about Orlando (he was a Chauffer on Tower 1), I knew thats where I wanna go. Almost 6 years ago that was, and I still wanna be there more then ever.
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    I personally have no desire to live in orlando it's at the very bottom of my list of places I would want to work. I'd take it over no job but it's not even close to my first choice. My point is to each his own

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    Quote Originally Posted by CodyK View Post
    I personally have no desire to live in orlando it's at the very bottom of my list of places I would want to work. I'd take it over no job but it's not even close to my first choice. My point is to each his own
    While I understand why someone might prefer a smaller department, "Orlando is at the bottom of my list" is absolutely ridiculous to me. It's one of the better departments in the COUNTRY. And pay is better than most in the state....pension, training, tradition, knowledge. It's just a BIG department with a BIG community, so with all those positives, I interpret "bottom of the list" as "I want a dept that runs the minimum amount of calls, I don't care what it pays". Too bad you can't just go right into investigations huh?

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    Default orlando is at the top

    orlando is at the top of my list. i would feel very blessed to work for such a great dept, and the same goes for orange co. i'm just in emt class now, but will be in fire school early 2012 and i will take anything i can get. you never know, working for a small dept might suit some better than working for a large one.

    why would orlando be at the bottom of anyone's list?

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    Default lucky2,

    i think palm bch co is the highest paying in the state (from what i've gathered), but i could be wrong.

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    Exactly my point, smaller departments are understandably preferred by some, but there's something fishy about having a department as good as Orlando's at the bottom. I don't mean to offend but if someone told me they chose Ocala over Orlando I might just tell them they'd be better off offing themselves. Or we'd be better off...selfish I know Watch "Idiocracy" and you might understand....

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    People "choose" (I use that word loosely) departments for several reasons.

    Initially, you should "choose" whatever department hires you. Don't be one of those guys saying you will only work for ____ Fire Department and never apply anywhere else, because you most likely will never get on the job. Regardless of how much you might not like the area, I would suggest to apply everywhere you can. I don't think many places in FL have a residency requirement, so you can live 4 hours away if you want, but the first part is just getting on the job.

    I know many people who worked for several fire departments before they finally got the one they felt comfortable with. Its not just about the pay, the amount (or lack of) calls or if they run fires. People "choose" based on their situation and what they are looking for. I know people who got hired by the "bottom of their list" department and loved it and I know people who got hired by their "dream" department and hate it/regret leaving their small/bottom barrel department.

    My suggestion as I stated above is to apply all over. When I first got hired, I didn't know what I "wanted" in a department and my personal life was different from what it is now.

    I am leaving my old-school, proud, traditional and great department because after a few years of working there, my life has changed and I feel that the department I am going to will offer me everything I desire both in my quality of life and the firefighting path I wish to take. However, I would have never realized this or traveled down this path had I not accepted the job with my current department I never rode with in a city I never went to (except to drop off my application).

    Good Luck and BTW, Orlando Fire is an AMAZING department. It is a department anyone would be lucky to work for, it sucks that i'm going to miss the Fire Conference this year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VESmedic View Post
    Another example, City of Sanford. I know TONS of people that would kill to work for them, because it is well known in this area, that Sanford burns more than just about anyone, PERIOD. They burn more than the entire area of Seminole County does probably. But again, when they only hire a few, but 400 apply....
    Crack houses and shotgun shacks don't count :P
    I promise you that's at least 3/4 of their fires.


    I have an app in with Orange County coming from a smaller department. I put that application in mainly due to the fact that I'll make 15k more starting out. In addition, working for the largest fire department in CFL provides plenty of room for professional advancement and growth.

    Transport...well, I don't now, would be happy to keep my skills up seeing as I never have before, and I'm sure I can hold out if it's bad until I can take an engineer test (again).


    ALSO: VOLUNTEER!!!!

    There are plenty of places that STILL do volunteer firefighters. Apopka, Debary/Orange City, Clermont, are the closest to the metro area that do vollies. Give them a call and get your foot in the door to get hired at those depts or get experience to get an edge up somewhere else.
    Last edited by flashpo1nt; 08-31-2011 at 12:50 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by flashpo1nt View Post
    Crack houses and shotgun shacks don't count :P
    I promise you that's at least 3/4 of their fires.
    Well when that's all you got you have to count them! haha.

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    Quote Originally Posted by layinonair View Post
    Well when that's all you got you have to count them! haha.
    It beats EMS runs!
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    Quote Originally Posted by flashpo1nt View Post
    ALSO: VOLUNTEER!!!!

    There are plenty of places that STILL do volunteer firefighters. Apopka, Debary/Orange City, Clermont, are the closest to the metro area that do vollies. Give them a call and get your foot in the door to get hired at those depts or get experience to get an edge up somewhere else.
    Do any of these departments take newbies? I have experience and completed classes in SC but have not taken any classes in FL. I live in the Orlando area and would like to find somewhere close I could volunteer and they either send me to the classes or possibly give a discount for classes. I have been considering Cape Canaveral but would love to find something closer.
    I saw Apopka takes volunteers within a certain distance of the city limits. They didn't say what the distance was but I'm guessing it is less than 30 miles. I didn't see anything on the Orange City or Clermont sites about volunteers.
    Any help or ideas anyone can provide would be greatly appreciated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by markk224 View Post
    Do any of these departments take newbies? I have experience and completed classes in SC but have not taken any classes in FL. I live in the Orlando area and would like to find somewhere close I could volunteer and they either send me to the classes or possibly give a discount for classes. I have been considering Cape Canaveral but would love to find something closer.
    I saw Apopka takes volunteers within a certain distance of the city limits. They didn't say what the distance was but I'm guessing it is less than 30 miles. I didn't see anything on the Orange City or Clermont sites about volunteers.
    Any help or ideas anyone can provide would be greatly appreciated.


    No these depts will not take you without certs and as far as I know are not accepting volunteers anyways. As for any volly stations that are still out there ( there are a few in Brevard county, but you have to live in Brevard) Good luck getting them or any to pay for standards. With over 6000 certified FF out there looking for jobs there is no shortage of qualified guys to fill the volly spots that do exist while they are hunting jobs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by markk224 View Post
    Do any of these departments take newbies? I have experience and completed classes in SC but have not taken any classes in FL. I live in the Orlando area and would like to find somewhere close I could volunteer and they either send me to the classes or possibly give a discount for classes. I have been considering Cape Canaveral but would love to find something closer.
    I saw Apopka takes volunteers within a certain distance of the city limits. They didn't say what the distance was but I'm guessing it is less than 30 miles. I didn't see anything on the Orange City or Clermont sites about volunteers.
    Any help or ideas anyone can provide would be greatly appreciated.
    Most depts that take volunteers will not pay for standards. If they are all volunteer, they may pay for FF1, thats it. Brevard County area, there are a few that can and will pay for FF1, but that is it.
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