View Poll Results: Do your fire officers ride an ambulance?

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Thread: Full time fire based EMS: Do your fire officers ride the ambulance?

  1. #1
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    Default Full time fire based EMS: Do your fire officers ride the ambulance?

    I work for a full time fire department that does EMS. We have approximately 500 firefighters, all of which are at least EMT- B trained. 200 are paramedic trained and 100 are fire officers who ride front line apparatus. I am wondering if there is any other full time department running 911 response EMS that has their fire officer ride the ambulance (medic)? Our officers have to study for and pass a competitive civil service exam consisting of policies, procedures and our labor contract and pass an oral interview to be promoted. When the officer is riding on the ambulance taking people to the hospital, a person with 3 years or less on the job can be the Acting officer on the engine. We run with 3 firefighters on the Engine and 2 on the ambulance. There's only 1 officer per crew. Let me know if you have any questions, as I am trying to explain the background but keep it brief. Thanks for your input.

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    Why does the officer ride the ambulance?

    Normal rotation?

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    We're a similar department with similar statistics - 525 uniformed personnel, about 200 ALS providers (mixture of EMT-P and EMT-I). We have 84 lieutenants in the field (who are a mixture of ALS and BLS), as well as 26 captains in the field (six of those captains are medic supervisors).

    We're not civil service, and we're "a right to work" state so we don't work under a contract, but we do have a lengthy four-part promotional process.

    Our lieutenants are in the rotation to ride our ambulances (we have ambulances assigned to 15 of our 20 stations, and they're all staffed with one EMT and one medic), no matter if they're BLS or ALS. If the lieutenants weren't in the rotation, we'd simply be exponentially increasing the burnout rate for the firefighters that would be riding it that much more.

    Our firefighters go through an extensive training process before they can ride in charge of the engine, which includes a week-long acting officer school at the training academy followed by a minimum 21 days of riding the seat while being precepted by his or her lieutenant or captain. Both the lieutenant and captain must approve the FF to ride in charge in the absence of the officer. It's rare that our CO's would spend more than 33% of their time on the ambulance, however.

    If your department is anything like ours, a overwhelming majority of the calls are EMS in nature. Since that's the case with us, our company officers are involved in all aspects of our department, including carrying the sick and injured to the hospital.
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    We have 3 times the number of firefighters and over twice as many stations. Any promotion gets you out of the ambulance rotation, albeit I am sure it is more of a money issue than anything else. The City is not gonna pay a Driver or Lieutenant to ride the unit and have to pay someone out of rank in their spot.
    Last edited by MemphisE34a; 07-16-2014 at 11:25 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fire49 View Post
    Why does the officer ride the ambulance?

    Normal rotation?
    I can't answer why. It was what the Chief wanted at the time we took over the ambulances. And yes, normal rotation. However, the people acting in my spot do not have any formal training or competency testing. It's just whomever is there at the time. That is one of my issues and the other is that we only run 3 on the engine anyways. So why is your highest paid and most senior person taking BLS patients to the hospital (ALS is staffed by 2 non-officer paramedics) when a person with 1-3 years on the job is taking command of a fire or other complex incident? It just doesn't make sense to me.
    Last edited by allison0523; 07-15-2014 at 03:40 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by allison0523 View Post
    I can't answer why. It was what the Chief wanted at the time we took over the ambulances. And yes, normal rotation. However, the people acting in my spot do not have any formal training or competency testing. It's just whomever is there at the time. That is one of my issues and the other is that we only run 3 on the engine anyways. So why is your highest paid and most senior person taking BLS patients to the hospital (ALS is staffed by 2 non-officer paramedics) when a person with 1-3 years on the job is taking command of a fire or other complex incident? It just doesn't make sense to me.
    I agree with you 100%.

    When you are on the ambulance and someone is filling in for your spot, are they paid what for riding in that capacity?
    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a View Post
    The City is not gonna pay a Driver or Lieutenant to ride the unit and have to pay someone out of rank in their spot.
    That's one of the differences with us - once you're qualified to act, you get a pay raise (part of our career development plan).

    Quote Originally Posted by allison0523 View Post
    However, the people acting in my spot do not have any formal training or competency testing. It's just whomever is there at the time. That is one of my issues and the other is that we only run 3 on the engine anyways. So why is your highest paid and most senior person taking BLS patients to the hospital (ALS is staffed by 2 non-officer paramedics) when a person with 1-3 years on the job is taking command of a fire or other complex incident? It just doesn't make sense to me.
    In this case, I completely agree with you. Just putting a warm body in the seat is setting the individual and the department up for failure.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    That's one of the differences with us - once you're qualified to act, you get a pay raise (part of our career development plan).



    In this case, I completely agree with you. Just putting a warm body in the seat is setting the individual and the department up for failure.
    They do get paid acting pay for the time that I am not with them. Like if they are sent on a transport with another company or they are on a separate call. I would, at the very least, like to see the people acting have to meet the same requirements as those actually promoted.

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    Our fire Lt's and Capt's that are Paramedic certified ride the medic 12 hrs. a month just to keep up skills. But then again they typically respond on ALS runs so they get more chances to do EMS anyway. EMT basic officers do not have to ride the medic. There is no requirement for an officer to get or maintain a P-card, they just have to maintain a Basic EMT cert. Most of the ones that are P-cards were FF's that got promoted.

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    My department and union compromised on company officers on the medic units. 1 shift has an engineer/paramedic and 1 firefighter/paramedic on 1 shift while the other shifts have 2 firefighter/paramedics. Other engineers and and captains that are paramedic licensed can work overtime on the medic units if they so desire.

    There is always a company officer on the engine companies.

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    I should also mention that FF's and company officers up to Capt. make 8% more for have a Paramedic card. That's all the time, because fire companies can take EMS runs too. Engines go on all ALS runs, or first responder for BLS if a medic is not close. Ladders and Heavy Rescue's go as a first responder if an engine is not close either, or if special called.

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnsb View Post
    I should also mention that FF's and company officers up to Capt. make 8% more for have a Paramedic card.
    I forgot that in my post as well...all of our ALS providers, even up to the rank of Fire Chief, get a 9.4% incentive for EMT-I and 14.8% pay incentive for EMT-P.
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    We are a small department in a busy metro area. We hire only paramedics and have our own transport ambulances. Captain is the ONLY position where you are not on ambulance rotation. Otherwise we all rotate on apparatus and the ambulances.

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