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Thread: Charleston, SC Hiring 2014

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    Default Charleston, SC Hiring 2014

    http://www.charleston-sc.gov/index.aspx?NID=1054

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    Got my test date. I don't know if I'll be going for sure yet, coming from out of state. Anyone know how many they are hiring and how many usually apply?

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    Got some questions.

    Can you two hat in SC or with Charleston?
    The pay is relatively low like I expected. I live in Cincinnati where the cost of living is very affordable. Charleston's cost of living is higher. Anyone working in the area have any insight on how difficult it may be living there with this type of pay?
    How short is Charleston? Are there many overt-time opportunities?
    Is it fire only or fire and ems?

    Thanks

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    Yea the pay really scares me, it seems that its not so bad once out of recruit school. From what I see on the website, they just do fire, and are just BLS.

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    You're not gonna be able to live downtown alone for that pay, but if you don't mind driving 30 to 45 minutes to work there are plenty of opportunities to live decently around the area, plenty of guys with other local dept's get by on less.Just curious, if they're "just BLS" wouldn't that imply that they run both fire and EMS? EMT is a condition of recruit school, I highly doubt they're doing that for no reason.

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    When he said ems , I was thinking he meant transporting.

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    Fair enough, I have heard rumors for at least a few years that they eventually would like to get into the transport side as well, but those are just rumors so who really knows. Overall it's a great dept, and if you're from Ohio you stand a better than average chance, seems that's where everyone in the fire service down here came from.

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    I would be coming from florida, where you compete with a 1000+ people for a few jobs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dakota21 View Post
    I would be coming from florida, where you compete with a 1000+ people for a few jobs.
    Either way you should be fine, as long as you're not from SC you have a better than average shot in this state.

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    I'm sure none of us are doing this job for the pay. If ya are you're in the wrong profession haha. But that pay seems like an issue. Even after the academy and with the % 5 increases annually it still isn't much. I figured they did something similar to Charlotte. BLS engines that first respond, but private ambulance transports. Typical of that area which is why the pay is low. Which is why I wanna know if they have a rule against two hatting. If you are allowed to work at another fire department, even part time, that will balance out that pay a bit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Carolinafiremedic View Post
    Either way you should be fine, as long as you're not from SC you have a better than average shot in this state.
    Any reason for that?

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    We do not transport here in Charleston and there are no plans or rumors to start. Our Engines do run Ems to provide a driver for Ems or manpower. There are smaller departments in the area that hire part time and may work for them on your days off. Score high on the written test and do well on the interview and you will get the job. Has nothing to do with where you are from.

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    Any idea how many they are hiring and how many usually test?

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    for what its worth my buddy used to work there and said that the pay is very low, and the retirement was so low that they often had retired guys living at the firehouse because they were homeless and couldn't afford to live there.

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    Not sure on how many will take this test and we usually run 2-3 classes per year of about 25 guys. I have seen many retired guys stop by the firehouse for a cup of coffee and talk to the guys but have never seen anyone living at the firehouse haha… Don't believe everything you hear.

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    How are the benefits? Retirement? Looks like a great dept., but because of the low pay and high cost of living, seems like most use it as a stepping stone to bigger and better departments.
    Last edited by ncoliva1200; 08-05-2014 at 07:36 PM.
    “The garbage man doesn’t get excited when he turns the corner and sees trash. You shouldn’t get excited either; you should be expecting fire on every run.” - FDNY Lt. Andrew Fredericks

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    We do pay low at the hiring phase. We do have average retirement. We have a high cost of living compared to our pay, but are paid the highest in the area...something to keep in mind. Many have and will continue to use the department as a stepping stone, as we do have higher turnover than most departments. Having said all of this, if you can plan accordingly and live on our recruit wage, and then budget for a 30k initial salary, then hurry up and make assistant driver for an additional 5% increase, then you can make mid 30's within two years. Additionally, if you are looking for your very first career fire department job, and want to stay here for a full career, then we would probably be a decent choice. If money is your objective then this is not the place. If getting some active experience with a small to midsize urban department is your objective then this is a good place. We also have many surrounding departments where guys come from, an on occasion, go to, and other than one, we all run mutual aid now. Like someone already said, don't believe everything you hear, but I can assure you, having worked for another major city/large department before coming here, and working here under the last 3 chief's, I have experienced every change we have, from how we operate, how we pay, how we run, what we do, where guys live, etc. Good luck and apply if it is where your heart is. One half of our department is not from Charleston, so we have divided opinions, but most new guys coming on now, will probably be here for a career, so overall, Charleston Fire is beginning to turn towards a more stable department. Email me if you have questions. I'm a straight shooter, and am going to be honest, even brutally honest, but I would expect anyone who is serious would want serious answers, not sugar coated to make the department look great for the wrong reasons. We have many great attributes, but we have many growing pains ongoing. Every department has something good and bad, so I am sharing ours...for those who want to know.
    Last edited by FireTiger91; 08-05-2014 at 08:03 PM.
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    Great info, FireTiger91. Thanks! I may shoot you a PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ncoliva1200 View Post
    Great info, FireTiger91. Thanks! I may shoot you a PM.
    No problem!
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    Quote Originally Posted by FireTiger91 View Post
    No problem!
    FireTiger,

    I sent you an email. The PM feature wouldn't work. Hope it finds its way to you. Let me know. Thanks!
    “The garbage man doesn’t get excited when he turns the corner and sees trash. You shouldn’t get excited either; you should be expecting fire on every run.” - FDNY Lt. Andrew Fredericks

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    Thanks for the information firetiger. Looking forward to this process.

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    FireTiger,

    Thanks for the information. Charleston seems like a great place to work and live. I just have a few questions about the department itself, if you wouldn't mind.

    1. What is the staffing on your engine and truck companies? Is it rare to have more than 3 guys on an engine, or is it rare not to have more than 3?

    2. How many runs does the department average a year?

    3. What is the busiest station and which station is the slowest? And how many calls does the busiest and the slowest typically run a year?

    4. What type of EMS calls does the department run? I know some places run everything, some only run echo calls, and a lot run everything in between. Just curious about how Charleston does it.

    5. Speaking of EMS...I happen to love EMS work as much as I do firefighting. Someone else mentioned working part-time elsewhere as a way to augment income. Are their opportunities to work part-time as a paramedic either in or around the City of Charleston?

    6. I read somewhere (I can't remember where at the moment), that Charleston runs rescue equipment on several of its engine and truck companies. What type of response does a pin-in get in Charleston? Is there one heavy rescue that covers the whole city, or do the engine and truck companies that have extrication tools on them handle these incidents on their own?

    Thanks in advance for your input. I have visited Charleston several times and absolutely love the city, but don't know much about the operational side of the fire department.

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    I didn't receive it yet. Send it again to 91witttiger@gmail.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by NCFF2014 View Post
    FireTiger,

    Thanks for the information. Charleston seems like a great place to work and live. I just have a few questions about the department itself, if you wouldn't mind.

    1. What is the staffing on your engine and truck companies? Is it rare to have more than 3 guys on an engine, or is it rare not to have more than 3?

    Always 4, every rig, all of the time!

    2. How many runs does the department average a year?

    15,000 to 20,000 roughly

    3. What is the busiest station and which station is the slowest? And how many calls does the busiest and the slowest typically run a year?

    E15, E8, E6, L4 are our busiest units.

    4. What type of EMS calls does the department run? I know some places run everything, some only run echo calls, and a lot run everything in between. Just curious about how Charleston does it.

    We are BLS but aid on all EMS calls with the county agency.

    5. Speaking of EMS...I happen to love EMS work as much as I do firefighting. Someone else mentioned working part-time elsewhere as a way to augment income. Are their opportunities to work part-time as a paramedic either in or around the City of Charleston?

    Yes, Charleston County EMS

    6. I read somewhere (I can't remember where at the moment), that Charleston runs rescue equipment on several of its engine and truck companies. What type of response does a pin-in get in Charleston? Is there one heavy rescue that covers the whole city, or do the engine and truck companies that have extrication tools on them handle these incidents on their own?

    Our 4 truck companies, several engine co, and mutual aide cover all extrications...assignments vary based on incident.

    Thanks in advance for your input. I have visited Charleston several times and absolutely love the city, but don't know much about the operational side of the fire department.

    Hope the answers help. This last year was transitional with a new dispatch system, mutual aide changes, and response models. But this will help all of you for a general guideline. We get plenty of work, as we have all hazards here. We also have the boat now which is manned by E2/E3 crews.

    Best of Luck!!
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