1. #1
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    Question Firefighter/Paramedic

    This question is for all of the firefighters/paramedics in a paid department. Which do you spend more of your time working as a firefighter or a paramedic? I have heard that alot of times firefighters/paramedic get stuck working as a paramedic, but I wanted to be able to varify this.
    Thanks

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    I work for a large department. All personnel in the department are minimum EMT-B. We also have the FF/Medic concept here.
    We have ALS ambulances and engines. Two medics ride the ambulance and the engines must have a medic on board 24/7. The medics are supposed to ride the medic 1 day and then switch to a ladder or engine on their next work day. Not being a medic, my observation is that most medics ride the ambulances 3/4's of the time for various reasons. The one good thing about being a medic is that their is a 8% pay differential which adds up to thousands of more dollars a year.

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    We have to be medics to take the test. At my station their is a truck, ALS engine and ALS ambulance.
    The engine chases on trouble breathing, unconsious, full arrest, serious trauma, seizure, suicide in progress, unknown medical and other calls that the shift commander thinks is serious enough to get the engine.
    So 5 or 6 of us go on the vast majority of calls. We rotate between the three rigs but even with that we still run a vast majority of EMS.

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    In our Dept Firefighter/Paramedics are firefighters who volunteer to take the extra training to become Paramedics, there are 2 paramedics assigned per shift to a station, so if both are on (i.e. not on annual or sick leave) they take turns on shift on the rescue, one on the pumper
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    We do a 50-50 flip-flop thingy. Half your shifts are on an engine, the other half are on an ambulance (until you have enough seniority to get off the ambulance). My old department did a "2-shifts-on-the-engine/one-shift-on-the-ambulance" rotation. While I enjoy EMS a great deal, it is nice to get a break from it, and focus on fire for a while. I feel that this method keeps burnout down, and skills up.

    I have seen departments where the medics do not rotate, and they are stuck on an ambulance for 6 years. If you want to see some overworked, lazy, burnt-out medics, look at these guys. Any department that doesn't allow its medics to rotate off the ambulance every now and then shouldn't be surprised when the complaints from citizens start rolling in.

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    My departments, like many, run so much more for medical calls than fire, so the focus for FF/P's is more toward the medical needs. In my full time job, I run exclusively on the ambulance but function as a firefighter at any fire-related calls (box alarms, structures, etc).
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    I'll speak for the two large cross trained/dual role departments I have worked for.

    Houston (TX) - If you are a firefighter and a paramedic (as of 2001), you will spend 100% of your assigned shift time on the medic unit. There are the freak incidence of you being on an engine or ladder, but it is really damn unlikely.

    Fairfax County (VA) - There is a spot on every engine for a paramedic. Our medic units run with at the min of one medic officer and one medic Firefighter. Right now we have a newly promoted medic Lieutenant being precepted by an experienced medic Lieutenant, so I am spending all my time on the Engine. I couldn't be happier.

    As for reponsibility on the Engine, it is just the nature of the fire service these days that I do more EMS work than pure supression work.
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    I'm assigned to an Engine and it's one of those deals where some days we make a lot of medical calls and some days we make a lot of fires. My station has an E, T , an ALS Ambulance, and a Squad. Our Squad is staffed by 2 FF's, one from the T and 1 from the E. It is on a rotation. I'm never assigned to the box, but may work on the truck if they have a man off, and we are 1 up on the E. Our squad usually handles most of the med calls, and if a run comes in when they are gone then either the T or E takes it with 3 men onboard. If it is a structure fire, then they can meet up with us there after they have finished the med run. Lately I have been doing more fire work than EMT work. We relly have not been getting a lot of EMS calls, but we have made various types of fires pretty regular.

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    At my station when we have a medic(2 of 3 shifts) they work 12hrs on ambulance, 12 on engine. The other station works 24 on squad 24 on engine.
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    Our fire service and abulance service are separate so even though there are paramedics on our job they are only firefighters like the rest of us (it's nice to have those guys on the trucks though). We are trained to E.P.C. which is first responder with alot more theory and anatomy and physiology. We are all defib. certified, o2therapy certified and airway management certified and all pumpers, aerials, rescues and support vehicles carry defibs.

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    We only have two stations right now. We have 4 or 5 cert EMTs. We only run first responder. When EMS is called out we usually respond with them in the engine, no matter what the call is. We do get canceled quite a bit but it is nice that we respond in case of something really bad.
    Last edited by toldyaso71; 09-21-2003 at 01:50 PM.

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    In my dept. we're all firefighter/paramedics and are in a rotation.
    Drive squad, doc squad, drive engine, engine jumpseat, engine jumpseat, then back to drive squad. The two engine jumpseats will man the backup squad when the frontline squad is on a call, as well as man the rescue truck (with extrication equip). For person down, unconcious, or any thing sounding serious, the engine will chase the squad for extra manpower. If both squads are out the engine will "first respond" and start patient care until a squad from the other district arrives. 75% of our call volume is EMS. When we respond to fires, B.C. is in command car, engine makes quik attack, squad pulls back-up line and does search and rescue, 2nd due engine or ladder catches hydrant and does ventilation.
    Last edited by Hobbitt; 10-20-2003 at 02:12 PM.
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    edit to remove personal info.
    Last edited by FiremedicMike; 03-25-2012 at 09:42 PM.

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    We're a small department - 1 station. we're staffed with three, but will drop to two for Vacation/SL. We provide the ALS ambulance for the county, if we have a medical, two will take the ambulance, and the shift officer will call for OT to back fill the station. If we have a fire all three go on the engine and call for OT to either back fill, or general alarm (everybody invited) depending on severity.

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    I made FireEngineer (driver) in April. At that time they made a policy that all FireEngineer/ Paramedics will ride 2 shifts/month. It is more like 5-6 shifts/month. We have a VERY SERIOUS paramedic shortage in our department/ Georgia as a whole.

    My title would be more suited as
    PARAMEDIC /FireEngineer

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    We have a VERY SERIOUS paramedic shortage in our department/ Georgia as a whole.
    I think it's safe to say that the Paramedic shortage is a nationwide problem. The two departments I have been heavily involved in have both had active 'ALS Recruitment and Retention' committees. As a matter of fact, my prediction is that the new NREMT-I's will become the new ALS provider for Northern Virginia anyway.
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    Central Ohio is SATURATED with ff/emt-p's. We have approx 8-10 fire schools and 3-4 medic schools in this area. Having ff/emt-p here means little to getting a job anymore, other than the fact that most depts int his area require them to get hired, and they still get hundreds of apps for each position.

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    Central Ohio is SATURATED with ff/emt-p's.
    Send them my way! I had two guys from around Steubenburg (?) in my class. Seriously, Fairfax County will give NREMT-Ps top preference in hiring.

    http://www.co.fairfax.va.us/fire/
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    Thumbs down ff/paramedic problEMS

    I work for a large municipal department in the Southeast. Retaining paramedics has been a problem for years. The decision was made a few years ago for the department to go from ALS transport only to total transport. That made a bad situation worse. Now, if you have a paramedic license, you WILL be assigned to what is laughingly referred to as a "rescue unit". Like anywhere else, they are utilized by the public as an alternate means of transportation, a problem that was made worse when our Asst chief of EMS was quoted in the newspaper as saying that "we don't take legal action aginst anyone who can't pay for transport". Regardless of your desired assignment, that's what you do, unless one of the top brass owes you a favor (or you have some dirt on him). When I hired on, I didn't see an engine for the first 3 months in the field. The mentality withing my department is that paramedics are less of a firefighter thatn the non-medics. Unless you have a sympathetic battalion chief, ff/medics usually get held back from going into a fire and working " in case someone gets hurt" or "to set up rehab". One of my few shifts on the quint, i had another ff come up to me and say "Aren't you a little out of your element" I went throught the same damn training as the rest, and then some more. The department makes you sign a statement that you will maintain all of you certifications. That means I get fired if I drop or downgrade my license. The prevailing attitude seems to be that no-one in the department wants to do ems. As BLS first responders, the engine companies get away with obtaining vital signs and then going back to bed while the unit transports, waits on a bed, competes paperwork, and returns to territory only to do it all again. For the short time that I was "assigned" to an engine company, I spent maybe 10% of the time working in my actual assigned position, because when the guys assigned to the units in my battalion found out the I was on the engine that day, they would get the chief to let them burn vacation, forcing me to relocate to their station and take their place on the unit. Paramedics get 10% premium pay (5% education and 5% assignment), which equates, for me, to about 90 dollars a check. I would rather be a poor firefighter than a "rich" medic. For someone who, at age 3, had visions of someday riding backwards on the engine and putting out fires, this just plain sucks. THe situation has gotten so dire that now station captains with a medic licens are spending more time on a unit than an engine.
    I wonder if any of you guys are in a similar situation? Would love to hear your thoughts. Thanks for letting me vent. P.S.- This post was not intended to bash EMS or those who love to do it; I apprecitate and respect those people very much.

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