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  1. #26
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    So just how badly does the county need ALS candidates? I know you've said that it's a "business need". What's the story behind this need...is it that medics are dropping their certs, retirement, addt'l staffing requirements, push from the board of superv., etc.?

  2. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by tucker9
    So just how badly does the county need ALS candidates?
    There is an ALS shortage all over the US, with spotty exceptions. The DC area just doesn't happen to be one of those areas with an influx of ALS personnel.


    ...is it that medics are dropping their certs, retirement, addt'l staffing requirements, push from the board of superv., etc.?
    Years of neglect, for the most part. Now Fairfax County is starting pre-trained ALS personnel at a higher pay step, paying personnel who occupy minimum ALS spots between $2-$3 more an hour and additional points on promotional exams. Plus, in most houses, the medic unit runs the most... and the additional CME and study time to be proficient. Sometimes it's alot of work being a medic.

    If you ask me, ALS personnel might just be the answer to NFPA 1710 safe staffing...
    Member IACOJ - Building crust and full of lust...

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  3. #28
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    What is NFPA 1710 safe staffing? How does it affect the county?

  4. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by tucker9
    What is NFPA 1710 safe staffing? How does it affect the county?
    1) Do a Google search for NFPA 1710, there are half a dozen articles written about this standard and it's affect on career fire departments.

    2) Virginia will not be affected by NFPA 1710, since the commonwealth would never adopt the standard. It does provide some ammunition to support the long-running effort to increase the minimum staffing on FxCo ladder trucks from 3 to 4.

    3) Another factor with the FxCo medic need is that about 30% of the current ALS-qualified workforce can retire at any time.

    Some of those old-school aging boomers will eventually have to retire because they entered the DROP plan a couple of years ago. The DROP plan is a way for the employee to create a nest-egg in the last years of municipal employment.

    What is important to YOU is that many of them are reaching the limit of their allowable time in the DROP program - so they will be compelled to complete their agreement with the county and retire at the end of their DROP period. The first group should be approaching their deadline this summer.

    4) Finally, the need for additional paramedic/firefighters is that the department is upgrading some BLS ambulances to ALS over the next couple of budget cycles. Medic 438 (West Centerville) is due this month.
    Last edited by MikeWard; 02-25-2006 at 12:40 PM.

  5. #30
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    Thank God you logged on Mike, I was getting dangerously close to the limit of my knowledge!

    Member IACOJ - Building crust and full of lust...

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  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kobersteen
    Thank God you logged on Mike, I was getting dangerously close to the limit of my knowledge!

    You know I got your back!

    http://home.gwu.edu/~mikeward/

  7. #32
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    well, i got my letter today, my written exam date is april 15th. i imagine that everyone who applys gets an exam, but im still excited. one step closer to going career. i know im not ALS, but hopefully, the fact that ive already graduated a fire academy will help.? gotta start making plans to find somewhere to stay up there, and wether to drive or fly.

  8. #33
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    Talking Keep Trying!

    I am not an EMT-P, I have been a volunteer in a neighboring jurisdiction for about 5 years now, and I was just hired for the 118th recruit class. I can't wait to get started!!!! There are a lot of recruit classes coming up, and it sounds like they will be hiring pretty continuously for the near future. Good luck to all.

  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by thelife
    I am not an EMT-P, I have been a volunteer in a neighboring jurisdiction for about 5 years now, and I was just hired for the 118th recruit class.
    Congradulations!

    If I may ask, how long did it take you from application to finding out that you were placed in a rookie school?

    Seeya on the other side!
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  10. #35
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    Default Placement as a rookie

    Kobersteen,

    If you get hired by Fairfax County and complete recruit school how do they place you in a fire House. Do you float from fire house to fire house your first year or do they assign you a fire house to work out of? Do you get to put in prefrences for places you would like to work or is it just where ever they see fit to put you?

    Thanks for the info.
    "Far better it is to dare mighty things than to take rank with the poor timid spirits, who know neither victory nor defeat." FDR

  11. #36
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    Kobersteen,

    I got my letter of completion for the process a little over a year ago, and its been approx. 2 years since I applied. The reason it took so long for me to go from application to letter of completion was my vision, I had to have LASIK, which, by the way, is the greatest thing since sliced bread (I now have 20/20 vision). Thanks for the info, it is a huge help to those in the applications process/looking to apply.

  12. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by ant195
    If you get hired by Fairfax County and complete recruit school how do they place you in a fire House.
    Tall ones to truck companies, strong ones to heavy rescue units, smart ones that can type to houses with battalion chiefs, and everyone else on an ambulance!

    [Just kidding]

    You are assigned to a fire station based on where the vacancies exist at the time you graduate. Because you have to complete a documented probationary period, you will generally NOT be assigned to a slow outpost like Gunston, Clifton or Great Falls. During your probation time you will be assigned to tours on aerials, ems transport units, rescue companies and engines.

    ALS certified rookies will also be required to complete their field internship, generally that will take precedence over their fire probation. Your field officer is responsible to assure that you complete the required experiences, tasks and competencies at the three, six and nine month mark.

    Your battalion management team (battalion chief and ems supervisor) will review your progress with your field supervisor. The completion of your probation period as a firefighter is 12 months AFTER you have graduated from recruit school.

    While finishing recruit school you will be asked to list your three fire station preferences, but there is no guarantee. Not even for the recruit that finishes the class ranked #1.

    Mike
    38th Recruit School
    (notice that thelife will be in the 118th)
    Last edited by MikeWard; 02-26-2006 at 02:37 PM.

  13. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by thelife
    I am not an EMT-P, I have been a volunteer in a neighboring jurisdiction for about 5 years now, and I was just hired for the 118th recruit class. I can't wait to get started!!!! There are a lot of recruit classes coming up, and it sounds like they will be hiring pretty continuously for the near future. Good luck to all.
    Congratulations on making it into the 118th! I hope to write in with the same news in the next 12-16 months! Keep us posted on how the academy is!

  14. #39
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    Talking "We had one fire helmet for the entire crew, back in the day!" - Ward

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeWard
    Mike
    38th Recruit School
    (notice that thelife will be in the 118th)
    Right... like anyone who knows you needs to be reminded that your probation was over when you were able to feed the horses and clean their stables by yourself.


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    Default Thanks

    Thanks for the info MikeWard and Kobersteen. Do either of you guys know the average time from testing to placement of recruits in the process? I have read the posts and people say 6 some say 9 months some took a year or more?
    I am not ALS so I am not a priority I know so I was just wondering the time frame.

    Thanks
    "Far better it is to dare mighty things than to take rank with the poor timid spirits, who know neither victory nor defeat." FDR

  16. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kobersteen
    Right... like anyone who knows you needs to be reminded that your probation was over when you were able to feed the horses and clean their stables by yourself.
    They took that skill sheet out of the probie manual

    ant: It varies - 6 months to two years. I told the community college students to plan on one year.

    Recruitment should be able to give you an idea. The fire department is not the one deciding how many to hire, that decision comes from the county executive.
    Last edited by MikeWard; 02-27-2006 at 11:03 AM.

  17. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeWard
    1)What is important to YOU is that many of them are reaching the limit of their allowable time in the DROP program - so they will be compelled to complete their agreement with the county and retire at the end of their DROP period. The first group should be approaching their deadline this summer.

    4) Finally, the need for additional paramedic/firefighters is that the department is upgrading some BLS ambulances to ALS over the next couple of budget cycles. Medic 438 (West Centerville) is due this month.
    Can't tell you Mike (and Kobersteen) how valuable your input is. Thanks for taking the time to help us and give such useful and SPECIFIC information from "the other side"! It really helps us plan our approach and get our ducks in a row.

    Question... in FX how do they assign FF ALS Medics to the apparatus? Do new medics typically work the ambulance or the engine or do they move them there later on according to seniority (I've read so many different things)? What about suppression...on a structure fire scene do they ever send medics into buildings, what about MVAs? I guess what I'm getting at is whether or not FF ALS medics ever work suppression? If not, why in FX do they want them trained for both then - have the ever really been used to assist in suppression at the scene??

  18. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by tucker9
    in FX how do they assign FF ALS Medics to the apparatus? Do new medics typically work the ambulance or the engine or do they move them there later on according to seniority (I've read so many different things)? What about suppression...on a structure fire scene do they ever send medics into buildings, what about MVAs? I guess what I'm getting at is whether or not FF ALS medics ever work suppression?
    Since 1949 everyone starts as a firefighter. The GOAL is to move from a 20+ year old dual track rank structure (EMS and Fire) to a unified structure where everyone is competent as a structural firefighter and performs at the appropriate ems provider level (EMT or medic.) The PROCESS remains long and painful.

    I am sure that, even after your EMS Captain ride-a-long, the assignment of ALS firefighters remains confusing. Only Los Angeles city has a more complex system.

    Let's look at a hypothetical situation. Engine and Medic 444, A shift. There will be three ALS provider positions assigned to A shift, at least one will be an officer. The concept is that the three providers will take turns riding as the designated paramedic on Engine 444 or staffing Medic 444.

    If you are on the medic unit you will have all of your personal protective clothing and access to self-contained breathing apparatus. You *MAY* be assigned a fire suppression role, like Medic 409 was in evacuating residents from a fast moving apartment fire on Arlington Drive. That included operating a hand line.

    If you are on the engine company, you are part of a four person fire suppression team, expected to fully participate in firefighting activities. Since 80% of the engine runs are ems first responder calls ...

    Let's talk for a second about the bosses. About half of the command officers at the rank of battalion chief through fire chief spent time as an ALS provider, including the fire chief.

    The fire chief worked as an ALS/firefighter at Bailey's CrossRoads before getting promoted as a company officer at Penn Daw. Shortly after his arrival at Penn Daw he was the first arriving officer at a garden apartment explosion and collapse in Hybla Valley.
    Last edited by MikeWard; 02-27-2006 at 11:55 AM.

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    Kobersteen and Mikeward,

    Could you please e-mail me at tspecialtiesinc@comcast.net I am a career Firefighter/Paramedic here in the midwest and would really love to move to the east coast and work for a larger city or county dept. All of your help here has been great but I still have many questions, I have looked in to Fairfax and Henrico counties as well as D.C. and a few larger cities in the state of Virginia.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks

  20. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by tucker9
    ...in FX how do they assign FF ALS Medics to the apparatus? Do new medics typically work the ambulance or the engine or do they move them there later on according to seniority (I've read so many different things)?
    One thing that Mike didn't mention, that is unique in Fairfax County, is the fact that, until something drastically changes, you will not be riding in charge of a medic unit until you promote to at least Lieutenant.

    Prior to us getting an intern, I rode or drove the engine every other tour and drove the medic unit on the other tour.

    Much depends on if the supression officer is ALS or not. If they are, and you have a medic unit in the house, chances are you will be on the medic unit every day. If you do not have a medic unit in the house, you will be detailed every day. Much depends on the staffing of the station.
    Last edited by Kobersteen; 02-27-2006 at 06:05 PM. Reason: Correcting for my fat fingers...
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  21. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by MNTruckee
    Could you please e-mail me. I am a career Firefighter/Paramedic here in the midwest and would really love to move to the east coast and work for a larger city or county dept.
    Your better bet would be to start with Recruitment

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

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kobersteen
    One thing that Mike didn't mention, that is unique in Fairfax County, is the fact that, until something drastically changes, you will not be riding in charge of a medic unit until you promote to at least Lieutenant.
    Does that mean that the rookie gets to drive/chaueffer the officer? That's a rookies dream come true!


    Quote Originally Posted by Kobersteen
    Prior to us getting an intern, I rode or drove the engine every other tour and drove the medic unit on the other tour.
    Intern? Is that a medic in training? What happened when the intern showed up...what changed?

  23. #48
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    Question Medic training programs in the area...

    MikeWard... what's your opinion on the difference between training at NVCC med.campus and this option... http://www.aecare911.org/ ? aecare is less than half the cost and seems to be a faster program with less "academic red tape" and hoops to jump through. Not sure if the quality of training is good enough though. I do have a BS from GMU already (unrelated fire/medical...organiz.psych) so I'm not sure if going the "college" route would have additional benefits for me.

    With that said however, I'm trying to get hired by FX county and I know that nvcc does most if not all of FX's medic training. Would that make a difference to the recruitment dept. or are they simply looking for the certification?

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    Default Fairfax Employment

    I have a question. Does FX have an age limit at which candidates are not considered a priority for employment? I am 41, I have applied and will be taking the written exam 4/15/2006. I have experience as a paid FF in NC for the past 14 years but I am pretty much career frozen here. At my age this may be the last chance that I will have to be a member of a large department. Also, in your own personal opinion, is it looked on negatively that someone has extended experience beyond that of the entry-level firefighter? I do not expect, nor do I deserve, any special consideration and I am willing to return to rookie academy and to begin again at the entry level position.

  25. #50
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    Medic training:
    The goal for employment is that the candidate has a valid EMT-Paramedic or EMT-Intermediate certification. Both NVCC and Associates in Emergency Care are CoAEMSP and Virginia OEMS accredited.

    Upper age limit:
    None. fdronald will not be the oldest recruit, since we have had 50-somethings attend recruit school.

    Starting over
    There was a west coast fire captain from a large department that came east with his wife to take care of ailing parents. His wife had no problem getting an equivalent job as a critical care nurse. He had to start over TWICE, first at a smaller department while waiting to get hired by Fairfax.

    Rookie driving the medic officer-in-charge:
    It could be a good or bad dream, depending on the officer.

    On any given day, about 30% of the company officers are not in their home station (filling vacancies, meeting minimum staffing or filling on for folks on leave), so it could be the confused driving the lost.

    When the paramedic intern arrives:
    The paramedic intern is a student completing the required skills/experience needed before taking the final certification exam. The intern is riding the medic unit as part of the medic crew.
    Last edited by MikeWard; 02-28-2006 at 02:32 PM.

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