1. #1
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    Question STL to VA relocation ?

    I am considering relocating to FL, NC, SC, VA, of GA. I currently live in the St. Louis metro area and have been employed for 18 years as a paid Firefighter/EMT. I am hoping for info on pay, benefits, morale and potential future hirings. I am also intersted in public schools, cost of real estate, climate and crime. I have spent hours researching FD and city/state websites and some of the cities or metro areas that seem appealing are Charlotte, Savannah, Raliegh, Durham, Virginia City, and Richmond. I am interested in many Florida areas but it seems impossible to get hired with out their state certifications. Any and all info would be appreciated. If we move based on your info I'll buy you a beer or 10. Thanks

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    As far as VA is concerned, do you want to do a lot of firefighting or do you want to do a lot of EMS? Certain areas see more fire and vice versa with EMS.

    Some of the more northern departments pay more than the southern ones. The cost of living gets cheaper the further south you go, but due to that, the yearly pay decreases too. There are some excellent public schools in the area and some that aren't so good. Around my parts, the housing market isn't too bad, it's the land that will cost you an arm and a leg. Crime varies from city to city.

    Was Richmond the only city you were looking at here?
    Last edited by scvfd412; 06-29-2006 at 07:37 PM.
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    I agree, is Richmond the only department you've considered in Virginia? There are a ton of career departments in the Commonwealth.

    When people from out-of-state think of Richmond, they tend to think about the general Richmond area. In fact, the City of Richmond is surrounded by Henrico County and Chesterfield County. Each of these departments employ over 400 people (Henrico is almost 500 FF's strong) and have 20 or more stations. Richmond City is about 400 people, also with 20 stations.

    There are a lot of departments that see a lot of fire down in the Tidewater area. Norfolk and Portsmouth have a lot of fire load, as does Virginia Beach. VB is a huge city, and runs a lot of everything. The cities of Newport News, Hampton, and Chesapeake are also in that area.

    When you to to the Northern Virginia area, you can certainly expect a much higher cost of living. Fairfax, Arlington, and Alexandria are the "core" departments up there, but you certainly can't overlook Loudoun and Prince William counties either.

    This is a great time to get hired as a firefighter in Virginia. I'm a recruit school instructor for one of the above mentioned departments, so maybe I can help guide you as needed.

    Let us know what you need!

    EDIT: I will provide you with some specifics on the Richmond area if you'd like ... I just don't want to bore you with that stuff if it's not really your cup of tea (or mug of beer!)
    Last edited by BoxAlarm187; 06-29-2006 at 09:48 PM.

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    True, the cost of living in Northern Virginia is fairly high, but a vast majority of firefighters who work in Northern Virginia, do not live in Northern Virginia.

    I'm kind partial to Fairfax County...plus $46,125 for a starting Firefighter/EMT makes an hour commute a little easier to handle.
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    You make an excellent point, Kobersteen. I remember running into some fellas once (at 430 maybe?) that lived in Pennsylvania.

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    Or you could look at DC Fire. They work one day on, four days off. With a schedule like that, you could live in an area with a lower cost of living.

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    First of all thanks for some good info. I like that DC schedule! As far as which Districts I've looked at, I have looked at most of what BoxAlarm mentioned. There seems to be many large county departments that are growing. My loyalties heavily favor firefighting, but I do not neglect the EMS side as I understand it's a large part of the job anymore. But, my morale is highest when the fireload and good training are high. In order for us to make this move, I must secure a job with a comparable salary to where I am now, the public schools have to be good, and housing has to be affordable. I currenetly live in a 2400+ sq ft 4 bedroom 2.5 bath house so that is what we would be interested in. I understand starting pay is lower, but (my wife says) I would need to earn around $60 K/YR. We would prefer to live within 30-40 miles of a large city as my wifes photography business would require a large (wealthy market. How are the winters and beaches there? Fitness and water sports are very important to me. I have some vacation coming up in late Aug. and if I can swing it I may drive over. So if there are any places I can check out that may fit my needs please pass them along.

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    I recently moved to NC, but lived in Richmond,VA most of my life. I can tell you that the Richmond area is a nice place. Two hours from the beach, two hours from the mountians. Richmond Fire is a good department. They see a lot of fire. And, they don't currently do EMS. Nearby Henrico County is an outstanding department that does fire and EMS. Henrico likes to hire ALS providers, but I don't think it's a requirement. Also, there are Chesterfield and Hanover FD's which are close-by. You might want to look into those, too. I know some of this info has been mentioned already, but I just wanted to reiterate what a good place central Va is.
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    Red face My Humble Biased Opinion

    60K will be difficuly anywhere. Northern VA is your best shot, but cost of living is very high, so don't live there.

    I am partial to Hanover & Richmond. I'm a volunteer at the first and paid in the latter. The City sees a lot of fire and are aggressive interior. They also run EMS first response, but are separate from the ambulance service. Crime rate there is high (ranked 5th in a national crime survey last year). Along with crime, however, comes the types of neighborhoods and people that tend to burn stuff. It can get very crazy, but that's the fun part. If that is your thing, come on aboard, but I would (and do) live outside the City. Money is getting better. Business in the City is booming also for your wife's ambitions.

    Hanover's system is combination, but steadily growing paid. More town & country. The counties srrounding the City seem to have schools ad such also.

    If you want further insider info. on either of these locations and internal workings, let me know. Good luck!!!

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    Thanks alot for the info, Richmond looks like a good place. If I can make the trip this later this summer, I may ask again about specific places to check out. Be safe and enjoy the Summer!

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    Thumbs up

    Same to you.

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    OSD122, DC is actually one on, three off. They are on a four platoon schedule. As for NOVA, I know of a guy who works in Arlington who is driving from Pittsburgh, which is four hours away. It can be done...

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    Don't forget the Roanoke Valley. I know we are the stepchildren of Virginia, ha ha ha. Anyways you are not going to find 60k in the VA. As a matter of fact there probably aren't but a few departments in the States that hire recruits at that amount. Some departments, including mine have claimed that they will adjust pay for experience. I have not seen it happen but I have heard our Acting Chief say it. We start out at $30,500 a year and our cost of living is lower than all the areas mentioned above. We have a great department. Check us out at www.roanokefire.com or www.local1132.org . Let me know if you have any other questions.

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    .........................
    Last edited by scote3232; 09-04-2006 at 12:45 PM.

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    Don't forget to check out Virginia Beach as well. They treat the guys there pretty well from what I hear.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scote3232
    Richmond is a good dept, but from what I hear, they have some FF's leaving to go to the surrounding counties....Henrico, Chesterfield, and even Hanover.
    Are you kidding me? Who have you been talking to? I see very little turn-over in Richmond except for retirement. A cross-over to Henrico is almost unheard of. And Chesterfield....NEVER!!! Hanover may be getting some retirees, but that's it. Now Hanover FF's. are going to Henrico left and right. That's where the $$ is for Paramedics.

    Richmond FD is strong. And whoever you're getting your info. from needs to check somewhere other than the rumor mill. No disrespect, just FYI.

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    Last edited by TFW1TFW1; 08-07-2006 at 01:38 PM.

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    I can only remember one person leaving Richmond to go to Henrico in the past eight years (and that individual is no longer with Henrico either). As TFW said, both Henrico and Richmond share a very low turnover rate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187
    I can only remember one person leaving Richmond to go to Henrico in the past eight years (and that individual is no longer with Henrico either). As TFW said, both Henrico and Richmond share a very low turnover rate.
    I stand corrected...I guess that is what I get when I talk to someone from Hanover

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    Quote Originally Posted by scote3232
    I stand corrected...I guess that is what I get when I talk to someone from Hanover
    What's that supposed to mean? Something against Hanover boys? I'm confused.

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    Default Roanoke Rapids, NC 27870

    I live in Roanoke Rapids, NC.
    My wife and I moved there because of the schools. The RR School distric was chosen by the state to develope a "new" model for teaching. One that teached children to learn and not just to "pass tests". What does that say for the School System.

    As for the housing. It is very reasonable.
    The area has 2 lakes, Lake Gaston and Roanoke Rapids Lake. You are also not to far from Kerr Lake. The area is now in a growth stage, there is a lot of new industry comming in, the area almost died when the textile mills closed. Things like Carolina Crossroads (www.carolinacrossroads.com, kind of like Dollywood, theam park) an aquarium, supposed to be getting a water park, a new Advance Vehicle Reasearch Facility (Lotus and others involved).

    Yet it is still considered a small town.

    The fire dept is also growing, and there are other paid departments within 30 to 50 miles.

    The cost of living should be a little less than where you are currently at.

    Regatds,
    Randy Vann

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    Quote Originally Posted by TFW1TFW1
    What's that supposed to mean? Something against Hanover boys? I'm confused.

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    This is the third or fourth time that I've had misinformation from several from hanover...that's what the comment meant.

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    Must be "east-enders." They're so messed up on that side of the County.

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