1. #1
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    Default Some more Fla. reloc. ??'s

    Hello all. I am a career FF(SGT.)/Paramedic in KY and interested in moving to FL within the year. I too like the Tampa/St. Pete/Clearwater and surrounding areas and have read up on the FL Fire College test challenging and all. First question, I am currently a smokeless tobacco user and have seen that most/all FL FD's "require" you to be tobacco free for a year prior to getting hired...how strict are they on this and how do they find out if you have been? Do they polygraph on this issue? Secondly, how hard are jobs to acquire in this area (once you have satisfied FL FF/EMT-P requirements)? Finally, what are retirement benefits (in KY it's 20 years, and you get 50% of your highest three year average). Thanks in advance!

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    Where do I start.......

    My department does not require you to be tobacco free (City of Brooksville) www.brooksvillefire.com We are in Hernando County about 45 miles NW of Tampa.

    We will probably be testing again in Sept/October. However, we will not consider hiring you if you do not have Fla Minimum Standards and Florida EMT. That is true with most places.

    Not sure what they ask on polygraph. The smokless thing is something to help get around workmans comp trying to exclude you from a claim despite the "assumption clause" in the Heart Lung Bill. We all know the politicians (some of them) are trying to get that clause out.

    Retirement varies with department. Not sure what the state is because we have a private plan. You vest in 10 years and can retire at 20 with a 3.0 multiplier I believe and if you stay 25 the multiplier increases. Also...just like the state, we have the drop.

    Your most difficult thing will be to get your Florida Fire Certs. I know what it says on the site, but it is not that easy. They have gotten better since a lady from the PRO Board and Maryland Fire and REscue Institute started working there but they have a long way to go.

    In my case when I came here with Pro Board Certs in 2000 that include Officer III, Instructor II, Inspector II and others as well as 19 years in the fire Service (career and volunteer, they told me i was not qualified to take the firefighter II test. I perservered and eventually won. It was much easier to get credit for my officer classes and over time I managed to get my Florida certs. They will not accept the Pro Board Certs even though they issue them. In preparation for coming here get all your training records, certificates and include course descriptions and syllabuses as well as the hours for each subject. In order to be able to test, you must be able to show them you can match their subject matter hour for hour. The contact is at the Florida State Fire College is Susan Schell. She will not "give" you anything, but she will help you and walk you through the process, providing advise on the way. She is a very well educated and thorough person and her addition there is a great asset.

    There seems to be a lot of jobs and if you are ALS (Paramedic) with fire certs you have your own ticket in most cases. My department is in the process of transitioning to ALS Engines within 2 yrs.
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    Thanks Captstanm1 for the quick reply. I am first going to work on obtaining my Paramedic Cert. for Florida. From what I understand from visiting the FL DOH website, reciprocity is offered if you are a NREMT-P and fill out the appropriate paperwork. I am planning on kicking the tobacco habit soon, but hope it doesn't limit me to applying to most places until July/August of next year. I would ideally like to work for an EMS service to at least have a job, and attend a Fire College if I am not able to challenge the test. As far as retirement goes, I'm 32 and need to get moving so I'm not 60 before I'm eligible to retire.

    Quote Originally Posted by captstanm1
    Where do I start.......

    My department does not require you to be tobacco free (City of Brooksville) www.brooksvillefire.com We are in Hernando County about 45 miles NW of Tampa.

    We will probably be testing again in Sept/October. However, we will not consider hiring you if you do not have Fla Minimum Standards and Florida EMT. That is true with most places.

    Not sure what they ask on polygraph. The smokless thing is something to help get around workmans comp trying to exclude you from a claim despite the "assumption clause" in the Heart Lung Bill. We all know the politicians (some of them) are trying to get that clause out.

    Retirement varies with department. Not sure what the state is because we have a private plan. You vest in 10 years and can retire at 20 with a 3.0 multiplier I believe and if you stay 25 the multiplier increases. Also...just like the state, we have the drop.

    Your most difficult thing will be to get your Florida Fire Certs. I know what it says on the site, but it is not that easy. They have gotten better since a lady from the PRO Board and Maryland Fire and REscue Institute started working there but they have a long way to go.

    In my case when I came here with Pro Board Certs in 2000 that include Officer III, Instructor II, Inspector II and others as well as 19 years in the fire Service (career and volunteer, they told me i was not qualified to take the firefighter II test. I perservered and eventually won. It was much easier to get credit for my officer classes and over time I managed to get my Florida certs. They will not accept the Pro Board Certs even though they issue them. In preparation for coming here get all your training records, certificates and include course descriptions and syllabuses as well as the hours for each subject. In order to be able to test, you must be able to show them you can match their subject matter hour for hour. The contact is at the Florida State Fire College is Susan Schell. She will not "give" you anything, but she will help you and walk you through the process, providing advise on the way. She is a very well educated and thorough person and her addition there is a great asset.

    There seems to be a lot of jobs and if you are ALS (Paramedic) with fire certs you have your own ticket in most cases. My department is in the process of transitioning to ALS Engines within 2 yrs.

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    I just relocated from CT. God luck trying to get Florida to take your Fire certs, I just got done redoing the academy a couple months ago. Southwest Florida is fairly easy to get hired, if you have your medic and ff. For the most part, pick were you want to work, and wait for a test. Not guranteed, but good chance. I had a department pick me up as a medic, and put me through the fire school while getting a paycheck. Some departments will, some wont. One that will that you can look into is Lehigh Acres near Fort Myers. Hiring medics like crazy, pay nothing for insurance, 55k a year as cleared medic to start, florida retirement system 75% at 25 years or do whats called DROP, work extra 5 years and walk away with a chec for a couple 100k. Shop around for pay scale to though. From county to county can make a true difference. And with the fire academy, watch out if you do any tobacco because if you get caught, your done.

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    Dont beleive what the website says about nationaly registry....you still have to pass their test with an 80% in order for the state to issue you a Paramedic card....I came down here as a Nationally Registered Ohio certified Paramedic with 5 years expierence and was told basically that it meant nothing other than meeting the "education requirement"..I have struggled with that damn test ever since....Oh and you only get 6 tries no matter what the statutes say. The best advise I can give you for studying is to get this book......

    Brady EmT-Paramedic review manual third edition.... it is a yellow and orange/red covered book with cd...it will help you, I have been told that it is the book that St. Pete College uses in their medic classes to prepare for the tests......Good Luck....hopefully I'll see ya working down here one day!!!
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    Thanks for the replies guys. I have heard, and believe that it's pretty hard to challenge the FL FF requirements test, and pretty much am resigned to going to one of the fire colleges. Firedan, did you ever pass your FL medic test? The thing that worries me the most is that I currently use "snuff" and I wonder if a department will bring it up in a polygraph as to whether or not I have used within a year prior to hiring? How long does it take at the Fire Colleges to get the firefighter certification? My girlfriend (soon to be fiance) has about 6 months left before finishing her Masters and in that time I hope to have my FL Paramedic certification so that I can start working as soon as I get down there, although it would be nice to have a dept. pick me up as a medic like medic563 did, contingent upon completing the academy.

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    Just a quick comment about the tobacco use, although I am not a FL FF/Medic, nor am I in the process of moving, I might be able to offer some insite about the tobacco dilemma. When I had a physical/drug test done for a Life Insurance Policy they did some lab (blood/urine) work. When I got the results it had a break-down of everything they tested for. One of which, was Nicotine. It showed the "normal amounts" and then my amounts when tested. I'm not familiar with the testing procedures in FL as to how they determine if you've used tobacco, but I know in my lab test they asked if I had used any tobacco products within the last 12 months. I hadn't used dip in probably 3-4+ weeks and it showed up at .8, with "normal range" being 0.0-0.5 . Again, don't quote me on any of these testing procedures, but this is what I've experienced with a test that measured Nicotine. Maybe some of the FL guys can verify how (if any) one is tested for Nicotine.
    Do it because you love it, not because you love being seen doing it.

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    I know that we do not test nor do we ask about tobacco. Mwoody, if you can get your Florida Medic and challenge the state FFI test we would most likely hire you if you passed our entrance test. We are heading to ALS Engine status and the goal is in the next two years. Have no medics now, but are budgeting to send some next year. If you can match the state FFII curriculum in terms of subject matter and hours, and can document to the lady I mentioned, she will accept your information. The burden of proof is on you. If you have your national pro board cert, she will give you a harder look.

    We do not pay like Lehigh and Fort Myers, but we just got raises that brought us up into the 50th percentile for our positions...so we are not the highest or the lowest and we are now paying higher than the County Fire Department, which to my knowledge is the first time in history. I think starting is around $28K and then up to right at $33K after off probation.... We do not have a medic salary in there yet, but I would imagine that it will match the driver engineer (ff + 8% + medic incentive). Of course you can also get money to be on the Haz Mat Team and extra money for a degree from the state. The salary's mentioned are base and do not include FLSA pay, Holidays or Overtime.
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    Captstanm1, what type of shifts do you guys work? 24/48? I plan to start working on getting the required hours documented to send in to the state (FL). I have a bachelor's degree in Marketing from the University of KY and also plan to obtain my associates in Fire Science very soon, it's going backwards kind of, but I figure it won't hurt to have it.

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    24/48, no kelly day, but do receive FLSA Pay every 3rd pay check.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mwoody
    Thanks for the replies guys. I have heard, and believe that it's pretty hard to challenge the FL FF requirements test, and pretty much am resigned to going to one of the fire colleges. Firedan, did you ever pass your FL medic test? The thing that worries me the most is that I currently use "snuff" and I wonder if a department will bring it up in a polygraph as to whether or not I have used within a year prior to hiring? How long does it take at the Fire Colleges to get the firefighter certification? My girlfriend (soon to be fiance) has about 6 months left before finishing her Masters and in that time I hope to have my FL Paramedic certification so that I can start working as soon as I get down there, although it would be nice to have a dept. pick me up as a medic like medic563 did, contingent upon completing the academy.
    WARNING. Because of your tobacco use, even if your able to get into any of the Fla fire standards classes, the state WILL NOT issue you a certification. You MUST be tobacco free for one year prior to recieving a certification. THIS IS A STATE LAW.

    They do not test you, they have you sign an afidavit stating that you are tobacco free. If they fine out you were untrue on your afidavit, they will pull your cert. All the FDs I know of require a valid cert for a paid position. I also want to say its a criminal charge as well, though Im not for sure or the type (felony, miss).

    CaptStan's FD is the first Ive heard of that does not have the tobacco free requirement. Not sure how they can do that, being its state law and all. But all FDs in the St.Pete/Clearwater area have it.
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    Dave,

    I am not sure how they do it either. We require valid certificates from the Florida State Fire College and the Fire Chief has the authority to recognize additional National (Pro Board) certs for certain positions if he deems it appropriate. I guess the city does not say you have to be tobacco free because they require the certificate and they verify them. To my knowledge it (state ordinance pertaining to Florida Fire Certs) just requires you to be tobacco free "a year prior" and there is no clause about continued abstinence. Now if you ask me if I am in favor of allowing it after they come to work......NO....I am not...but then that would take the thread off base and be a whole new subject.
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    Quote Originally Posted by captstanm1
    Dave,

    I am not sure how they do it either. We require valid certificates from the Florida State Fire College and the Fire Chief has the authority to recognize additional National (Pro Board) certs for certain positions if he deems it appropriate. I guess the city does not say you have to be tobacco free because they require the certificate and they verify them. To my knowledge it (state ordinance pertaining to Florida Fire Certs) just requires you to be tobacco free "a year prior" and there is no clause about continued abstinence. Now if you ask me if I am in favor of allowing it after they come to work......NO....I am not...but then that would take the thread off base and be a whole new subject.
    It may be the way all these departments "read" the statute (Im sure thats the case with us), which is why they all have the policies requiring non-use throughout employement. Its always been my understanding that continued abstinence is part of the satute.

    Of course, Ive been wrong before.
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    http://www.fsfa.com/jobsopen.html


    check this site out

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    There is a pretty decent shortage of firefighter/paramedics in the State of Florida.

    www.fsfa.com has a pretty decent job posting board.


    I just finished a Hazmat class put on by Tampa Fire and Hillsborough County Fire. HCFR planned on hiring 40 by the end of the year. They are predicting unbelievable hiring needs over the next 4-5 years just to keep up with expansion and retirements. There was a story on firehouse home page talking about a department on the other coast that is running 16 short.


    My understanding is the no Tobacco use is tied into the FFers Heart and Lung bill. I have never seen it employed in any other way than the honor system. I know several individuals that discretely violate it. I also know of a LT. that got demoted over it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by closetkd
    There is a pretty decent shortage of firefighter/paramedics in the State of Florida.

    www.fsfa.com has a pretty decent job posting board.


    I just finished a Hazmat class put on by Tampa Fire and Hillsborough County Fire. HCFR planned on hiring 40 by the end of the year. They are predicting unbelievable hiring needs over the next 4-5 years just to keep up with expansion and retirements. There was a story on firehouse home page talking about a department on the other coast that is running 16 short.


    My understanding is the no Tobacco use is tied into the FFers Heart and Lung bill. I have never seen it employed in any other way than the honor system. I know several individuals that discretely violate it. I also know of a LT. that got demoted over it.
    Yes, there is a huge shortage, more so for paramedics. I know a bunch of departments that are hireing medics and putting them through fire school. This was un-heard of around my area untill now. But they have no choice.

    There was a big hire in 1980-81 when EMS came in and now thoese people are starting to retire. My 40 member department has lost 6 to retirement in the last 18 months, with more to come.

    I had heard about 6 months ago the Hillsborough was going to be hireing close to 200 in the next 5 years. If you add our 17 departments together, the number here in Pinellas is about the same.

    You are correct, the no tobacco use is a direct result of the heart & lung bill. It was the only was the state would go along with the bill.

    That Lt. was lucky. In my department (among others) he would have been shown the door.
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    If florida is soo short on everything...why so they make it so difficult to transfer other state certifications?
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    Bottom Line Quit Now, Get a Job tomorow! We are Hiring 15 this month then will need more when we take over the last small city Dept in October.
    Dont sweat it Just quit and get a Badge!

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