1. #1
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    Default Sunstar EMS, Pinellas County, FL

    Does anyone have any information on this system for Paramedics? And the surrounding area.....in reference to living? Looking into relocating from Delaware, just trying to get as much information as possible. Thanks

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    Hey brother, I don't work for SunStar but I am from the area and can tell you the cost of living in Pinellas is a bit high but not to horrible. Stay away from the beach areas when looking for a house and you should be fine. It is a nice area, great weather and the Gulf is awesome for fishing, boating, diving or just hanging out at the beach. It is pretty bust though.

    As far as SunStar goes, they pay about the same as government EMS agencies. My buddy is a Medic for PCEMS and interviewed with SunStar. From what he told me they don't work out of stations and are mobile at all times. They seem to have good equipment and people.

    I have only dealt with them on once and they were very professional. Hope this helps and best of luck.

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    Thanks navcop21,

    Your buddy who works for PCEMS...is that Pinellas County EMS??? What's the deal with that department? Is that a true fire department with some medics? I heard the surrounding area fire departments run assists with the Sunstar medics as paramedic engines. Are they all paid as well?

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    I think with PCEMS he's talking Polk County EMS. I went through medic school with a guy working for sunstar as an emt, he did like it, although he said there was some "idiot" medics. Of course youll experience that anywhere. And he also said you have to call med control to do pretty much anything. They have alot of little rules that irritate everyone that works there, stuff that you wouldnt experience on a fire dept. But please, this is just one guy telling me this, so dont let my opinion lead you the wrong way.
    And as far as I know all depts in Pinellas county use sunstar to do their transports.
    I know several people on different depts in pinellas and none of them transport, clearwater doesnt, dunedin, largo, oldsmar, they dont either.
    Where are you moving from?? FL isnt all its cracked up to be!! Thats just my 2 cents.

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    Yeah, I am talking about Polk. Sorry, I should have specified. Anyway, he deals with the same "idiots" there too. You will deal with them no matter where you go.

    I believe they are one of the few counties still providing stand alone EMS, however, they are merging with the County FD soon. From what he says, that seems to be the future of government EMS.

    As for Florida, it is true that it has its downside, but I love it. It really depends on what you are looking for. Pinellas is very built up and busy, while other counties are pretty rural. If you have any specific questions, feel free to PM me.

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    Sunstar is public utility model, meaning that Pinellas County owns the name 'Sunstar,' but contracts the work out to a private company. The county allows for outside companies to bid on the contract every 5-10 years. For a long time, it was AMR. Currently, its Paramedics Plus operating Sunstar.

    The private co. supplies the trucks, hires/fires the emt's and medics, works under strict guidelines with some monster penalties when things like response times arent met (average response times in Pinellas are approx. 4:30 after 911 is dialed).

    The trucks are typically maintained by one emt and one paramedic. Who drives and who does patient care depends on the severity of the call.

    The ambulances do tours of various lengths, and with few exceptions, stay on the road the entire time. Theyre headquartered out of a single common station which is also home to the, material, the administrative offices, and the dispatch center. The only time youll really spend there is parking your own car, getting into your ambulance and heading out.

    I want to say pay starts around $10/hr for emts, $15/hr for medics, but put in a call they'll be able to tell you better than me. Some of their employees have been there 20+ years, which I think is a great thing when looking for a place to work, but at the lower levels, theres a lot of turnover. I believe thats because alot of people come in biding their time to get on with an FD.

    The protocol book is massive, about 500 pages, thanks to Florida's litigious society, but the MD's running the show are good about allowing medics to go outside of the 'book' if they are able to satisfactorily justify the measures theyre performing.

    As a third service, for 911 calls, Sunstar will run with a fire dept unit. Often times, theyll beat you there, stabilize and package the patient, generate some paperwork for you, and hand them off to you. If the patient is even potentially unstable, or if your just uncomfortable with them, the FD medic will be, 9 times out of 10, happy to ride in with you.

    Theres a monthly CME program to keep your certs alive, and the people in the area who teach them are really good, and if your brave enough to pick their brain about the subjects... well just bring a snack, because those rabbit holes can be deeper than you might think.

    As far as living their, Pinellas County is nice. Id say stay away from south St. Pete, and your fine. Clearwater can be nice (depends where youre looking, not downtown), and its near where theyre HQ'ed (Largo), but Tarpon Springs/East Lake is a little newer, and Seminole is, in my opinion, a little nicer.

    Pasco County was a great low cost option but a real estate boom recently drove up prices. If you dont mind a longer ride in, and you want to be around some nightlife, consider northeast St Pete (close to downtown) or for a real hike (but Id do it if I came back) Hyde Park in Tampa.

    Just do yourself a favor when you get down there: Please Please Please! Stay away from the scientology cult. Their members roam the streets of downtown Clearwater like roaches.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SkylinePCG View Post
    Just do yourself a favor when you get down there: Please Please Please! Stay away from the scientology cult. Their members roam the streets of downtown Clearwater like roaches.
    HAHA! But they have such cool uniforms!

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    I'm familiar with 'idiots' everywhere. Different departments consist of the same type of idiot workers, and management. Politics is a wonderful thing these days!

    I appreciate all the replies. I didn't realize Pinella's County was one of the only stand alone EMS systems in FL. Interesting. At least for now, until the FD merges them in....I would hope then, the existing ALS employees would have bennies to get hired/transferred in. One questions, someone mentioned that Paramedics Plus is the contracted company working as/for Sunstar. So in 5 years when they re-bid and another company gets to take over....are the current employees at risk of loosing their jobs?????

    I am moving from the east coast, Delaware. No one ever likes the state they live in....but really, ANYTHING is better than Delaware!!!! Warmth is the main concern here, I really don't know much about FL. I guess I really don't want the 'city' life for living, although it's nice to be close to night life and state parks. I'll look into Seminole and Hyde Park....maybe even NE St. Pete.

    As far as the scientology cult....oh don't worry, I will stay AWAY FROM THEM!!! HA HA

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    1. Sunstar is not going to get absorbed by any one FD. Its a county system that works with all of the different cities within Pinellas.

    2. A couple of years ago, when AMR lost the operation to Paramedics Plus, if I remember correctly, the employees had to re-apply for their jobs. I dont know if that meant all they needed was to say "Id still like to work here" or if it was more involved.

    I just dont think theyd alienate the EMS force in the region by firing everyone and putting them all on equal ground to get the jobs back.

    Marion County also has a similar service (EMSA). Theyre stand alone, but MCFD and Ocala Fire also do transport. Marion County is a little more intimate, and EMSA works closely with CFCC, the local community college. Its actually a pretty cool place, and if your not bent on Pinellas, deserves some attention.

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