1. #1
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    Default Moving back to Florida (Tampa Bay)

    Hey everyone, a few questions. I am from Tampa, FL but moved to Colorado 3 years ago. I havent had much luck finding career firefighter employment here so I've decided to move back to Florida. I am highly interested in working for a department in Pinellas County, namely St Petersburg, St Pete Beach, Pinellas Park, Largo, Pinellas Suncoast, East Lake, Palm Harbor, Clearwater etc. Can anyone from the region tell me how job prospects are for these departments or others in the county? I have colorado FF1 and EMT-B, and have heard that getting reciprocity for out of state fire certs is nearly impossible, so I am going to attend teh SPC FIre Academy early next year, and then i intend to become a paramedic. Any opinions, good or bad, of SPC's fire and medic programs? Oh, and lastly, how is Sunstar, specifically for an EMT-B? Once i get my FL EMT cert worked out i would like to work for them in the meantime. Anyways, thanks a lot to anyone who can help me out.
    Last edited by IBQwerty21; 05-26-2007 at 02:41 AM. Reason: add content

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    Bro, I think you and me tested with the same places out here in CO.
    I resently moved out here from South Fla, 14 year Fire Medic with Martin County Fire, the bad news is a new tax bill happening in Fla...Tax Reform... there are a few treads on it..check it out.. I dont think any Fla FF will lose there jobs but there is defintly going to be a Freeze in hiring most places... I do know when I left last year if you were a Medic you could just about pick where you wanted to work.. and EMT FF were competitive, not nearly as CO though. and yes you need to be at least a FFII to apply to work in Fla as a FF.

    If I can help let me know..
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    Thanks for the reply. Where are you working out here in Colorado? I've tested a few times out here, and only got far with Denver, but didnt hear anything from them after passing the background and physical. I took DRCOG and never got a response, and i scored fairly high. Anyways, I have been reading about the tax issue you speak of and it doesnt look too good, but hopefully things might be resolved by the time im done with paramedic school? Who knows. Are the hiring processes different at all in Florida compared to here in Colorado? Anyways, thanks for the information

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    Lafayette Fire, Yea as far as the Tax Reform things should settle down after the Vote, but hirring will get more conservastive down there... still better odds than here in CO, Hirring process in Fla.... you will need Fla. FFII and at least EMT-B, look on line for postings, apply, written, practicle, agility Davis or CPAP, and Interview..............Medics are always in demeand with such a high volume of Medical calls and elderly Pts. Fla is a big state most Depts are County FR 80% and then City 20%... for example...Martin County Fire Rescue, PalmBeach County FR, Broward County, Indian River County, Voulsia County.... then smaller like city of West Palm, city of Stuart etc etc..
    Good Luck and again ask questions if I can help!
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    I wouldn't even bother coming down here without a paramedic patch. Like Wakehead stated, all hiring has been frozen everywhere. I spoke to some guys from Gainsville the other day and they said it's the same up there. You will also need to take/challenge the Florida EMT and paramedic state test in order to apply anywhere. Google info on the MESH test. It's a medical skills and CPAT test all in one that many departments buy into. Your scores will be placed onto a list and sent to local departments that participate. Most FD's in Broward use this and some in the Naples/Ft Myers area also, though I don't know if it's a separate test. Get your ***** together now. Next month we should get the results on the tax reform. Good luck.

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    thank you both for the info.

    wakehead - I heard Layfayette was hiring career guys, congratulations on the job ! how is it up there?

    Firemedic 61 - thanks for the help as well. I have submitted my application to the state for Florida EMT, just waiting on the test date. I am definately going to go to paramedic school, hopefully early next year after i finish a FL Fire Academy, I have wanted to be a medic anyways and i understand its nearly required in FL. Im looking forward to it.

    anyways thanks again for the help guys

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    Lafayette is Great! working as a Fire Medic!

    I will tell you from expierience East Coast Fla Fire Depts are great, awesome brotherhood and strong Unions to protect you rights(Very Important down there)
    Some of my Favorite Departments based: on working conditions, Pay and Benefits, staffing and equipment, and progressiveness:
    1.Martin County (of course I am Biased)
    2.Palm Beach County
    3.City of Boca Raton
    4.City of Miami Beach
    5.St.Lucie County.... but watch the Tax Reform with this Dept!

    All these are ALS Transport Depts, Medic patch almost required, and rookie years will be on a Bus!

    As before I am happy to anwser questions from my home state!
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    Havn't heard anything bad about SPC's Academy or Medic school, cant say the same for HCC... At SPC you need A&P 1 + A&P 2 before Medic school, HCC you dont... It's really all up in the air for now with the taxes. So far I havnt heard anything about hiring freezes either, if theres a spot open they have to fill it or give out OT right? :-) Heck, some departments could even start hiring EMT-B's over EMT-P's because of the salary difference....

    PS- Dont forget about the private EMS in hillsborough/Tampa (AMR, TransCare, AmeriCare.)

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    Stay FAR FAR away from Sunstar.

    They have a new company running the place and they have made tons of changes that have negative effects on the crews. All they care about is the bottom line and their contract compliance. They dont give a rats a** about the crews. And its also been WWIII with the union since these folks dont follow the contract they signed.

    Its too bad, as it used to be a great place to work (part-time anyway). I worked there for almost 10 years, but since the new company came its been awfull and Im one of many who had enough and gave it up.
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    DAVE: The IAFF angels in heaven are smiling upon you.

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    thanks to everyone for the additional information

    dave1983 - thanks for the insight on Sunstar, sorry to hear the situation there isnt too good.

    another question i have for anyone who knows, are there any good volunteer/part time/reserve opportunities specifically in Pinellas County? I figure at least doing that much would be good to keep my skills fresh while I'm trying for full time, especially during this current tax issue. Thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by IBQwerty21 View Post
    thanks to everyone for the additional information

    dave1983 - thanks for the insight on Sunstar, sorry to hear the situation there isnt too good.

    another question i have for anyone who knows, are there any good volunteer/part time/reserve opportunities specifically in Pinellas County? I figure at least doing that much would be good to keep my skills fresh while I'm trying for full time, especially during this current tax issue. Thanks
    Check out psfrd.org and look for the volunteer section. I think they are the only active vollies left in Pinellas.
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    Smile Why Florida ??.............

    I'm still amazed that people actually spend their own money to get Training that may, or may not, be good elsewhere. You're missing the Boat, BIG TIME, if you pass up the chance to get on a Department in the Mid-Atlantic area. Here, you get hired, then you get trained AS AN EMPLOYEE. You're already working and getting paid. Also you can get hired as a Firefighter WITHOUT EMT-P being a factor. Yes, some places still hire Firefighters!

    OK, so you don't like my area. No Problem. Lots of good sized to BIG departments up and down the East Coast and out to Chicago.

    Personal Opinion Only, and NO disrespect to those who work there, but Florida is about the last place that I'd consider moving to.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hwoods View Post
    I'm still amazed that people actually spend their own money to get Training that may, or may not, be good elsewhere. You're missing the Boat, BIG TIME, if you pass up the chance to get on a Department in the Mid-Atlantic area. Here, you get hired, then you get trained AS AN EMPLOYEE. You're already working and getting paid. Also you can get hired as a Firefighter WITHOUT EMT-P being a factor. Yes, some places still hire Firefighters!

    OK, so you don't like my area. No Problem. Lots of good sized to BIG departments up and down the East Coast and out to Chicago.

    Personal Opinion Only, and NO disrespect to those who work there, but Florida is about the last place that I'd consider moving to.
    I understand what your saying Chief, problem is most FDs down here cant hire someone whos not certified.

    Take my FD for example. If we hire, its because someone retired or went elsewhere. We dont have the staffing to hire someone not certified because of our minimum manning requirements. When we hire, they have to be ready to go when they walk in the door. And since state law says we cant use non-certified people in situations that require certification, we have no choice. You cant be counted for minimum manning unless your certified

    Some of the larger FDs will hire and put you through school. But usually only if you have a medic patch. They can use you for EMS while your in fire school. But they have the bodies and seperate ALS units to do it. Most dont.
    Last edited by Dave1983; 05-28-2007 at 05:30 PM.
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    Post Ok................

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave1983 View Post
    I understand what your saying Chief, problem is most FDs down here cant hire someone whos not certified.

    Take my FD for example. If we hire, its because someone retired or went elsewhere. We dont have the staffing to hire someone not certified because of our minimum manning requirements. When we hire, they have to be ready to go when they walk in the door. And since state law says we cant use non-certified people in situations that require certification, we have no choice. You cant be counted for minimum manning unless your certified

    Some of the larger FDs will hire and put you through school. But usually only if you have a medic patch. They can use you for EMS while your in fire school. But they have the bodies and seperate ALS units to do it. Most dont.
    Thanks Dave, a little insight goes a long way. We hire a group all at once, and send them thru the Academy together. Routine turnover is such that there is an annual need for new hires, usally about 35 in a group.
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    Even though you must be Fire and EMT certified there still are large groups showing up for testing down there, the numbers seriosly dwindle with that (P) behind the EMT, Metro Dade does not require Fire Cert or EMT they do send you through academy..... they recieve thousands of apps every time they post for employment... Just my opinon but I kind of agree with Fla of course that might be cause I spent 30 years there and 14 on the Job... if someone is already a FFII and is apllying at least you know they can take the heat....so to speak... and are not going to go down in flames in Fire Academy.... or Bomb out of EMT class....wasting the Depts time and money.....again just my opinon!
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    Not that it has much bearing on the discussion here, except to add to Florida's requirements of certification. British Columbia (mostly) does not hire unless you have EMT, air brakes, Class 3 licence and FFI and II. The only way to get recognition for the EMT and fire courses is from one of two training centers in Canada. First choice is applying to the Justice Institute, which handles all fire certifications for BC or through the fire school in a place call Vermillion, Alberta. Thats a 6 month course, and about 9000.00 worth.... all on the hope of getting employed. Certification DOES not imply that you will be hired. So potentially you just wasted a whole whack of money for less than zero gain. Nice "risk assessement", eh?

    Personally, the JI schooling is just "empire building" - but thats just me saying that. I know I shouldnt rattle the sabres too much, as they have granted me some certs, like ICS 100 and 200 and a few other useful tools.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schwaa View Post
    Havn't heard anything bad about SPC's Academy or Medic school, cant say the same for HCC... At SPC you need A&P 1 + A&P 2 before Medic school, HCC you dont... It's really all up in the air for now with the taxes. So far I havnt heard anything about hiring freezes either, if theres a spot open they have to fill it or give out OT right? :-) Heck, some departments could even start

    hiring EMT-B's over EMT-P's because of the salary difference....

    PS- Dont forget about the private EMS in hillsborough/Tampa (AMR, TransCare, AmeriCare.)
    I went through SPC for EMT, Fire, and i plan on going through for their Medic program. All are top notch programs, i think at least. You can pick out the flaws, but you get your money's worth at the end of the day.

    And everything has already been said. The medic patch really talks when it comes to getting hired around here, if you have that patch you're golden. If not, you're in the same situation as the rest of us.

    And regarding vollies, definitely go through Pinellas Suncoast. Great group of guys out there...

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    Thanks again to everyone who had some input. Ive decided to give SPC's Academy and Medic School a shot. As for volunteering, Pinellas Suncoast (as many have said) and West Manatee have caught my attention. I read that Gulfport in Pinellas has vollies too, maybe thats old and they are defunct? Anyways, thanks again everyone

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    Quote Originally Posted by IBQwerty21 View Post
    Thanks again to everyone who had some input. Ive decided to give SPC's Academy and Medic School a shot. As for volunteering, Pinellas Suncoast (as many have said) and West Manatee have caught my attention. I read that Gulfport in Pinellas has vollies too, maybe thats old and they are defunct? Anyways, thanks again everyone
    Gulfport doesn't do vollies anymore. And good luck, SPC is a great choice.

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    Lutz has a volly department also. It's a little ways off though.

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    Good Luck Bro!
    There is Life outside the Firehouse!

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    wakehead -

    Thanks man. I'm gonna miss Colorado (i leave saturday morning), its a great place...but im excited to get back to the Sunshine State. I hope Lafayette continues to treat you well!

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    Ibqwert, I know a lot of FF Brother's in South Fla (East Coast) and a few Chiefs. If I can help let me know!
    There is Life outside the Firehouse!

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    Oh boy IBQwert, I'll bet you can't wait to get here. We'll greet you with Tropical Storm Barry, how's that for a welcome back. Good old *****shine state. Oh well, good luck to ya anyways bro and seriously welcome back to Fla.

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