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  1. #1
    I Wanna Be A Firefighter USCTrojan619's Avatar
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    Default Question for FF/EMTs and FF/Paramedics

    I've noticed while looking at job postings for fire departments here in Northern California that they are all for Firefighter/Paramedics, and none for strictly a firefighter.

    I plan on staying in this area, and so I've planned my academic schedule so that I obtain my paramedic license, as well as get my AS in Fire Technology.

    I planned to complete the EMT/Paramedic portion (EMT-B and paramedic school) BEFORE the firefighter portion (e.g. Wildland Fire Academy, Fire Tech Adademy) because the EMT/Paramedic portion has a considerable amount of time associated with it, having to complete clinicals and prerequisites.

    I have a couple of questions for all of you:
    • Is this a smart way of going about it, or should I concentrate on firefighting first?
    • How should I go about getting a job as an EMT after certification? I've searched for EMT jobs, and came up with squat.
    I want to fill my calling, and to give the best in me.


  2. #2
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    I might be able to help ya out a bit...

    Well I lived in the bay area when I did my EMT class and FF1 academy. You should probably do your EMT first and then your academy. Mostly because it will help you to understand some of the things you do in your academy a little bit more. I believe you also need your EMT cert for your FF-1...Plus the academy is just a ton of fun! It was definitely one of the best times of my life!

    I did both at College of San Mateo. Excellent program with great instructors! It is also a great way to network. You will be among the first in the bay area to hear about job offers, as well at volunteer activities that again, are a great way to network. Plus most of them are fun. If you put in the effort, you might also get some good letters of recommendations and references like I was able to do after finishing the academy!

    That's also where I got my Associates in Fire Science. I decided to further my education by moving down to Southern California to get my BS in Fire Protection Administration from CSULA after finishing school up there...but that's kind of off topic.

    Anyway, once you finish your EMT class you should probably start off by looking to private ambulance companies to gain experience. You would just be working a BLS transport rig. That's what I did after I finished my EMT course a couple years ago. I think working a BLS transport rig is good for just getting used to interacting with patients, working in an ambulance, working with gurneys, learning how to solve problems...Like how to move patients who obviously can't move themselves.

    What is nice with starting on a BLS rig is that most of your patients are relatively stable. So you can concentrate on your skills, without some of the time restraints that you would face in a 911 scenario. Don't get me wrong though...You still need to work quick with patient care as one of your top priorities.

    Overall, it will definitely help you get your assessments down. Which is something that you will definitely want before working on a 911 rig or moving on to paramedic school. It can definitely be intimidating going into an ER if you are not confident in your abilities...that confidence will only build with experience.

    Anyway, good luck and I hope I was able to help you out a bit...

  3. #3
    I Wanna Be A Firefighter USCTrojan619's Avatar
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    HereToLearn,

    Thanks a lot! More like here to teach! Haha!

    I'm here in Solano county, so I'll be getting my EMT-B and AS in Fire Tech from Solano Community College, and hopefully to American River College in Sacramento for paramedic school. And yes, the EMT-B is a prereq for the Fire Academy here as well.

    Would working on the BLS Transport be a paid position, and if so, how much? And did you do that here in the Bay (any private ambulance companies you can recommend)?

    This next question is strictly opinion. I'm trying to get into paramedic school as soon as possible (while still meeting all the requirements). If I take my EMT-B for the Spring 2008 semester, get certified and get a job as an EMT right after, work straight through until the end of 2008--do you think skill-wise I'd be ready for paramedic school for the Spring 2009 semester?
    I want to fill my calling, and to give the best in me.

  4. #4
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    Trojans
    I agree with the information posted by hereto learn, but for different reasons. First and foremost being a certified paramedic will NOT help you complete a fire departmentís academy. Most major departments have a 25-40% failure rate. Completing a basic fire academy is THE BEST thing you can do to enhance your chances of making it through a fire departmentís academy.

    Secondly, while you are seeing firefighter/paramedic openings, these are commonly smaller departments that hire only a few firefighters. Most of your BIG departments do not require a paramedic license. I can tell you that I work for the 5th largest city in California. Out of the last 75 recruits hired, less than 10 were Paramedics. This is for a Class 1 department who prides itself on EMS.

    Lastly, with a degree in fire science, a basic fire academy and experience as an EMT, you stand a very good chance of landing a job as a firefighter. Let the department pay to send YOU to paramedic school.

    Paul Lepore
    Battalion Chief
    www.aspiringfirefighters.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by USCTrojan619 View Post
    HereToLearn,

    Thanks a lot! More like here to teach! Haha!

    I'm here in Solano county, so I'll be getting my EMT-B and AS in Fire Tech from Solano Community College, and hopefully to American River College in Sacramento for paramedic school. And yes, the EMT-B is a prereq for the Fire Academy here as well.

    Would working on the BLS Transport be a paid position, and if so, how much? And did you do that here in the Bay (any private ambulance companies you can recommend)?

    This next question is strictly opinion. I'm trying to get into paramedic school as soon as possible (while still meeting all the requirements). If I take my EMT-B for the Spring 2008 semester, get certified and get a job as an EMT right after, work straight through until the end of 2008--do you think skill-wise I'd be ready for paramedic school for the Spring 2009 semester?
    Well I work for an ambulance company down here in LA. But while I was going to school in the bay area I remember one person who worked for a company called Protransport. They were hiring a lot and apparently expanding all over the bay area.

    As far as pay...Well it isn't the greatest paying job, working for a private ambulance company. I'm doing it more for experience then for the paycheck. (Don't get me wrong, we still get payed.)

    And to try and answer your last question...

    No one could tell you if you will be ready for medic school or not. It all depends how quick you catch on and a whole bunch of other factors that you will encounter while on the job. You might be a great EMT and have no problems...or you may struggle and have to put off medic school. Only you will really know when you're ready. But I have heard most medics say that if they could do it over again they would have gotten at least 6-8 months of experience as an EMT before going to medic school.

    One last thing...This part has just been my experience...Guys working on ambulances love talking about their ambulance company...good or bad...So if you see an ambulance posted somewhere (Like outside an ER) just go ask them if they enjoy working for their company. Most of them will probably wanna help because some companies (our company included) offer bonuses to those who bring in new drivers and attendants.
    Last edited by HereToLearn; 11-14-2007 at 12:23 AM.

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