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I'm a relatively new medic, and I'm looking to move to the Center City area of philly. Naturally, working for PFD is a dream job. I applied about four months ago and have heard nothing back still.

I've read that they're quite shortstaffed, is this still the deal or have things changed? Anyone have first hand experience at PFD and wouldnt mind PMing me so we can talk?

Also, who does ALS coverage for the city of Camden? I know the bad rep camden has, but I wouldnt mind working there. I looked at UMDNJ but it seems like they only have ambulances at thier Newark location? Or am I wrong?

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Philly just put a medic class through the fire academy, started April 18th. I actually had gone through the process, got fitted for bunker gear, had physical at 19th and fairmount. Decided to stay in the counties. Fire academy for medics is 6 weeks long.

There is a reason why they are hurting for medics, they have a high turnover rate. The management could care less about the staff and the union is at big odds with the mayor.

If you are doing 911 somewhere else, I wouldn't go to the city. Once I found out everything I did you couldn't pay me enough.

I am just glad I didn't quit my other gigs when I got my letter for the city.

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If PFD is your dream job then you're having some pretty horrendous nightmares.

PFD/EMS is broken. Badly broken. Unfixable broken. PFD is a prime example of how NOT to run EMS. There are routinely stories about how people having to wait much too long for an ambulance (30-45 minutes or longer). Every so often there are stories about how someone has died because of the wait for the ambulance.

I have two former partners who went on to work with PFD. One switched to the fire side. The other is still with EMS but doesn't have anything positive to say about the job. The city is fighting with the union. The union only wants EMS to support the fire side. EMS winds up getting stuck in the middle and is routinely short changed on just about everything.

NJEMS is bad, too. But for entirely different reasons. NJEMS is pretty much run by BLS. ALS has to be run through a hospital. But in most places throughout the State there aren't many medic units on the roads. The system is backwards, ancient and at the mercy of volly BLS squads.

If you're looking to move to the Greater Philthy Metro area look to the surrounding counties on the PA side of the river. You will do much better there than in the City.

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It is a dream job to run EMS in a big city as Ive only ever experienced rural EMS. I don't have something specifically for PFD, if I could work for another 911 agency that covers the city, I would. But since that doesnt exist, PFD only seemed like it made sense.

I was also looking forward to being able to commute on public transit and such and not being dependent on a car, but that's not gonna happen if I look to the surrounding counties. Got any ideas as to which 911 squads in the immediate surrounding area I should be looking at?

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If you're looking at not having to rely on a car then Philly definitely isn't for you. SEPTA, well, sucks. They will take you almost anywhere you need to go by bus. It'll just take you forever and a couple bus changes to get there. So if you're living in Center City and wound up assigned to a medic unit in the North East you'll need a car. Otherwise you'll be spending a hefty chunk of your time between shifts commuting. Combine that with as busy as you'd be working a city medic unit and you'll be hating life.

This says nothing of trying to live in Center City as you mentioned you wanted to do. Rent is crazy. You can expect to pay a sizable chunk of change in rent. And that's just to park the car you'll need due to the public transit system. Rent for housing in Center City is even worse.

Here are links to the surrounding counties:

Montgomery County

Delaware County (not a great link but it should offer a starting point)

Chester County (I'd probably avoid Chester County, too. The volly FDs pretty much run things and it's plainly obvious they know nothing about EMS.)

Bucks County

And really? This wasn't too hard to find. A few seconds on Google turned up all this information.

Where are you that the big city is such a draw?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Like you said you're a relatively new Paramedic. Your dream job will to be employed by Philly EMS. You mentioned another goal; that is to run a City EMS. You seem to have lots of energy. Don't get burnout with the EMS Atrocities. Continue your education beyond the Medic. Good luck...

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I appreciate all the replies.

stcommodore, I sent you an email.

I don't intend on making EMS my final career. I'm looking at working towards becoming a PA or maybe even go all the way to MD.

Also, just out of curiousity, who does the ALS coverage for Camden?

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All ALS services in NJ are run as a department of a hospital. I believe Camden is covered by Virtua Health Systems. You cannot be certified to work in the state unless you are affiliated with an ALS system. The hospital would sponsor you and you'd then be at the mercy of the bureaucracy that is NJ state government before you'd be allowed to work. Sometimes you get quick turnaround. Othertimes? Well, not so much.

I've heard a lot of unhappy rumblings from Virtua as a whole. It's all rumor and conjecture, though, so I can't say anything other than if you think you want to work there do your homework very thoroughly. Talk to as many people as possible including street providers and make your decision that way.

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  • 3 weeks later...
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