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KMAC

Headed straight for a flame out....

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So ive been doing fire/ems for 3.5 years. Started working full time 3 weeks after i graduated high school. I like EMS, but I love firefighting. I am in NJ, and I know it is inevitable that eventually major department will be fire/ems combined. Ive been a full time EMT and a volunteer firefighter so far, finding a paying fire position is almost impossible around here. I also have lots of bills, living in NJ is very expensive. Cant find a place for rent for under 1K/month before utilities. Anyway, next week i am working 64 hours. That is a pretty average number of payed hours im on an ambulance a week in various departments. I am still a volunteer firefighter. It has always been my dream to be a fire/medic in orlando, not sure why, but it just has been. Ive looked into it, and I am actively persuing it. However, i have no social life to speak of, im still barely able to pay the bills. The people suck in the area, everyone has something to say about everything you do, even if you never met them. Everyone talks to everyone else, if someone trips getting out of the ambulance in 20 minutes well over 100 people will know, and i mean WILL know. The EMS system sucks, as most people are aware of in NJ. I work for several companies, but the "big ones", plain and simple you have to know alot of people. no matter how qualified you are, you will not get into a few without knowing people, and thats just the way it is. Everyone knows eachother, 80% of the paramedics look down to basics, but half of the medics also work on BLS trucks for extra money. Im just running out of steam. Cardiac arrest?..eh...we will get there, honestly i dont really care what the outcome is...but i will do my job to the best of my ability. MVA? great i have to dodge cars with drivers that have no care nor concern for us, the MVA or just other people in general. im just blank. im always pissed off at people, with no real reason honestly. i dont really talk to anyone outside of work from work...with the exception of a few people, and i mean a few. Im never at my fire department because im always at work, or sleeping..i work night shifts and sleep alot during the day. I dont get out of bed for the pager 90% of the time, firecalls dont even "excite" me anymore. My now ex girlfriend could never understand anything about why i felt the way i, well, do..why i acted the way i did, and that is a whole other chapter...i know the solution is work less, but with the bills, that is practicly impossible. I keep thinking maybe its time for a career change, but then i realize this is all ive ever wanted to do, all im interested in doing, and all i know how to do. Im taking pre-reqs for my associates in paramed. I dunno, maybe in just tired of this state, this area, these people...maybe once i get back to orlando things will be better...

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Well, just bare in mind that with your financial status, a move is very expensive.

Rent is not that much cheaper in Orlando nor is the general cost of living, plus you will not have a chance of getting on with ANY department in Florida until you attend a FL fire academy. Reciprocity is very very difficult to obtain even for experienced FFs with years experience. Take it from me, I was one of them.

You need FF I and II. In Florida, this means 450 clock hours of education at a state approved fire school.

You must do the academy on your own and then apply for jobs. After completing the academy, fire/emts are a dime a dozen so you better stand out soomehow from the crowd and in a good way.

The academy is 3 months long FT, which is M-F 8-5...or 6 months long PT 3 nights a week 6-10 and every Saturday, some Sundays.

Also keep in mind, most academies have waiting lists.

From central FL down, the trend is Fire/rescue ALS. If you are a medic, you have the pick of the jobs. They also will send a medic to the fire academy on their dime as it is cheaper and easier for a medic to become a FF, than vice versa, not to mention that the pass rates are higher that way.

So, you need to consider the cost of challenging the FL exam so you can have a FL EMT license, which will get you nothing but transport/interfacility jobs for the most part. You also have the expense of the fire academy, if and when you are accepted. Remember it is competitive, so not everyone gets in (have to keep pass numbers high).

You could also work for Rural Metro in Orlando, but they are dispatched minutes after the FD is or arrives on scene, so you dont get too see much action as they take care of all the good stuff before handing off to you. Also, with Rural Metro, their policy in Orlando is the medic takes EVERY call, so all you are is a driver.

In summary, breathe deep, relax, re evaluate and just maybe, a career change is in order...who knows??

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Kmac, sounds like a classic case of burnout.

there is nothign wrong with taking a leave of absence and getting your head back on straight. I was in your shoes at one time.

take care, you have friends here.

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You won't have an easy time if you come to Florida with all that baggage and burnout. At the age of 20, you sound like a wreck.

The cost of living in Florida is not cheap anymore. Utility bills, alone especially in Orlando, will be expensive.

Do you plan on using that volunteer FD that you aren't going to the calls as a reference for another FD job? Don't screw it up or take a "sincere" break from them.

Will your credit history bring you problems on a pre-employment credit check?

Orlando is the city of the Mouse. Everything is scrutinized there also. Traffic and tourists will be just as rough if not rougher for an attitude with little patience.

Excellent for working on your prereq. for Paramedic. If you make a move now to Florida, you'll have out-of-state tuition to possibly hamper your educational goals. And, DON'T even consider doing a PDQ Medic School in FL for $20,000 "easy to pay" lifetime loan.

The FD departments are going to want everything mentioned in akflightmedic's post. They also want a solid educational foundation. An A.S. or A.A. would be nice. Choose your classes that can apply for both a Paramedic and Fire Science degree if you are serious about the FD. Are you fairly fluent in another language besides English? Spanish? That will help also.

There are hundreds of applicants to the FD each time they anounce they are hiring. Your application and background check are going to have to look good.

Being a paramedic will also put you ahead of the game. That would also give you more hiring possibilities in Florida at better pay until you do get hired by a FD.

Florida has many, many EMT-Bs. But, jobs are not that difficult to find due to job-hoppers/turnover. The pay will be very low and you'll be working the same number of hours or more than you are now for possibly less money.

Get yourself in a better position. Everything you do now will be scrutinized by your future employers both good and bad. Florida is a great place but if you are still buried in your personal/financial baggage, it will be very easy to get buried deeper here. Running to find greener pastures may sound like a way out but may not always be the best route.

Good luck!

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Ok, for the 2nd half of the post, this is more focused on florida (sorry i forgot to put this in) I lived in orlando for a year, attended half of central florida fire academy's course, then had to leave florida for family reasons. yeah, CFFA is a pain in the ass to get into, believe me, i did it from new jersey. And like i said, I am planning on getting my medic before i start looking for fire jobs (however i understand the OCFRD hired only FIRE/medic/EMTs . I could be wrong, maybe someone can show me different? Anyway my plan was move (again) school, R/M as a job (i already am talking with the EMS director down there) and take it from there. i have a few really good friends down there, one goes to university of central florida, she is going to try to hook me up with student housing...so that will help. See the money problem falls to a simple common denominator, we get paied crap here. one job i get paied 12/hr, the other 14/hr-ish. Thank you all for your posts and support. its good to know i have friends somewhere to turn to. i almost had my job once, im not letting it get away a 2nd time. i know what it takes to move to and live in orlando, its a pain, but if i did it once when i was 18, i can do it now. its all just a waiting game..plus im not planning on going down for another year...

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kmac, I'm rooting for ya. I hope all works out for you.

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Sounds like a hopeless situation - when looked upon hopelessly. Ever notice how easy it is to see the bad things in life? In a situation? Believe me, I'm the queen of looking at things from the wrong angle (glass as half empty and not half full), so I know what you're going through.

In my Christian walk though, I'm learning to see things the way God sees things. If NOTHING is impossible with Him, then nothing should be impossible for me if I believe. Same for you KMAC, it doesn't matter if the rent is 1,000 or 10,000 a month, if you believe it can happen, have faith, work hard and stay optimistic, things will happen for you! Don't look at all the statistics or 'facts' - they only make things overwhelming and depressing. And adding depression to burnout is a dangerous combination.

Keep us updated as to what you do. And keep your hope alive. Take a day and try to see all the good in things around you... you know like a grateful patient's smile, or a simple, heartfelt 'thank you' or pat on the back..... that stuff always gets forgotten but if you truly look for it, it's there waiting for you. Believe me, I'm going to do it with you.

Never give up and God bless you in all you do!

In Jesus,

Tiff[/font:8400df8843]

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thanks alot guys...its really good to know i have people somewhere..it really is

Edit: Just a small update...im starting the painfull process of talking to people and getting paperwork together for the medic degree. Ive chosen valencia community college

see here

for many reasons. i have a few friends who go/went there and it is in a great location. the program looks well thought out and organized as well. it will run me a little over 6Gs but that really isnt to bad. also im getting ready for the first phases of getting registered for the fire academy again (fireacademy.org) so i can get my fire certs down there. that is gonna be another 4gs -ish . im getting this started now with the academy because, as i said, i was in the academy once, and i got started real late on the app. process and barely (and i mean barely) got in, it took 6 trips down there from NJ in 4 months, had to cram alot into a real small amount of time. plus, if several people rank the same based on physical agility test scores and acedemic scores, app. date is the tie breaker. im applying 2 years early....at least. so i think ill be good in that department. ill be taking night classes this time, so it will be around 9 months worth of school for my fire certs...3 nights a week plus sunday day isnt too bad, i did days before and it was the worst thing in the world, im not a day person plus traffic was horrific. anyway, there is my small update, nothing spectacular, but its a start

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