Community Forum

Forum Home  /  Ask Firecareers!  /  EMT/PARAMEDIC QUESTION?


I am half way through EMT school and will be starting in a paid volunteer program shortly. Although this dept. is first on scene, ems is seperate from the fire. I want to get my 500 hrs. of EMT field work as soon as possible to get into paramedic school. I have been told that I can use my fire volunteer hrs. towards the 500 hrs. even though ems/fire is seperate. Should I put in an application in for emt and wait to get hired or should I get my hours through fire volunteer and get my fire 1&2 completed. I would like to continue on the ems path and then do fire 1&2. Any experience or advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks, Hans

How's it going?
Most places will recognize your fire hrs. towards Medic school. If you stick with the Vol. Fire program you can get your EMS hrs. AND be working towards your firefighter 1 cert. Killing 2 birds with one stone, so to speak. You stated that the fire is seperate from the EMS in your area, so the only draw back if any is the hands on experience you'll get. As a Vol. Firefighter you may not get all the EMS experience you want, like patient assesment, procedures, treatment, etc. Depends on how it works between the fire and EMS agencies. Myself, I worked as a Vol. and earned my Firefighter 1 and now work for a first in EMS agency.
I gained all the hrs. I needed as a Vol. FF, but the knowledge and experience I've aquired as an ambulance EMT has proven invaluable.

Good luck with either choice.

does anyone know what, if any , prerequisites are required prior to taking an EMT-1 course.

Instead of spending all of your efforts to get into paramedic school, I recommend you get your education in fire science courses. There are plenty of firefighter openings coming up in the near future. You will be much better served to get your education and concentrate on becoming a firefighter rather than a firefighter paramedic.

Many EMT?s get their ?experience? for paramedic school by transporting elderly patients to and from convalescent hospitals. While this is an admirable service they are providing, this is not preparing you for the rigors of a paramedic internship.

Believe me that it is extremely difficult to be on top of your game as a paramedic trainee when you are working on a shooting victim, extrication, severe shortness of breath or chest pain patient when you have minimal experience as an EMT. It is overwhelming to expect a candidate to run the call, give directions to my crew and know the medication and transportation protocols when they are seeing the call for the first time. If they don't step up and take charge, the firefighters will step in and take over the run. It makes it even more difficult since over 1/2 of my department is currently certified (or was a) paramedic.

Once you get your feet knocked out from underneath you, it can be difficult to recover. This is especially true when you are running 20 calls per shift on the rescue.

Will it help you become a firefighter YES, WITHOUT A DOUBT? The problem is that these candidates are being told that it's a breeze. I see one candidate after another being terminated during their internship. It just breaks my heart to see their dream come to an end because someone gave them the wrong advice.

If someone has a wealth of EMT experience and is extremely comfortable with their EMT skills and has taken a course on EKG's and anatomy and physiology, then I say go for it! If there is any doubt, I strongly recommend doing some soul searching.

Paul Lepore