H8 - Part time San Francisco Fire Department paramedic.

BeachMedic

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Ambulance only.

Protocols aren't super progressive but the pay can't be beat. In recent history it's been a way to get your name out there and to get hired on as a fulltime EMT with the department.

Our system isn't perfect but it definitely turns a job into a career. There are promotional opportunities for both the EMS branch and the Fire suppression branch.

It's also a great part time gig for people who just want a supplemental ambulance job.
 
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BeachMedic

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Mainly 12 hour shifts. Not allowed to do 24's on the ambulance.

There are plenty of other special event shifts too when Covid isn't happening. (e.g. Fleet Week or the Chinese New Year Parade)
Always something big going on in SF. Those might be short 8 hour shifts and you'll probably be on a gater instead of an ambulance; more fun
since you don't transport haha.

As an H8 you're per diem so you kind of just work when you feel like it. Just put in your availability.

They are also using H8's (all paramedics in the city really) to administer vaccines. They are taking overtime sign ups for people who want to
do that.

I know our EMS division is having staffing issues and it's "level zero" constantly but I haven't worked a shift on the box for a few years now
so I don't have any idea beyond that.

If you can turn this H8 gig into a fulltime job when the H3 list opens up again you'll have a shot at being one of the best paid single role EMT/Medics out there.
 

DesertMedic66

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Well sure one of the highest paid single roles however you are also working in one of the areas with the highest cost of living in the US. Single bedroom apartments are going for $3,000+ per month there. So you are going to have to commute from a distance for 12 hour shifts.
 
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BeachMedic

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Well sure one of the highest paid single roles however you are also working in one of the areas with the highest cost of living in the US. Single bedroom apartments are going for $3,000+ per month there. So you are going to have to commute from a distance for 12 hour shifts.

You're not wrong but there are plenty of Bay Area medics making **** wages by comparison just outside of SF.

If you do make it a career you can go anywhere you want in retirement. We're the last ones with 3% a year up to 90% pension in the state.

One of the main reasons I tough it out here instead of settling for somewhere less desirable to me with a lower cost of living. I get to live in a pretty cool area and when I retire I can literally move anywhere.

That said, our department has a fair number of inter-state commuters. Not saying it's right; but we are getting priced out.
 

DesertMedic66

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You're not wrong but there are plenty of Bay Area medics making **** wages by comparison just outside of SF.

If you do make it a career you can go anywhere you want in retirement. We're the last ones with 3% a year up to 90% pension in the state.

One of the main reasons I tough it out here instead of settling for somewhere less desirable to me with a lower cost of living. I get to live in a pretty cool area and when I retire I can literally move anywhere.

That said, our department has a fair number of inter-state commuters. Not saying it's right; but we are getting priced out.
With your retirement/pension, is it set up how pretty much 99% of other single role fire department positions are, as in single role EMTs/medics are not considered a safety position and do not qualify for the better benefits and the only way to get them is to transfer onto an engine, or it is the exception?
 
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BeachMedic

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Same retirement benefits as suppression personnel. My ambulance time counts towards my retirement.

EMS division gets all the same benefits as we do. Except I think the way the math works out we accrue vacation hours a little faster
than EMS.

The Firefighter Paramedics (not regular firefighters) actually have the same job classification with the city that the EMTs and Paramedics do.
The pay scale is divided into 11 steps. 1-4 is Ambulance EMT, 5-8 is Ambulance Paramedic, and 9-11 is Firefighter Paramedic. If you promote faster you get to skip some steps. I've known regular firefighters the went from Step 1 FF to Step 9 FFP in less than two years. Big salary jump there.

That said, if you want to remain strictly EMS there are promotional branches that are strictly EMS and non-suppression. (Rescue Captain, Airport Bike Medic, Community outreach paramedicine, EMS lieutenants and Chiefs.)

It's not as dead end as every other paramedic job I've had.

Not saying it's all roses though. While we all get along for the most part EMS definitely has that chip on it's shoulder (like it does everywhere I've been.) and they do do a lot of heavy lifting for the department call-wise. I've been on both sides though; I think there is just a major lack of understanding between people who haven't been on both sides and seen both points of view.
 

CALEMT

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ExpatMedic0

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Hey guys, poping in with a quick question. Does AMR san francisco also do primary 911 or is that exclusive to Fire? Thanks
 

E tank

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Hey guys, poping in with a quick question. Does AMR san francisco also do primary 911 or is that exclusive to Fire? Thanks
The privates 'back up' fire, but there seems to be a lot of work for them. Don't know specifically about AMR or others but King-American has been around forever...disclaimer...I haven't been in that system for a long time but am generally familiar with it as operations there have been variations on the same theme for decades.
 

fm_emt

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how the hell did I miss this thread back in March? *facepalm* I totally would have applied! I'm a just being a professional PRN these days anyway.

Working in SF would be both nuts and fun at the same time. I like that.
 

Aprz

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You live close the SF or would you move there? I am surprised how many people are in the Bay Area here that I haven't met or just don't know it. Wonder if they know me? :x
 

fm_emt

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You live close the SF or would you move there? I am surprised how many people are in the Bay Area here that I haven't met or just don't know it. Wonder if they know me? :x
I live close enough that I would totally commute to SF for a PRN job. :)
 
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BeachMedic

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@BeachMedic Out of sheer curiosity, do you know what the minimum requirement is for per diem? Like how many shifts required to staff/month?
Not sure. They weren't too strict on enforcing it last I heard. I haven't been on the ambulance for awhile now.

We had a ton of firefighters from different departments or captains working part time on our boxes for a bit.
 
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BeachMedic

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Hey guys, poping in with a quick question. Does AMR san francisco also do primary 911 or is that exclusive to Fire? Thanks
AMR and King American have a lot of 911 units but those units also do IFT. I don't think King American transports outside of SF.

The way the system is designed is for SFFD to handle 75-80% of the run volume but it's technically a three-way 911 tag team between King American, AMR, and the SFFD. It's still level zero all the time anyway. We just don't staff EMS enough.

I think the full-time EMT test for SFFD will open in the next few months. It happens about every 4 years and it's been 4 or 5 since the last test. I'd put in an interest card if anyone has any interest in working for SF Fire on the box.

"It turns a job into a career." -- Had a Rescue captain tell me that when I was new 7years ago and I found that to be definitely true.

EMS has rapidly evolved over the last couple years too. They got all kinds of teams now. They have Community Paramedics (Rescue Captain Pay), Bike paramedics at the airport, 20 new street crisis response unit spots (it sounds like the roll around with counselors trying to drop SFPD response to unnecessary psych problems and other things you don't need cops for.) New EMS lieutenant positions. I'm not on the EMS side anymore but it seems like there is a lot of room to promote now.
 

Aprz

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I'm gonna be honest, I am not usually a fan of fire departments, but I have never considered working for a fire department that does transport. When you say ambulance only, is it really ambulance only or do they require ambulance crews to cross train? Looks like great pay, ambulance, per diem, which are things I'm definitely interested in. I only work 24 hours a week right now and I got a lot of free time now.

I saw on the job requirement that they require First Responder Awareness, the hazmat course. Does that thing even expire? I have both FRA and FRO from like the year 2012.

I don't see openings right now. Are you just thinking it's going to open soon?
 
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BeachMedic

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No requirement to cross train.

It actually takes years to even get a shot at cross training. That leads to some burnout in the EMS division but I haven't worked in a system yet that didn't have EMS burnout. (Including Honolulu EMS)

The county EMSA kind of sucks and the protocols aren't the best. Definitely a quantity over quality of calls. Short transports. When I worked on the box we all used to reminisce about our time in the "privates" when we "used to be good medics." Everyone that comes from out of county goes through a period of adjustment shock at how stupid a lot of things are and how much of it doesn't make sense. You get used to it though. It's a county problem and getting along with the fire department problem. There are some good chiefs in EMS right now though making a lot of moves. One of the EMS chiefs currently was the founder of the idea of community paramedicine(Niels Tangherlini you can youtube him). The rest of the country ran with his idea while the department ignored it and let it die. It's coming back though and the Mayor seems to be all in on community paramedicine.

It's also better to be a community servant than working for private profit. Not that it matters but the way the public treats you is like night and day. I've never taken so many pictures with babies and tourists than when I was on the ambulance in SF. Plus it's a completely different mindset when the public citizens are your boss. There is pride in that.

But pay and benefits wise I don't think you're going to find a better single function EMS gig on the planet.

SF is it's own little bubble. Very little communication between what happens inside the city and the rest of the surrounding Bay Area. I've worked around a little bit and knew next to nothing about SF.
 

Jim37F

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So is SFFD EMS and Suppression totally separated then? Like once you cross train as a FF and move from the ambulance to the Engine/Ladder, do you ever still work shifts on the ambulance? Or once your a FF you only work Suppression apparatus with no cross over between FFs and EMT/PMs?
 

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