The professions of firefighter and paramedic have seemed to be a natural pairing almost from the inception of emergency medicine. In the beginning, in 1967, ambulance attendees, as they were then known, were trained in the use of first aid. Before long, the field evolved as big cities such as Los Angeles and Miami developed programs to train firefighters to provide emergency medical care before taking injured patients to hospitals.
The first paramedic crew to provide invasive care consisted of Miami firefighters. In 1970, Washington firefighters learned how to perform CPR on fire victims, although this innovation did not earn the favor of the department’s administrators. Today, not only is paramedicine a natural pairing with firefighting, but there is a hybrid profession known as the firefighter paramedic.
And in this article, we will discuss what you can expect when it comes to the firefighter paramedic salary, as well as go into great depth about the scope and practice of what it takes to become a paramedic and a firegfighter, and why these professionals are sorely needed throughout the country and world.
Members of the emergency medical profession, regardless of their specialty, share one trait: they know how to think in the midst of a crisis, and their training enables them to process information quickly. Whether a paramedic, an EMT, a firefighter paramedic, a flight paramedic, or any of the other branches of the field, the person who chooses this profession is someone who meets the challenge of thinking and reacting while the clock is ticking.
The hospital is miles away, the building is burning, the police are in position, but it’s the paramedic who is preparing patients for the next stage of medical care. By combining the positions of a firefighter with a paramedic, the thinking process fuses the details of physical damage control and human injury simultaneously.
Firefighter Paramedic Salary
Before we totally can break down what firefighter paramedics make, we first have to explain who they are. A firefighter paramedic is, as the title indicates, both a firefighter and a paramedic. Paramedics are used to working in all kinds of weather conditions and circumstances, and obviously it doesn’t get any easier for firefighters, who have to wear heavy protective clothing even if it’s a hot, humid day in the middle of summer.
The firefighter paramedic has to deal with the element of fire, as well as the human element, too.
At the scene of a fire, a firefighter medic is fighting the flames along with everyone else, but is also capable of addressing the damage that a fire has done, not merely to the burning building, but to the people who were caught inside the flames.
Firefighters need to be in very good physical shape, but if you’re already a paramedic, you’re well aware of the demands that the work puts on your body.
What Education Is Required?
The different levels of education when it comes to pursuing this career field. And truthfully, to become a firefighter paramedic, you usually (although this can differ from state to state and fire department to fire department) are going to have to work your way up the Emergency Medical Services education food train—beginning with becoming a certified or licensed EMT.
An Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) has a high school diploma, and has completed a course of training to be certified. The courses teach emergency skills, such as managing respiratory trauma, cardiac emergency and patient assessment, fractures, airway obstruction, cardiac arrest, and emergency childbirth.
EMT students know how to use emergency equipment such as backboards, suction devices, splints, oxygen delivery systems, and stretchers.
A paramedic is certified, and in addition, often has an associate’s degree. Paramedic courses range from an eight-month course, a two-year associate’s degree, or a four-year bachelor’s degree; 37% of paramedics have an associate’s degree, and 17% have their bachelor’s degrees. In addition to carrying out the procedures described above, paramedics may administer drugs orally or intravenously, interpret electro cardiograms (EKGs), perform endotracheal intubulations, and use monitors and other complex equipment.
Is There a Benefit to Become a Paramedic Before Becoming a Firefighter?
Your paramedic training is not only crucial to becoming a firefighter paramedic, but can also speed up the process. Most municipalities with paid fire departments require their firefighter applicants to either be certified paramedics or to be in paramedic school. If you’re already a paramedic taking a regular firefighter entrance exam, your chances of being hired are increased, because there are multiple applicants when firefighter openings are announced-sometimes as many as 800 applicants for one position.
So, as you can see, checking out the paramedic course at your local community college is a logical step one should strongly consider taking.
Your 750-1500 hours of classroom and in-the-field paramedic instruction and training will come in handy as a firefighter paramedic, because an estimated 75% of the calls will have their basis in emergency medicine. The fire department will have to spend less money and time in training you because you’re already a paramedic. Some fire departments, if they must undertake the expense of providing your paramedic training, will require you to sign a contract promising to stay with them for a minimum of five years, perhaps longer, after you have received your paramedic training.
The firefighter field is extremely attractive, with many applicants wanting to get the opportunity to earn a living at a job that has been a childhood dream. You will want to have the best shot at being hired, so your paramedic certification and training will help to move you to the front of the line.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the following requirements for someone whose goal is to become a firefighter paramedic:
1) Must be 18 years old, pass a medical exam and drug test
2) Postsecondary degree or diploma, depending on the agency requirements
3) Degree in firefighter emergency medical services
4) Certification by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT); state licensing; driver’s license
5) Successful completion of training from a fire department training academy
6) Possess analytical skills and the ability to diagnose and treat a medical emergency; physical endurance, strength, and courage
7) Sufficient computer skills to provide documentation of care that was given to the patient
8) Possess the ability to operate chain saws, ladders, fire extinguishers, hoses, pumps, axes, medical equipment as required for the purpose of putting out fires and treating fire victims
Firefighter Training and Education
The training will teach the firefighter paramedic how to use his or her paramedic skills in the field where someone’s life just may well hang in the balance.
Ladders and hoses become life-and-death equipment when used at the scene of a fire, and you’ll need to know how to raise the ladders and climb them, how to extend the hose lines, how to deal with toxic smoke and gases at the structure. Your paramedic skills come into play in the triage setting as you treat the victims of the fire and deliver them to the hospital or burn unit.
Remember that although a paramedic already has training in emergency medical care, the fire setting is unique. Victims of fire may need to be carried from the burning building. Firefighters wear a heavy uniform and carry gear that the average paramedic doesn’t, so they need to know how to use their strength to their advantage.
The training, often provided by a local fire department, teaches a student firefighter the basics of fire prevention, build code information, how to use the ladders, fire extinguishers, and hoses that are an integral part of the firefighting job description.
What is the Work Schedule for a Firefighter Paramedic?
The typical work schedule for the firefighter paramedic is to work 24 hours and then have 48 hours off or 72 hours off. While at the first station, you’ll eat and sleep during your 24 hour shift. Because there’s extra time off built into the normal work schedule, some firefighter paramedics use this extra time off to work at other jobs, but you can also use the time to enjoy hobbies, spend quality time with your family, go to the gym and keep yourself in good condition, or just enjoy your leisure time.
During the 24-hour shift on the job, not all of the time is spent putting out fires and saving lives. While at the station, firefighters may go out to inspect fire hydrants and buildings, perform routine maintenance on equipment, take part in local fire prevention programs, and of course eat and sleep.
What Is the Firefighter Paramedic Salary?
According to careerbuilder.com, a firefighter paramedic’s average salary is $46,994. In addition to salary, they also receive holiday pay, annual raises, pensions, and benefits. Overtime pay, holiday and bonuses are sometimes received. The turnover rate tends to be low, which is good for morale as well as stability.
And here’s an amazing statistic: 99.7% of firefighters have never been laid off. And best of all—you’ve spent your working years on a vehicle that was once your favorite toy as a child.
How many jobs can offer that?
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