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Part-time EMT work

Discussion in 'EMS-Related News' started by Conan The BarbarEMT, Jan 23, 2008.

  1. Conan The BarbarEMT

    Conan The BarbarEMT Forum Ride Along

    Hi, I'm a full time college student in orange county and am just getting my EMT-B certification. I was wondering what hours a part time EMT might be expected to work, and what experiences you guys have had working and going to school.

    Also, how much control does an EMT have over his or her own schedule? As in, when getting hired would I be able to say "These are the hours I'm able to work" and have those same hours week after week?

    Being a college student, I have only recently moved away from my home town, and so I like to return home for vacations to see my family. How flexible are most ambulance companies with vacations, especially considering new recruits?

    Any advice is greatly appreciated, especially those with experience in Orange/los angeles county.

    Edit: I just realized this is in the wrong subject
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 23, 2008

    JPINFV Gadfly

    It really depends on the company. The two big interfacility companies in OC (Lynch and Pacific) will work around your schedule. I'm sure the same is true for the IFT side of the 911/IFT companies (of which, the three main ones are Care, Medix, and Doctors). Time off policy, again, depends on where you work.

    If you need a shift off to go home, I'd suggest asking for the day off as early as possible.

    I wrote as unbiased of a review as I could muster for another EMS forum about the different OC ambulance companies and I'll repost it here.

    OCEMS system:

    Orange County runs a quasi fire-based EMS system. Paramedics in the county are only with the fire departments. Out of the cities, the vast majority of them contract with private companies to provide transport while having the paramedics respond on a fire engine. The companies with 911 contracts are Care, Doctors, Medixs, Shaffer, and Emergency. The companies that only do interfacility transport are Lynch and Pacific.

    Care's base of operation is near CHOC/St. Josephs hospital and the 5/55/57 interchange (the Orange Crush). They have several 911 contracts in both Orange County and LA county as well as the critical care transport contract for UCI Medical Center Children's hospital. My understanding is that they are one of the highest paid and they I'd tie them with Medix for looking professional.

    Doctor's Ambulance has a handful of 911 contracts in South County (Irvine, and a few other places). This is a relatively small company and the pay is around minimum wage (I made more working as an EMT-B at the nearby waterpark [bye bye Wild Rivers crybaby] than they pay their EMT-Bs. Doctor's base of operation is down by the 405/5 interchange (just South of the El Toro Y/Irvine Spectrum area)

    Schaffer Ambulance is based mostly in LA County, but also runs a modest operation in Orange County, including having the 911 contract for Costa Mesa. I've heard that their schedules suck bad and there have been plenty of rumors when I lived down there (moved August '07) that they are trying to unload their 911 contract.

    Medix base of operation is off of the 5 south of the El Toro Y somewhat near Doctor's base. They provide 911 services to several south county cities as well as Seal Beach. New units that look nice, but I can't offer many more comments than that.

    Emergency Ambulance Service is based somewhere in the Northern part of the county. They have the 911 contract for Brea. I got a chance to talk with one of their crews about a year and a half ago and would definitely advise against this company (supply and cash flow (bouncing paychecks per their employee) problems.

    Interfacility companies:
    Shoreline: Based out of Huntington Beach. This is a relatively new company, and as such I can not provide any personal impressions/grapevine information.

    Pacific: Standard interfacility company with the normal job pros and cons from what I've heard of people who switched from my old company to this one. They do have operations in Orange, LA, and San Diego Counties though. They, along with Lynch and Care, pay the most.

    Lynch (my old company): Interfacility powerhouse including the Children's Hospital of Orange County transport contract. They have a decent number of critical care calls utilizing RNs and RTs, but there are no units dedicated to critical care transports (closest available unit to the base drives back and picks up the gear and the RN and/or RT). They pay near the top ($10/hr starting, $1 differential for 4 days a week, 12 hour shifts with time and a half after 8 as well as double time after 12. Again, this data is 6 months old). Standard interfacility company problems, but I must admit that things were better when I left than when I joined. Shifts are flexible (12 hour shifts start times included 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 12. Given open shifts, you could spread out your shifts or bunch them all together, but you worked the same days every week. They did work with my school schedule [read weekend shifts only]). I'd honestly suggest this company only if your head is on straight and you know what you're doing well enough to defend your actions. Lynch is based in Anaheim just Northeast of the 91/57 interchange. Email me for further details.
  3. Conan The BarbarEMT

    Conan The BarbarEMT Forum Ride Along

    Thanks for all the great info, it's good to get specifics about Orange County companies. Do those shift times for Lynch start at AM and PM?

    Two more questions I have to ask:

    How often, in your experience, do Ambulance companies hire new employees?

    You also mentioned working as an EMT at Wild Rivers, how did you go about getting a job in that sort of a field? Seems like it'd be a good chance for me to work at one of the themeparks around here, and boy howdy do I like theme parks!

    Thanks again!

    JPINFV Gadfly

    Most of the 12 hour shifts start in the AM, but there was only a handful of night cars (1 or 2 a night when I left. This left the 24s running most of the night calls).

    The ambulance companies in Orange County are generally hiring contentiously and most have online applications.

    The BEST way to get a job at a water park is to know the EMT supervisor. The supervisor at Wild Rivers (which is, unfortunately, supposed to close next year because the Irvine Company wants to build houses there. There is still Knott's/Soak City and, if you don't mind driving a bit, Raging Waters. Disneyland utilizes RNs for their first aid and have contracted with the city to base paramedics out of Downtown Disney) was a coworker of mine. I was called out of the blue one day (I got off from the ambulance job early because my partner had called off) to come in and cover for a few hours since the park's EMT-B didn't show up for the afternoon shift. I never actually imagined that I'd end up working at a water park before that call.

    First off, if you want to work an amusement park (Knotts, Wild Rivers, Raging Waters, etc), you need to have some sort of ambulance experience (911 or transport). It's imperative to have some sort of perspective on evaluating patients. Unlike on an ambulance where you have the luxury of always ending up at an ER, you won't at an amusement park. You cannot backboard every person who walks in complaining of back pain, for example. You are not going to be calling an ambulance for every person that is suffering from heat exaustion or mild dehydration. On the same token, you need to know when a patient NEEDS to go to the hospital or NEEDS to follow up with their PMD. This isn't exactly as simple as it sounds.

    95% of my patients just needed a band aid and a kiss on the boo boo (figuratively speaking), including some that really don't need a band aid at all. Some of these patients are going to ask if they need stitches, be honest if they do. The next 4.9999 percent just need a bottle of water/gator aid (never had a problem getting them for a guest) and a chance to lay down in the air conditioning or just need an icepack following a fall. In 2 summers of working there, I had to call an ambulance 3 times, all within 2 weeks. 1 was for a women who cracked her head open and was more freaked out than anything else (911), 1 employee tripped in food services and ended up breaking her wrist (non-emergent ambulance transport), and a child hit her head coming off of a kiddy slide (911 due to confusion and 'fainting spells' [know when you're really drowsy and your trying to stay awake so you basically end up bobbing your head as you catch yourself falling asleep? It looked like that]. Symptoms cleared up in the 5 or so minutes it took fire to arrive and the parents ended up AMA'ing). I'd say that an ambulance is called about 1-2 times a month, which isn't bad with an average of 5,000 guests visiting the park everyday.

    I honestly had more support and supplies (AED, for example) at the water park than on the ambulance. I never really had any problems with my treatment decisions or the 3 times I needed an ambulance (technically speaking, the senior aquatics manager [basically the person in charge of the park at the time] "makes" the decision to call an ambulance with input from the EMT-B. In reality, this is more for logistics (does parking know that there are emergency units inbound that they need to direct to operations, is the patient going to be able to moved to the operations office/break area or will the responding medics and basics need to be escorted through the park to first aid?) than anything else.).

    The other thing that you need to be able to do that isn't really taught well in basic school is documentation. While most patients only 'need' an entry in the "bandaid log" (name, age, time, location, CC (ex: cut to ____), and treatment (ex cleaned, antibiotic gel, band aid, tape). 'Major' incidents (especially if it involves a ride. "Major" doesn't necessarily mean ambulance either) utilize a separate form that's similar to an ambulance PCR. These are important for making sure that the rides are running properly as well as other incidents (I had at least one incident that was a person looking for a law suite).

    The second way to get a job is to simply apply. Apply early, though, (at least a month before the park opens), because the schedule gets set pretty early. With only 1-2 shifts (my first summer the days were split into 2 5.5 hour shifts. The second summer it was 1 11 hour shift. The shifts are due to the parks hours of operation, hence the weird hours), there aren't that many shifts in a summer. All of the EMT's contact information (phone and email. There was only 5-6 EMTs employed and 2-3 people had 90% of the shifts. This was mostly due to availability, especially since this is a second job for most people) went out with the schedule, so if you needed a day off after the schedule was made you contacted everyone else to see if someone could cover/swap before contacting the supervisor.

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