“Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they’re yours.”
– Richard Bach
In this episode, Chris Baker sits down with Rescue Captain, Justin Schorr, "the Happy Medic" to talk about what he's learned over the last 25 years in the fire service and why one of the worst pieces of advice is "get your Medic." While obtaining the license will get you on a smaller list when hired, there's a catch, they want you to work as a medic when you get hired. Find out more about what EMS means to the Future Firefighter and listen to this episode.
"Should every Future Firefighter become a Paramedic? In one word, Yes. EMS is the future of the Modern Fire Service so each candidate should have a grasp on their place in the system as they get hired. Paramedicine isn't for everyone. There's a lot of stress involved in not only obtaining the license, but maintaining it and, of course, being responsible for the care of your patients." (Schorr)
"When you get hired as a Paramedic, here's a hint...they need you as a Paramedic." (Schorr)
"In most departments, 70-80% of the calls for service are medical in nature, and if you add motor vehicle calls, instead of vehicle extrication and or vehicle fires, you are approaching 90%. Almost 90% of what firefighters are doing, is helping people without even touching anything on the engine, except an EMS kit." (Schorr)
"The best advice I ever got. They are going to make you jump through a lot of hoops that I can't even imagine. The best advice, I can give you is to jump through them." (Schorr / Orange County Fire Captain)
"I would encourage candidates to look towards the future and the future is what are we going to do, in our downtime between fires? Providing medical care for most jurisdictions is the biggest thing to do." (Schorr)
"I want you to want to be a paramedic. The trick about becoming a paramedic to get hired with the fire department, once you get hired, they want you to be a good paramedic. It is not just getting through the door and making the short stack of applications. They need you to be a functioning paramedic." (Schorr)
I didn't want to go to EMT school until I realized when the ambulance transported, I was the only help people had, and I thought people deserved better." (Schorr)
- "If you are out there in a fire academy and you are wondering, what can I do to get hired with the fire department? I need you to want to be a paramedic. Don't just get your paramedic. I want you to be a paramedic." (Schorr)
- "Don't become a paramedic just to get a job." (Baker)
(According to Rescue Captain Justin Schorr)
- There is a skill in being able to communicate with a patient. Find out their chief complaint. Determine the proper method of treatment. Establish a differential diagnosis. Treat, reassess, retreat. Those things don't come from studying a skills sheet.
- Fail now is my best advice. I love being wrong because if I am right, I don't learn anything. If I am wrong, I learn something, and I can change my behavior moving forward.
- Getting hired with the fire department is like the affirmation that everything you have done to this point was the right thing to do.
- Check your sources on information to make sure the information is reputable.
- Luck is just unrecognized confidence.
- Look for a system that is doing what you want. Don't chase a paycheck or a locale.
- There is always another hill to climb.
Top 10 things to do that increase your odds of getting a job. (Not in any specific order).
- Volunteer with the local fire department.
- Enroll in an EMT program.
- Receive your EMT certification (NREMT).
- Obtain your ambulance drivers certificate.
- Seek employment opportunities at a private ambulance company.
- Complete a paramedic degree program.
- Participate in a monthly run review at your local trauma center.
- Join a Paramedic journal club.
- Build up your confidence and rapport with patients.
- Attend local and or a State level EMS conference.
What’s Your EMERGENCY? The Podcast that responds to all emergencies on, and off, the job
Bach, R. (2001). Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah. London: Cornerstone.
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Justin Schorr is a Rescue Captain in San Francisco California, having served as a field Paramedic and Firefighter, Field Captain, Administrative Captain (CQI) and is ARFF qualified, currently overseeing EMS response for San Francisco International Airport. He has spent 25 years in the fire service and is experienced in rural, suburban, and urban firefighting and paramedicine.
Chris Baker, has over thirteen years of experience in volunteer, combination, and career, fire departments in California. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Anthropology and Associates of Science Degree in Fire Service Command, Company Officer. Chris is a California State Fire Training certified Fire Officer, Driver-Operator, Fire Instructor, and Lead Firefighter I Certification Evaluator. He has over nine years of teaching experience as an Adjunct Instructor in the EMS discipline, Firefighter 1 Academy Instructor, and Fire Science Instructor in the California Community Colleges System. Chris is a member of the California Fire Technology Directors’ Association and the California Training Officers Association. He served as a volunteer Peer Reviewer on the FY 2017 Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response Grants (SAFER) for both hiring and recruitment/retention. Chris also served as a Peer Reviewer on the FY 2017 Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) and the FY 2018 Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG). He is a Volunteer Advocate Regional Manager, Region IX (CA, NV, AZ, HI) for the Everyone Goes Home Program through the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. Chris also serves as a volunteer member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) Safety, Health and Survival Section serving in their staging area. He was a member of the 2018 and 2019 Safety Stand Down committees. Chris is a member of the Board of Directors and Public Information Officer (PIO) for the National Fire Heritage Center located in Emmitsburg, Maryland. He is a National Fire Service Instructor teaching at notable fire conferences across the country including the Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC) International. Chris is the co-host of the Fire Engineering: The Future Firefighter Podcast, and he writes blog articles published through Firefighter Nation and the Fire Engineering Training Community on mentoring the future generations of the fire service.
Jacob McAfee, MS, CFO, CTO, MIFireE is the Fire Chief of the Fresno City College Fire Academy and Director of Fire Technology Programs. He is a Deputy Chief of the North Central Fire Protection District. Jacob is a former DoD Fire Chief and has 19 years of fire service experience, where he has served in every major division of the fire service including Chief of Department. A United States Marine Corps Veteran, Chief McAfee served from 1999-2007 including two deployments to Iraq. He has worked for the DOD as a Fire Service professional for the Marine Corps, Air Force, Army, and Navy. Chief McAfee is a registered instructor for the California State Fire Marshal’s Office and the California Specialized Training Institute. Chief McAfee completed National Fire Academy Executive Fire Officer Program (EFOP) and holds Chief Fire Officer (CFO) and Chief Training Officer (CTO) credentials from the Center for Public Safety Excellence (CPSE). Additionally, he serves the CPSE as a CFO and CTO peer assessor, a peer team member for CFAI Accreditation assessments, and serves as a curricula SME and instructor Nurturing Fire Service Leaders Through Mentoring. He is the CA State lead advocate and instructor for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and currently serves on the professional development and education committee with the Institute of Fire Engineers as a Member grade. Chief McAfee is a published fire service author writing consistently for Fire Engineering magazine and Fire Rescue International and has presented nationally for ARFF operations and Leading Organization through Change. He holds Masters Degrees in Occupational Safety and Health and Emergency Management while currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Emergency Management with Capella University.