EMS Pilot Family Life Questions

JMK

Well-Known Member
#1
Alright, lets get this forum going. Answers to these questions should work from either the FW or RW side, but I happen to be interested in the fixed wing path.


1) If you don't mind putting this info out there, what is your family situation as far as married, kids, does your spouse work?



2) What is your schedule, ie. 7 on/7 off, 12 hours, rotating night/days?



3) If your spouse works, is it full time? How do you guys work out taking kids to school and what not with your 12 hour (or other type) shifts?


4) Do you think EMS can be compatible with younger kids or newborns if your spouse also works?


5) How long does it take to get an EMS job somewhere that you'd actually want to live?


6) Did any of you have kids while you were building experience for EMS? How difficult was that and would you say it's something you just figured out or advise against?






In case anyone is wondering where these questions are coming from:
  • Age 31, no kids yet but possibly in the next few years.
  • I'm still at an 8-5 office job that I don't really care about and never will, yet still undecided (or afraid) about changing careers. I'm not sure how much an EMS salary with a 401k would offset bailing on my government pension this late in the game. I've built up a little time and done a BFR during my indecision but it's still a damn scary prospect to jump off from the stable and known. I just don't want to do anything stupid so I'm trying to get all the info I can.
  • Spouse = RN, 3x seemingly random 12 hour shifts/week.
  • Interested in EMS for the 7 on/7 off schedule, being home at some point most days, and jets/airlines don't really do anything for me.
Thanks for any of your responses.
 

A150K

Well-Known Member
#2
Alright, lets get this forum going. Answers to these questions should work from either the FW or RW side, but I happen to be interested in the fixed wing path.


1) If you don't mind putting this info out there, what is your family situation as far as married, kids, does your spouse work?



2) What is your schedule, ie. 7 on/7 off, 12 hours, rotating night/days?



3) If your spouse works, is it full time? How do you guys work out taking kids to school and what not with your 12 hour (or other type) shifts?


4) Do you think EMS can be compatible with younger kids or newborns if your spouse also works?


5) How long does it take to get an EMS job somewhere that you'd actually want to live?


6) Did any of you have kids while you were building experience for EMS? How difficult was that and would you say it's something you just figured out or advise against?






In case anyone is wondering where these questions are coming from:
  • Age 31, no kids yet but possibly in the next few years.
  • I'm still at an 8-5 office job that I don't really care about and never will, yet still undecided (or afraid) about changing careers. I'm not sure how much an EMS salary with a 401k would offset bailing on my government pension this late in the game. I've built up a little time and done a BFR during my indecision but it's still a damn scary prospect to jump off from the stable and known. I just don't want to do anything stupid so I'm trying to get all the info I can.
  • Spouse = RN, 3x seemingly random 12 hour shifts/week.
  • Interested in EMS for the 7 on/7 off schedule, being home at some point most days, and jets/airlines don't really do anything for me.
Thanks for any of your responses.
1. Single.
2. 14 on 14 off. 7 days and 7 nights
3.NA
4.Yes and no (following scenario asumes you live in base. I do not live in my base). I know people who make it work, but they work opposite of their spouses. For example, spouse works days and you work exclusively nights.
5.Depends...The company I work for doesn't have many bases in desirable places, so many guys (myself included) commute in for our rotations from more...emmm...livable places. Air Methods on the other hand has bases in major cities and as a result have much lower turnover. The main operator in my home city Albuquerque, SevenBar, is almost never hiring.
6. I'd imagine the same as it would be at any other entry level jobs with kids?

In short...Think long and hard before ditching that gov't pension.
 

deadstick

Well-Known Member
#3
1) Married. 2 in grade school. Wife works full time.

2) 7/7 and day/night rotation is the norm, but it doesn't always work at this base.

3) before/after school care and Iocal in-laws.

4) yes, but you will still miss things. Save your vacation days for those "gotta be there" events and take family trips during your 7 off. Also, your 7 off isn't all "you" time. Meet your wife for lunch, or your kids at school, volunteer at your kid's school. Make up for the nights you don't get to see them in the morning or tuck them in bed.

5) Hard to say. My first base was 6 hrs away and I was doing 14/14. I'd NEVER want to live there. This is the case for many community-based AA ops because you're transporting the patients to the "big city" for care. The current gig is hospital-base, and I'm 7/7 with an 11 min commute.

6) "Building experience" is usually night cargo. You need single pilot IFR skills, 2000 TT, 1000 PIC, 500 ME and maybe turbine (not sure of that). If you go to Air Methods, you'll need a helicopter ATP, 1500 hrs in helos, and NVG time to fly the PC12.:stir:

Also, once you go to EMS, do NOT expect to fly much. You might only get 200/year. It's a lot of sitting around. Many can't hack that. But if you look at the pay per flight hour, you'll beat a senior A380 CA and sleep in your own bed daily.
 

gotWXdagain

Highly Visible Member
#4
1. Married, no kids.

2. 14/14.

3. Wife doesn't work, sort of in a 'finding herself' phase.

4. I know people who make it work.

5. Kind of depends on alot of good luck.

6. NA
 

Itchy

Well-Known Member
#5
1) Kids are 17/21. Not so much kids anymore.
2) 7on 7 off. (Ha! How's that working out? Not so much? ) It's 7/7 when it's perfect. Not so perfect all the time. A typical base has 4 pilots. Vacation, training, sick, folks moving on, yada yada
3) Spouse is full time. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right? Commuter to base...... which brings me to-
4) You have to live where you work if you have young kids. (Period)
5) Best get a job where you want it. Get hired there. Hoping to go somewhere else is a fools chase that may or may not work out for you.
6) Experience is probably best described as years in service, not hours in the log book, as they are very slow compared to any other job I had. Not a bad thing for me, I've got the logbook covered, but if your looking to stuff a log book, you are in the wrong sector.

I will say it is rewarding, often challenging (back side of the clock, full application of your skill set, etc.) But the key take away from this post should be: LIVE WHERE YOU WORK.
 

ppragman

Direct Yeska
#6
I have 3 kids - all under 5. My wife didnt work, she is now going back to work here for other reasons, but medevac with a young family is the best job in the world.

Medevac in general is the best job in the world, to be honest. It's mostly "not boring" you make decent money (you're not going to get rich but you're not going to be broke), and you have lots of time to do what YOU want to do, which is the most important things in life, right?
 

JMK

Well-Known Member
#7
Thanks for the answers everyone. I actually prefer living a bit away from major metropolitan areas for a number of reasons but some of the bases I see on JSFirm, etc. are pretty undesirable. @A150K the decision would be a lot easier without that pension for sure, I only have 6.5 - 7 years paid into it but I'm vested now.
 
#9
Many medevac bases are in undesirable locations because they lack services like hospitals. This is a real issue if you have a family and school-age children. If the Hospitals are bad, the schools are worse...
 

tlove482

Well-Known Member
#12
1. Married, no kids

2. 4 on 4 off. (2 day then 2 nights)

3. Full time but can work from home if there is a need to do something on a day I'm not off

4. Yes. Working only 2 day shifts a week makes it pretty easy to have time for the family and be able to split duties evenly.

5 Took a while since I had to build time first, but I had an eye on the company I wanted to work for for a while.
 

Roger Roger

Paid to sleep, fly for fun
#15
To that point, and Roger’s shop may be different, but most places don’t have any kind of formal bid but I’m sure your coworkers would be happy to trade shifts to get off nights.
Yeah, we don’t bid either, I just used terminology more folks are familiar with.

I did get a good nights sleep at the hangar last night while the Mrs was up most of the night with a sad baby.
 
#16
Many medevac bases are in undesirable locations because they lack services like hospitals. This is a real issue if you have a family and school-age children. If the Hospitals are bad, the schools are worse...
Yeah, I'd love to fly medevac, but g'damn, I don't want to end up balls deep in an undesirable corner of Arizona.

Love the state and I love living here, but there's not much in the eastern half of this state besides poverty. I see the fixed wing medevacs and the helos at IWA and have to imagine they're running a near daily shuttle between the PHX area and the reservations.
 

A150K

Well-Known Member
#18
Yeah, I'd love to fly medevac, but g'damn, I don't want to end up balls deep in an undesirable corner of Arizona.

Love the state and I love living here, but there's not much in the eastern half of this state besides poverty. I see the fixed wing medevacs and the helos at IWA and have to imagine they're running a near daily shuttle between the PHX area and the reservations.
Daily? I used to do 2 or 3 trips some nights...The flight volume off the rez is insane
 
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