Being diabetic, I am a Fire Explorer, and I have been diabetic since 8 months old. Is there any advice that can help me to get hired either on an ambulance or a fire department?

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We have no policy against diabetics in the dept.  But I know a private pilot who is diabetic, he just has to keep it under perfect control. 

There is no reason why you cannot get hired by a Fire/Rescue/EMS agency, as long as your DM is under control. I have worked with several EMT's/FF's who were diabetic and they functioned just fine. Don't let it stop you from realizing your goal.

Thank you! The reason I ask is because my friend that works in a hospital has a friend who is diabetic and an ER Tech who got a job on an ambulance as an EMT and 6 months later got a letter from California saying that she had to resign, because she was not allowed to have an ambulance license and shouldn't have been able to get one in the first place, and can't be a firefighter. She tried to fight it in court and still was denied.

Ben good question and to be honest it all depends on the agency you are looking to work for. Depends if they use a medical standard, and if they do does the standard have pre-disposed medical conditions that would disqualify you in a pre-employment medical screening.  Some places use the DOT medical standard like a truck driver or an ariline pilot.  Where I work we use the NFPA 1582 Part A standard for new hires and NFPA 1582 Part B standard for re-current annual physicals.

 

Then again I know many fire and EMS departments in the United States that provide no physicals what so ever, or they may use your personal MD to sign off on their health forms before you join or get hired.  The problem with this concept is the personal MD may have no clue what we do for work or the working environment / conditions .  

 

As to your question about helping you get hired. None of us really can.  It depends on the parameters like I said before.  As far as using NFPA 1582, Part A does not allow some pre-disposed medical conditions even if they are under control.  The thought behind that is you are going to be a firefighter for a long time, and we need to hire the healthiest firefighters in the beginning of their career, knowing full well we expect a long career. Some of these non-allowed conditions can become worse overtime and/or less manageable. That can be a safety hazard on the fireground or while driving apparatus, it can also become an issue with loss time, medical expenses, and overtime incurred while a person is out on medical leave.  That being said, our working environment does not allow for regular scheduled meal or sleep times which may have an effect on some conditions. We also have times of rest and then times without pre-warning alot of physcial exertion. Some have tried to argue on this board, that this should be considered discrimination, but I believe if you are not an employee and they are using a national standard, some medical conditions are not allowed by the law. Now if you were already an employee and the organization decided to implement a new medical standard, then the current membership would have to be grandfathered otherwise that would be considered discrimination because it wasn't a term of employment to begin with. 

 

The best thing you can do is carry on with your dreams. Get a copy of NFPA 1582, read it, understand it and then look at departments for which you want to work for and inquire about their medical standard and go from there. Best of luck.

This was a good discussion   http://my.firefighternation.com/forum/topics/889755:Topic:744765

 

Bill (FETC)

www.fetcservices.com

  

I think Bill does a good job of summing thigs up. I also work on a dept with FFs who are diabetic, with several of them being paramedics. The key is in managing the diabetes and having a grasp on it. It also helps to let your crewmembers to know so they can watch out for you if you start to become hypoglycemic. Most of the diabetic members I work with do have sugar supplements to take if needed, but nothing has stopped these guys from doing the job.

 

 I ask is because my friend that works in a hospital has a friend who is diabetic and an ER Tech who got a job on an ambulance as an EMT and 6 months later got a letter from California saying that she had to resign, because she was not allowed to have an ambulance license and shouldn't have been able to get one in the first place, and can't be a firefighter. She tried to fight it in court and still was denied

 

I can't speak on California law or what it entails, but I hope you friend continues the fight. This almost seems like a classic case of discriminitation and seems to go against the Americans with Disability Act and so forth. Just being a diabetic should not be a reason to bar such employment from a person, especially if they can prove to have a management on the disease. For your friend's sake, I would say to look up such a chapter of those dealing with the ADA or even the ACLU. Get these folks involved, who are more knowledgable, and perhaps things can change. 

 

Diabetes alone should not be a reason to deny employment, especially when there are so many diabetics out there who perform all types of work. I am not a lawyer, but to be denied licensure for diabetes seems to scream discrimination and while I don't hold much stock in lawyers.....it seems the state is discriminating here and a case should most definately be made. Getting the "big guns" involved like the ACLU, etc helps to define such laws or challenge the legitimacy of them. Such a case could be precedence setting and pave the way for other diabetics etc who were denied such employment.

 

On the plus side there are career depts in fire and EMS in states that do not discriminate like it seems California may be doing. But yeah, if it was me, I would be looking into a discrimination aspect....especially if it is the state saying you have to resign. If your friend challenged this in a lower court to get the job back, I'm guessing a reason it was denied was because they resigned. However, if it was the state saying to resign...yeah, that looks more like a discriminatory aspect and should most definately be challenged.

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