the pros and cons of shift work really depends on the demographics of your department and community needs. Give us some more details regarding your department size and type (career, volunteer, paid-on-call, or combo), community size and type (ie: rural, suburban, industrial, inter-city, etc...), current staffing levels and your desired staffing levels, and call volume (fire, rescue and ems).
I work a 24 hour shift with EMS but ours is 12 on shift at the station and 12 on call at home
this is a rotational 5-5-4-5-5-4 on-off rotation
it seems to work well but if you are busy then you can get pretty tired
Interesting, I am surprised that you are not already on some type of 24 hour shift. We are 107,000 population with 250 firemen running approx. 26,000ish runs a year.
I bet you will find that the 24hr shift, no matter the type, will be a blessing to your men and women. We work: on a day, off a day, on a day, off a day, on a day, off 4 days... I have also worked 24/48's but i really enjoy the schedule that I am on now. Those 4 days off are a welcome and it allows alot more time with family ( i live pretty far away from my hometown, so I can jump a flight and spend a couple days back home and still make it back to work without using any trade/flex/vacation time).
Good luck with your transition to shift work, It should be a welcomed change.
Michael Reinhardt said:
Thanks for the reply We have 220,000 pop mostly urban 195 full time personnel 4 platoon system runing 13,000 calls a year average
I have never worked 48-96 or the 24-72. Here we work 24-48 and it is a very good schedule. Here we are allowed as many trades as we want and nobody really abuses it because we would only be hurting ourselves in the long run. Of course we would all appreciate more time off especially after a tough shift running alot of calls after midnight, but we have to be very careful not to take our schedules for granted. We have to remember "Joe Citizen" who works in the privater sector and has a very unforgiving schedule. So, I would say that whatever our schedule is as a FF, never take it for granted, always appreciate your time off, and never ever ever throw it in the face of "Joe Citizen." Our schedules are not a right or a guarantee. Our schedule is a priveledge that we negotiate for through contract talks and the like, but we must never take it for granted.
Federal FFs in Hampton Road are thinking about going with 48-72 or maybe it was 48-96, I can't recall right now but I had gotten use to 24-48 (modified Detroit Plan) that any change would seem to me to be pointless. I'm not a Federal FF, at this point in my life, but I can fully understand not liking the 24-24 that they have now.
We worked a 48-48 with a Kelly day every 4 cycles. That suxor.
We now work 48-96 and I enjoy it a whole lot more.
The problem with 24-48 is you are getting back on your first day off. If you ran, you go home to sleep. Your next day off, you can't go anywhere or do anything that will keep you from getting up, bright eyed and bushy tailed.
I have had the opportunity to work a 24/48 tour and have friends who work 24/72. If the Dept that you work for is looking at this, these are the negative issues that I see that will make or break it for you.
1. Call Volume. You have to think of your firefighters and the community. If your firefighters are running so many calls that they cannot rest while on shift then the negative effects outweigh the positive. Health effects will take its toll on your staff if they cannot get the rest they need. We all need to live long enough to enjoy our pensions. If tired (exhausted) firefighters respond, the community does not get our best nor do we. We could cause injuries to ourselves just by being over tired and not paying attention. The fire ground is not a place to do things half way or half hearted. We could make medical mistakes if over tired. Costing the patient and bringing unwanted liability upon our members. You also have to consider if your members are tired after the shift, they still need to drive home and may lose a part of or all of the first day off recovering. Then lose part of the day prior to shift resting for the upcoming lack of sleep. Thus losing a great deal of the benefit you are looking to gain. (Many of my friends who now work 24/48 or 24/72 have moved great distances to live in better areas) Driving home for a tired member could lead to disaster.
2. Stress. All departments require its members to train and perform other duties. If your call volume is high and you need to fit in rest plus your other required activities think of the stress that it now places on shift supervisors who will have to deal with the back lash from the Admin staff when one or more of the required activities are ignored. Not to mention the missed training opportunities and inspections you might have to give up getting the rest that you need. Training keeps firefighters sharp and inspections help you to know your district and the buildings you respond to.
3. Staffing. Can your department manage the shift with the personnel it has without causing a negative impact on the taxpayers. With the economy as it is the fight will be on if the tax payers need to come up with more money for anything. Will you need to add members or will the shift change benefit unit staffing. If you are giving up staffing for the new shift who would that benefit? No one!
There are many positive aspects to the 24/48 or 24/72 so I figured if I brought out what I thought would be the obstructions to it you could work out the details and make it work for you department.
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