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I am curious if anyone has, or, is currently utilizing the 48-96 shift schedule? It has been brought up for discussion within our department. We are currently working three 24 hour shifts with a day off in between, after the third day we have four days off. I am having a hard time believing the concept of the "increased productivity" quoted in studies that have been provided by proponents of the 48-96 schedule. I have tried to envision working another 24 hours after working the previous 24 and I am ready to go home and catch some zzz's.

How does this work out for the single parents? I think it would be difficult at best to obtain a sitter for a 24 hour shift, yet alone a 48 hour shift. Seems crazy to me just to justify having 4 consecutive days off.

How do the spouses/significant others feel about this type of schedule? How does it impact overtime staffing, sporting event standbys, and sick leave usage? Do you rotate personnel off medic units for the next 24 hour shift? What about keeping up with departmental training, inspections and other activities? If a crew was busy the previous day (call wise) how do you accomodate that for the next 24 hour duty day?

Due to the Division Chiefs work load how do you manage their schedule?

Your input is greatly appreciated,

Jim Saladin aka (Captain Sal)

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Hey Sal,

City of Sacramento went to the 48/96 about 1.5 years ago with a inital vote of 60+% and a final vote of around 90% . We are a fairly busy department. I don't have all the details, but from what i am told. It has reduced sick calls, injury and overall fatuge. We don't rotate Medic personnel unless needed - but give them their "down time" to rest.. If you contact Sac City they have all the info.

Hey Sal,

West Metro Fire Rescue in Colorado went to the 48/96 a few years ago. I have not received any statistics on their program but I do know the did an extensive perspective study and have done at least one retrospective study. They may be able to provide you with more information.

Capt. Sal,

Take a look at this website, it should have alot of answers to your questions.

Thank you, I will check in with them.

I appreciate the feedback, it gives me some additonal information to work from.

Very informative site, I need to read the other articles that reference this schedule.

Thanks, Sal
The districts in St. Louis County work a kelly schedule consisting of 24 on 24off 24 on 24 off 24 on, 4 days off. We went to a vote to cosider the 48, 96 which was overwhelmingly turned down. I personally think the all of the pro's listed on the website are pretty weak. It may work great for all of the FF's without families at home. But for me, it was just too long to be away from the kids.
Hi Sal
I worked the 48 /96 for about 15 years in Albuquerque. I was, prior to the implementation, the biggest opponent, with twin boys under 8 and a third on the way, a lieutenant on very busy rescue and a paramedic, I was absolutely convinced it would be a social and personal disaster. To make a long story longer the vote passed despite my strong opposition and extremely vocal (there’s a shocker) protests and we went to the 48/96 after a test group cross section to the department test drove it.

I continued to make promotions to captain, district chief, commander and Battalion chief, Chief of training and Chief of Operations before my retirement all on the 96/48 all on the busiest of companies and districts. I was constantly reminded (another shockers) of my opposition to the 48/96 and I constantly had to admit I was wrong. For me personally and for the department in general it was extremely positive. But that is because the organization in general likes it.

I firmly believe schedules work because the group likes it, it is that simple. If you look historically at our service we have in one place or another worked every variation of the theme and they all worked. They worked because the organization likes the schedule, that doesn’t mean things can’t change. Hell things are always changing including our opinions if they aren’t then we aren’t living in the real world.

I would be skeptical of all the glowing statistics about 48/96 as well but I cannot point to any glaring problems during my experience managing companies’ districts, training or running operations that had any significant downsides. And trust me for years I wanted to find them wearing egg on your face for 15 years was not always fun, although it wasn’t so tough either. I would be equally skeptical of all the gloom and doom because after living it I never saw it.

I can tell by our post you are skeptical and that is good keep asking questions. I know my words do little to ally your concerns not every schedule works for everybody. The issues of single parents and child care are always tough; company officers need to be better managers and leaders clearly in regards to company related issues. But from one firefighter to another I can tell you it worked well for Albuquerque it worked well for me and my family.

I also worked in Texas as a chief and had an organization which did not want to try it and they are great firefighters as well. I guess I just want to say it was not the end of the world as I had predicted, and in hindsight I have to say it may have been the best thing that could have happened to me and department. But again your schedule will work if the organization the member want it to if they don’t it won’t.

Let me know how this goes with gas, commute issues and other issues which were not germane in the 1980’s I will be checking in with you if you don’t mind.
Thanks for a great post. Bobby

We are in the middle of a 3 month trial period for the 48/96 and so far so good, all of our training and inspections are done on the first day and callouts have been fairly easy to handle. Its especially nice with the price of fuel to drive to work and home only once. Our Chiefs allow us to sleep in (0730) if the crew was hammered overnite or there has been a heavy training schedule. A great source of info would be West Metro Fire/Rescue. They were the lead dogs for this schedule in CO and have lots of data on the questions you brought up

Stay Safe

President Local 4620
Our department works a 24 / 48. This is a well established work schedule for our department, and works well for families. Being a father of two elementary age children, and having staff members with children, I feel it doesn't work well in the family setting for fathers or mothers to be away from the family longer than that of the 24 hour work schedule. Some states have governing laws that prevent firefighters and paramedics from working longer than 24 hours. I would recommend you check labor laws and governing laws before switching, also concider what the schedule does to call backs and overtime budgets. Our local medical team does work upto 36 hours, however they recommend that staff does not work more than 36. Our Command Staff of the Fire Chief, Chief of Inspections and Chief of Training have scheduled 8 hour days, that turn into longer than that. We also rotate on Duty Chief schedule to respond nights and week-ends for Command Staff, we are excempt employees from overtime.

Stay save.
We too are currently surveying members about a trial of this schedule. For the most part, all the research I've found indicates reduced overall fatigue, more time at home, no effect on FLSA (same amount of shifts in a year), and so on. One of the biggest things we've encountered is some of our members are married to shift-workers on their same shift at other departments in our county. I uploaded a few files we've come across doing research. There's definitely a lot more info out there on the web. Good luck with your efforts whether you're for or against it.
This is some very useful information.

Thank you,
Jim Saladin

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