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My career department just went to 48 on and 72 off. We are a federal department and I am looking for anyone that is on this system to answer any questions of what if any problems did you have and what is working well.

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Several west coast departments are looking at and have negotiated a 48/96 shift. If you are in a quiet house, this would appear to be a workable situation, but if you are in a busy house running 20 plus calls per day throughout the day for 48 hours with some working fires, then we are going to see problems. In my fire department, as the Health and Safety Officer, the longer firefighters worked on continual shifts (up to 48 hours and sometimes to 72 hours); there was an increase in injury rates. Although we did not have enough time and subjects to make this a scientific certainty, I could see the trends of injury frequency increase. Those injuries were mostly confined to the lower extremities (ankles, knees and lower back) with the occasional shoulder injury tossed in. This created a burden on the firefighter for recovery and a burden to the department for staffing purposes that required overtime to replace the injured firefighter.

What was not studied were the effects on decision making ability by the firefighter on long shifts. As much of our workload is now EMS, it appears that sharp cognitive and decision making skills at o’dark thirty in the morning is a good thing. In a 2000 study published in the British Medical Journal, researchers in Australia and New Zealand reported that sleep deprivation can have some of the same hazardous effects as being drunk. People who drove after being awake for 17–19 hours performed worse than those with a blood alcohol level of .05 percent, which is the legal limit for drunk driving in most western European countries.

In the general scheme of things, good sleep is conducive to a healthy firefighter. Why mess with the odds of increased chance of injury, heart disease, diabetes or other life threatening conditions by ignoring the one thing that we do not have enough of? Our job is hazardous enough without stacking the odds against us and the sleep deprivation research indicates the same.
I worked 48/96 for several years in a busy house. We would work the first day at a slower house 5 to 6 runs a day, then the second day we would transfer to a busy house with 17 to 20 runs a day. if it was a little slow at the busy house they would let us catch a nap and that helped. but if it was busy that first day off was hard, some days you feel like the walking dead. but its nice to have that extra day or two off. after a while it got better, and i just took a short nap or went to bed a bit early that first night off. I liked the shift.
Joe, several depts around us do, I've seen mixed reactions. It has caused issues with training, by not letting all crews train together, on mutual aid training. The other day we had a covering assignment for a dept on a working basement fire in their town, no leaving the hose for the next crew and they had a bunch to clean. On the other hand I've heard from some of the guys that live farther out, they think it's great. For me I'll just drive in tomorrow in the snow.

Stay Safe, hope it works out Bro.
Jeff
I appreciate all the info it helping out quite a bit.
www.48-96.com They have lots of info there. This is where we went to learn about it before we went to the 48-96 schedule. We as a department voted to try it for six months before making the switch permanantly. After trying it for the six months, there were no votes to go back to the 24--48.

Stay Safe!

EGH-PFB
Joe,
My Department looked into 48-72 last year. Thankfully it has been tabled for now. Most the folks responding are from city departments and are refering to 48-96. They still have 3 shifts and work a 56 hour week. We on the Federal side are looking at 48-72 which is a 7 group system and we will still be working 72 hours a week. One of the big issues I have as a Captain on the Truck Co. is that I would no longer have a set company. It would be different people every day. Another issue is that I can see no fair way to assign groups. In the 48-72, 7-group system:
• 3 groups have every other weekend off. The trade off is that they WORK A FULL WEEKEND (Saturday and Sunday) EVERY other weekend
• 2 groups NEVER have a full weekend off, they work either Saturday or Sunday EVERY weekend.
• The other 2 groups are off 1 full weekend and work 1 day the next. 1 group never works a Saturday and the other never works a Sunday. How do we fairly decide who gets to be in these groups?
• Bear in mind that Captains, Lieutenants, Paramedics, and even EMTs must be spread out evenly. Cannot have too many of any of them working or off on the same day. Service Comp Date will only work for a few.
I have uploaded a document we put out here. Take a look and see what you think.

Stay Safe!
KPB NNSY Tower 21
Attachments:
Kevin,

Thanks for the info. We have started the schedule on a trial basis for 1 year and the majority of the guys like it, and a few do not. We picked on time in house and everyone got the days they wanted for the most part. We are a small federal department with only a total of 29 firefighters.

Kevin Burns said:
Joe,
My Department looked into 48-72 last year. Thankfully it has been tabled for now. Most the folks responding are from city departments and are refering to 48-96. They still have 3 shifts and work a 56 hour week. We on the Federal side are looking at 48-72 which is a 7 group system and we will still be working 72 hours a week. One of the big issues I have as a Captain on the Truck Co. is that I would no longer have a set company. It would be different people every day. Another issue is that I can see no fair way to assign groups. In the 48-72, 7-group system:
• 3 groups have every other weekend off. The trade off is that they WORK A FULL WEEKEND (Saturday and Sunday) EVERY other weekend
• 2 groups NEVER have a full weekend off, they work either Saturday or Sunday EVERY weekend.
• The other 2 groups are off 1 full weekend and work 1 day the next. 1 group never works a Saturday and the other never works a Sunday. How do we fairly decide who gets to be in these groups?
• Bear in mind that Captains, Lieutenants, Paramedics, and even EMTs must be spread out evenly. Cannot have too many of any of them working or off on the same day. Service Comp Date will only work for a few.
I have uploaded a document we put out here. Take a look and see what you think.

Stay Safe!
KPB NNSY Tower 21
Joe, Good luck with it. Let me know how it works out. I'm sure it will come up for us again. I am not against change but I want proof that it is a positive change. Guess thats how us "old guys" are. LOL
I am currently working a 60 because I took a promotion to be in the Prevention and Life Safety section. I was on the floor for 15 years and have workd about every schedule there is in the Fed service except the 24/48. I have worked the 24/24 kelly and the 48/48 while deployed as a firefighter in the AF. The Army post down the road works a 72/96 work week and currently here in our DOD Army department we are working a modified 48/72. That means that during some part of your 144 hour pay period you do a 48/48 every other week and that your RDO is at the end or the beginning of your three day. I liked it a lot and hopefully in a year or two to go back on the floor after I gain some more skills and knowledge from doing my curent job. We have had this schedule for over 4 years and at first it was a little rough but we pulled through and now I rarely hear complaints. It allows for shift swaps and longer days off and usually requires less leave for vacation times. I will see about getting you a blank format if I can find mine on the computer. I think it is a good move, especially when it comes to retaining people and it is a little less stressful knowing that you are not either coming or going to or from home or work everyday except once in a two week period.

If you have any questions feel free to ask.

Good Luck

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