Good afternoon from the jumpseat. I just finished a webinar on the effects of shift work on the average worker and was blown away. The amazing information about rotating shifts, sleep deprivation and dealing with these issues was an eye opening experience. With that in mind I had a few questions to ask you, the reader of Views From the Jumpseat.
Question 1: What is the schedule of your shift? I am aware that fire departments use varying shifts schedules. Does your department use a 24-48 rotation or a 10-hour-14-hour schedule? This is a interesting subject because when the first firefighters shifts were made I believe that the run volume wasn't the same. Over the past decade, with the incorporation of EMS into our duties, our calls for service have increased more each year. Is your shift still appropriate for your call volume or is it something that needs to be looked at?
Question 2: Does your departments allow for down or sleep time during the day for a crew that is assigned to a busy company at night? This can be a touchy situation for administration to deal with due to the demands of daytime crews. Cleaning, equipment maintenance, and training can all take up the majority of the day not allowing for downtime. This could mean to a responder that out of a 24 hour shift you receive zero sleep. This can cause many issues with performance due to exhaustion in the later stages of your shift.
Question 3: How does your shift work effect your personal life? With us being away and possibly awake for long shifts how does it affect your personal life? Does your family know that when your are coming off a night shift that you are going to bed? How do you manage your family life while functioning on little to no sleep? Each of us have coping mechanisms that we use to allow our families to not suffer from our chosen profession what is yours.
I hope to bring you more information about sleep deprivation and shift work effects in the future, but for now it's time for you voice to be heard. Leave comments, suggestions, and let's start a discussion on how you deal with a "a pile of shift" work.
Speak up firefighters...and thanks for the visit to the jumpseat!