1. #1
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    Default A few questions for career FIREFIGHTERS.

    This forum has been so helpful to me during my hiring process and even though it is not over, I feel confident that this will be my year. I was hoping some of you could answer a few questions for me about big city fire departments. They might sound stupid but :

    1. What exactly are Shifts A,B, and C? Are they days or staggered times through out the day where FF arrive? Are some better than others?

    2. Does a large city department allow you to only wear one type of helmet? For instance, I notice Austin FF all wear yellow (plastic). Is that manditory? **Not that it matters. Just kinda like the look of black leather**

    3. What happens to a cadet, if by chance he is injured during the academy? Let's say for example he blows his knee out. Is he done? Does he get to continue once he heels? Is he covered by insurance?

    4. Stations assignment. If you live out of town, do you normally get assigned to a station thats the closest to you (maybe one thats on the outskirts of the city)?

    5. Typically, do new recruits want to go to the busiest stations or just chill in the slower ones. I would want the busy one but do you find that others don't?

    6. If near the end of your shift you are called to a serious scene which takes several hours (lets say 6), is the extra time overtime? and how do you switch shifts in the middle of a situation like this? Or do you?

    These are just a few of the many questions I have. Thanks in advance for your replies.

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    Welcome to the board. You will find it very informative.

    1. What exactly are Shifts A,B, and C? Are they days or staggered times through out the day where FF arrive? Are some better than others?
    Most commonly firefighters work in 24-hour shifts, reporting to work at 0700 and work until 0700 the next day. On the average firefighters work a total of 56 hours per week (but since these hours are worked on a continual basis, firefighters enjoy a lot of time off). On the average firefighters work (10) 24-hour shifts each month, leaving them to enjoy 20 days each month where his is off-duty.
    (Some departments on the East Coast work 8 and 12 hour shifts, the 24-hour shift is by far the most common shift schedule.)
    If a firefighter is assigned to work a particular day that conflicts with a family event or vacation he is allowed to have another firefighter cover his shift. "Shift trades" are common practice in the fire station and do not affect the department in any way as each firefighter covers for the other and no overtime is generated. Records are kept by the firefighters and trades are repaid on the honor system.
    In the 24-hour shift schedule each fire station has three different identical shifts assigned, designated as A, B and C shift. Each shift has the exact same compliment of staffing assigned to the fire engine or fire truck. While there are some differences from department to department, the rotation schedule is very simple to follow.
    2. Does a large city department allow you to only wear one type of helmet? For instance, I notice Austin FF all wear yellow (plastic). Is that manditory? **Not that it matters. Just kinda like the look of black leather**

    Most departments have standard issue safety gear. Some wear leather and some wear plastic. The color of the helmet denotes the rank of the user. In most places yellow or black is a firefighter while red or orange is the officer. Many of us wear a leather shield on the front to identify our rank. Lastly, you may notice magnetic numbers on the side of the helmet. These identify the rig the firefighter is assigned to. Since we work overtime at other stations, they are magnetic and we switch them out when working at different stations.

    3. What happens to a cadet, if by chance he is injured during the academy? Let's say for example he blows his knee out. Is he done? Does he get to continue once he heels? Is he covered by insurance?
    The agencyís workerís comp carrier covers you. If the candidate can pass the medical exam after the injury, he or she MAY have another shot at the next academy providing the eligibility list is still current.

    4. Stations assignment. If you live out of town, do you normally get assigned to a station thats the closest to you (maybe one thats on the outskirts of the city)?
    Initial station assignments are generally random. Itís not the departmentís concern where you choose to live. Many departments have a seniority bid system that allows you to choose a station. This comes with time on the job.

    5. Typically, do new recruits want to go to the busiest stations or just chill in the slower ones. I would want the busy one but do you find that others don't?
    New recruits choose to go to the busy stations to learn their job. As a new firefighter you will constantly be tested. You want to remain sharp on your skills.

    6. If near the end of your shift you are called to a serious scene which takes several hours (lets say 6), is the extra time overtime? and how do you switch shifts in the middle of a situation like this? Or do you?
    Yes, you are paid overtime for hours worked. During a long incident that extends past the end of your shift, the oncoming crew will relieve you on the scene. You will drive their personal vehicle back to the fire station.

    Paul Lepore
    Battalion Chief
    www.aspiringfirefighters.com
    Paul Lepore
    Battalion Chief
    www.aspiringfirefighters.com

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    Thank you BCLepore,

    I've posted other questions before and you always respond with a lenghty and very informative answer. Thanks.

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    I was going to answer, but it looks like Chief Lepore has done a great job of answering your question's.


    BTW, B-Shift is by far the best shift to work on.
    __________________
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    Quote Originally Posted by AZFF25 View Post
    I was going to answer, but it looks like Chief Lepore has done a great job of answering your question's.


    BTW, B-Shift is by far the best shift to work on.
    A shift is better....

    My opinion on which shift is better is this: whatever shift you are on is the best. Me personally, I am on A shift. The gripes are the same no matter what shift you're on....For us, C shift never cleans and B shift never shows up on time...But for B shifters, they say the same about the other two and the same goes for C shift.

    For our dept, Black helmets are non-officers. Black with a green shield is probie FF, black shield means FF off probation, Red shield is driver (apparatus operator or engineer). Red helmet with black shield is Lieutenant, red with white is Captain. White helmet is any Chief (batallion, assistant or Fire Chief) Helmets are not a fashion statement, they help identify rank.

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    Cool The Best Work Schedule......

    I've worked numerous work schedules. The best so far is the 48/96..... Even at busy firehouses, where I've worked and still work it's an awesome schedule.

    I know that some of the Depts that are running the 8 and 12 hrs shifts are running 3 and 4 platoon systems. We tried to convince our Chief to go to a 4platoon system because that would give us 2 days of work with 6 days off..... OMG, what a schedule.....

    Luke, the main thing in this job (this is only my personal opinion) is not what you're Dept gives you (ex: days off, pay, equipment, etc) but that you wake-up every morning and give this job your all..... Keep the same passion or increase your passion for this job that you have as a Rookie/Probie/Boot (whatever you're referred to) even up untill you leave this great Earth. Trust me, you will have people that will try to discourage you, frustrate you and challenge you. Don't shy away from this, however allow it to show and prove your passion for the "best job in the world."

    And if you wanna get on the shift that burns...... Go to the "A". LMAO
    "Be LOUD, Be PROUD..... It just might save your can someday when goin' through an intersection!!!!!"

    Life on the Truck (Quint) is good.....

    Eat til you're sleepy..... Sleep til you're hungry..... And repeat.....

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    Thanks for the advice Mike.

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    Just be careful, the worst thing you can do for #6 is wreak your co workers car lol.

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    Cool No Problem.....

    Luke,
    No problem and the only reason why I brought that up is because the more Departments, large and small that I'm exposed to the more I see this happening. It's starting to become socially acceptable in our great service, and I feel this is unacceptable. One of my career goals is to change this and reverse what I see as part of the coulture of this great job.

    Well be safe ya' all....... Smile........... And for heaven's sake, have fun.....
    "Be LOUD, Be PROUD..... It just might save your can someday when goin' through an intersection!!!!!"

    Life on the Truck (Quint) is good.....

    Eat til you're sleepy..... Sleep til you're hungry..... And repeat.....

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    Luke,

    I believe you are currently in AFD's process so why not stop by a station or 2 and find out a little more from one of us. Heck, if you take me to lunch I will give you all the info you asked for. And the advice of mikeyboy is hands down some of the best you will get. And I know Chief Lepore personally and any advice from him is sound.

    Just do the right thing, and treat others the way you want to be treated and this will be the best career you ever dreamed of. Everyday I go to work I feel like I won the lottery, but lottery winners don't usually get to ride around in big red trucks, so we have it even better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by truckmonkey42 View Post
    Luke,

    I believe you are currently in AFD's process so why not stop by a station or 2 and find out a little more from one of us. Heck, if you take me to lunch I will give you all the info you asked for. And the advice of mikeyboy is hands down some of the best you will get. And I know Chief Lepore personally and any advice from him is sound.

    Just do the right thing, and treat others the way you want to be treated and this will be the best career you ever dreamed of. Everyday I go to work I feel like I won the lottery, but lottery winners don't usually get to ride around in big red trucks, so we have it even better.
    Yes I am and I'm very optimistic. I haven't been to a station yet and I kinda feel weird just dropping by. I have so many questions and am eager to get started. I live in San Antonio and have been bouncing back and forth to Austin taking tests and dropping off paperwork. I only know one Austin Firefighter, who I'm sure you know, and he has been filling me in on a few details. Once I know for sure that I'm in, I'll look you up. How would I contact you?

    BTW, Luke / Quintin are the names of my two little boys. I'm assuming your first name isn't Truck. LOL

    Is Chief Lapore from Austin?
    Last edited by lukequintin; 06-22-2008 at 12:23 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lukequintin View Post
    Is Chief Lapore from Austin?
    Battalion Chief Paul Lepore work's for Long Beach (CA) Fire Department.
    __________________
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    Hello,

    For us we have RED, BLUE, GREEN shifts


    One on, one off, one on , one off, one on, four days off. So the other shifts *colors) work the days our shif is off. It just rotates and rotates for ever.

    !

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    Talking

    In my department, there's an A and B shift only for one reason: So C shift doesn't have to work everyday.

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    Here's another:

    Once you've been assigned to a particular firehouse, what determines how long you stay there? As a probie, are you moved around every so often to get better exposure to other parts of the city and to experience different situations? Is it yearly or is it common for a FF to stay at the same house for half his career?


    Also, how many firefighters work at one house? Including all three shifts? It probally depends on the city and size of the house, but lets say a city was building a new station (average size), how many firefighters would they need to fully staff the new house?

    Again, thank you for shedding some light...

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    I will say once again, stop by a firehouse (I think you live in SA right?) with a 1/2 gallon of Blue Bell and ask the FF's the questions you have asked on the forum. Heck I have given you a open invite to have lunch with me sometime to get an insight. Forums are great but in person means more. PM me through here if you want to set something up or I can point you to some good houses in SA.

    The questions you are asking are easy to answer but I think you would get better results from someone in person. Show a little initiative and it goes a long way.

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