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    Default duty shifts for volunteers

    Are there any department out there that have their members do duty shifts? Our department is struggling with getting members to respond to calls. There are the dedicated few that respond to all of the calls. Lucky for us that we run automatic aid with a nearby dept. It is a little embearessing not having your own dept. respond to a call for help in its own jurisdition. Any ideas for duty shifts, such as rotational, ect.

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    There are several threads that discuss this, I'm sure you'll be directed to a few as the thread continues.

    My current department has duty crews from 19:00 through 22:00 Sunday through Wednesday. Officers sign up ahead of time and others show up on nights that they can. People who live at the department handle overnight calls. We also make sure that someone signs up for day duty and that we have a minimum crew.

    My last department had assigned duty crews that had duty once every 8 days. These crews staffed the station from 6 pm to 5 am Mon thru Friday and for 24 hour shifts on weekends. Saturdays were for people who couldn't make it during the week due to work or school.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ehresq View Post
    Are there any department out there that have their members do duty shifts? Our department is struggling with getting members to respond to calls. There are the dedicated few that respond to all of the calls. Lucky for us that we run automatic aid with a nearby dept. It is a little embearessing not having your own dept. respond to a call for help in its own jurisdition. Any ideas for duty shifts, such as rotational, ect.
    One thought comes to mind...if you're having a problem with getting members to respond to actual calls, you sure as hell aren't going to convince them to sit around the station for a 12 or 24 hour shift, unless you plan to start paying them. You might get the "dedicated few" to do it, but they'll burn out on that pretty quickly, I would think.
    Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
    Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
    Paincourtville, LA

    "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream and I hope you don't find this too crazy is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
    C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

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    [QUOTE]One thought comes to mind...if you're having a problem with getting members to respond to actual calls, you sure as hell aren't going to convince them to sit around the station for a 12 or 24 hour shift, unless you plan to start paying them. You might get the "dedicated few" to do it, but they'll burn out on that pretty quickly, I would think./QUOTE]

    Good point. We ran a little over 1900 calls last year, fire and ambulance combined, so most of the time you can catch something. Other departments to the north run enough that people want to stay there to get experience.

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    LeBlanc already posted what I was thinking. In my opinion, duty shifts for VFDs are generally for the opposite of what you are describing---that is too many people responding.

    There was a recent thread (within the last 3-4 months) about a department setting this type of thing up. Search through the Volunteer Forums. There's lots of good info.

    Beyond that, you might need to dig a little deeper and look for the root cause of lack of response. Not enough personnel? People working out of the district? No accountibility?

    I've found in my VFD that the people who aren't making calls also aren't attending meetings, workdays, or training. Rarely is there someone willing to do all the "boring" stuff and not attend calls.
    Bryan Beall
    Silver City, Oklahoma USA

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    We've been running duty crews since the mid-90's and the system is not working pretty well. I know there were some gripes of all kinds at the beginning. Everything from "I'm not going to just sit at the station" or "You mean I can't scream down the road in my blue light?". Most that of that stuff has gone away though..
    Our system is setup with weeknight duty crews from 1800-0600. Each member is assigned a night based on manpower needs and personal schedules. Typically everyone will eat dinner as a crew, do some training for an hour or two and then have some downtime until 2300. At that point all but a minimum crew (4) can go home if they wish (some guys do, some don't).
    We recently added Saturday duty crews from 0800-1200 and 1200-1600. Members are required to do one Saturday a month and can sign up a few months in advance (or get assigned by the Captains)
    I think there are a couple key things that make the system work. We've been doing it for long enough that the guys have bought into it and most look forward to their crew. In addition, there is a lot of camaraderie during the crews and some good training that the crews put together. We run close to 2000 calls so most nights will get a run or two.
    I personally like the duty crew system. It provides a dedicated crew to get quick response to calls as well as providing dedicated time for training and drills. It also keeps some of the All-Stars from getting burnt out. The problem we had with Home-Response calls is that the closest 4 guys would get the truck out and everyone else would standby at station. The guys who stood by would eventually say "Why go on that call, I always miss the truck" and the 4-closest would then be "expected" to run and would eventually get burnt out.
    With the duty crew in place then the guys who aren't on duty know they don't have to come up for incidental calls. They can go out to dinner, watch a movie, and have a life without worrying about the pager.
    So you call this your free country
    Tell me why it costs so much to live
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    Arrow Requirements

    As mentioned above, there are other threads regarding this topic.

    Both of the departments I'm with have a requirement that a member must attend a minimum of 50% of trainings and respond to a minimum of 20% of the calls for a given period. I say "Given period" because this time frame can be different from department to department.

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    Default contact info plz

    Voyager9,

    I am quite interested in your depts shift operations as we are looking into enacting shifts in one form or another. Can you please email me some contact info for your dept at your earliest convenience at ffpcogs@yahoo.com. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks and hope to hear from you soon.


    Stay Safe

    Cogs

    To all,
    If anyone has or knows of a 24/7 shift rotation for an all vol. dept I would also definitely like to hear about it and would appreciate an email. Please feel free to contact me
    Thanks
    Last edited by FFPCogs08; 02-03-2009 at 09:37 AM.

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    Default crew requirements

    My department has a requirement that FF must schedule at least 20 hours of duty time and another 20 hours of non scheduled time. We only run 400 calls per year. We do have small pay per call program.

    We are manned by volunteers and 2 paid part time FF 99.99% of the time.

    Although out of our 50 members we only get 25%-30% of them participating.

    Older members don't really like the system, but the newer ones don't seem to mind.

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    Quote Originally Posted by D32950 View Post
    My department has a requirement that FF must schedule at least 20 hours of duty time and another 20 hours of non scheduled time.
    What is "non-scheduled" time?

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    Anybody have any experience with maintaining a minimum crew which is "on call" but not on duty? For example, we (like many departments nowadays, I'm sure) run a lot of medical calls. You really only need 2 people to go to a medical call. Is anyone out there using a system where certain people are designated as "on-call" on certain nights, whereby for minor medical calls everybody who's not "on-call" that night can just stay home?

    I was thinking maybe having 4 people on call for a week at a time, that way if someone unexpectedly couldn't make it, you'd at least get 2 or 3. Then when their week was up, they wouldn't have to run medical calls at night for a while until their turn came up again. Just an idea I've been kicking around, I was wondering if anyone else was doing something similar as opposed to requiring crews to pull "in house" duty. We only run around 350-400 calls a year, so most nights go by without any calls...I'm not sure we'd get any real benefit from making guys spend the night at the station.
    Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
    Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
    Paincourtville, LA

    "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream and I hope you don't find this too crazy is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
    C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

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    While we have mostly in-house crews there are departments around us that have their personnel sign up to be "on duty" for running calls from home. This seems to work well for departments that have 1) enough people living very close to the FH, 2) a call volume that is low enough to not warrant in-house crews.
    So you call this your free country
    Tell me why it costs so much to live
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    Quote Originally Posted by FFPCogs08 View Post
    Voyager9,

    I am quite interested in your depts shift operations as we are looking into enacting shifts in one form or another.
    Thanks
    What would you like to know?
    So you call this your free country
    Tell me why it costs so much to live
    -3dd

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    Quote Originally Posted by dmleblanc View Post
    Anybody have any experience with maintaining a minimum crew which is "on call" but not on duty? For example, we (like many departments nowadays, I'm sure) run a lot of medical calls. You really only need 2 people to go to a medical call. Is anyone out there using a system where certain people are designated as "on-call" on certain nights, whereby for minor medical calls everybody who's not "on-call" that night can just stay home?

    I was thinking maybe having 4 people on call for a week at a time, that way if someone unexpectedly couldn't make it, you'd at least get 2 or 3. Then when their week was up, they wouldn't have to run medical calls at night for a while until their turn came up again. Just an idea I've been kicking around, I was wondering if anyone else was doing something similar as opposed to requiring crews to pull "in house" duty. We only run around 350-400 calls a year, so most nights go by without any calls...I'm not sure we'd get any real benefit from making guys spend the night at the station.

    Not exactly what you are talking about, but we have an officer assigned to night duty every night of the week. We try to get a committment from another member to either provide a driver or EMT as needed. We also get committments for a driver and EMT during the day. Since 75% or more of our calls are EMS, this covers most calls. We usually have less of a problem getting people to respond for a fire call.
    Last edited by Eng34FF; 02-04-2009 at 09:49 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by voyager9 View Post
    What would you like to know?
    Right now like most everyone else, our biggest stumbling block is weekday daytime coverage 7a-5p. Do you cover those hours with volunteer crews?

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    Default duty time

    Quote Originally Posted by Lump532 View Post
    What is "non-scheduled" time?

    Members can come to the station any time they are available. It does not have to be scheduled in advance.

    We are trying to get 4-8 members 24/7. Slow going but getting there.

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    Default Duty shifts

    Quote Originally Posted by FFPCogs08 View Post
    Voyager9,

    I am quite interested in your depts shift operations as we are looking into enacting shifts in one form or another. Can you please email me some contact info for your dept at your earliest convenience at ffpcogs@yahoo.com. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks and hope to hear from you soon.


    Stay Safe

    Cogs

    To all,
    If anyone has or knows of a 24/7 shift rotation for an all vol. dept I would also definitely like to hear about it and would appreciate an email. Please feel free to contact me
    Thanks
    Cogs,

    I will send you an e-mail with some of the info I have presented to the members of my department. We are an all volunteer fire dept. Our station does not have living quarters, so our members respond from home or work. I worked up a schedule that had three rotational crews of 8 members and a schedule with 6 rotational crews of 4 members per crew. Still a work in progress.

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    Default Duty shifts

    Quote Originally Posted by dmleblanc View Post
    Anybody have any experience with maintaining a minimum crew which is "on call" but not on duty? For example, we (like many departments nowadays, I'm sure) run a lot of medical calls. You really only need 2 people to go to a medical call. Is anyone out there using a system where certain people are designated as "on-call" on certain nights, whereby for minor medical calls everybody who's not "on-call" that night can just stay home?

    I was thinking maybe having 4 people on call for a week at a time, that way if someone unexpectedly couldn't make it, you'd at least get 2 or 3. Then when their week was up, they wouldn't have to run medical calls at night for a while until their turn came up again. Just an idea I've been kicking around, I was wondering if anyone else was doing something similar as opposed to requiring crews to pull "in house" duty. We only run around 350-400 calls a year, so most nights go by without any calls...I'm not sure we'd get any real benefit from making guys spend the night at the station.
    Our dept. has recently tried the sign up for night coverage with the same members signing up all of the time. I have proposed our dept. do an assigned shift rotation. One on/Two off or one on/ five off. You can see my response to cogs. I am hopeful that the membership will come together and make one of these schedules work. I would like to also say thank you to everyone for replying to this topic. The info provided as helped a great deal.

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    As for our volunteer department we have developed a point system in which members responding recieve points based on there response. For example our Medics recieve 3pts per run and in November of each year those points are calculated and they are compensated based on the amount of points they have accumulated, (thanks to EMS billing) like other departments we have a minimum participation to trainings and meetings. With this system we have developed a duty schedule based on each individuals work schedule. For example several of us work a 24/48 hour schedule. We will then rotate our Medics on their off days (their 48) in order to cover our ems responses. and it is a 24 plus schedule based on time restraints and can be altered with other members if time is needed. We do not have a huge call volume so most days we will have just a few calls. We are not required to stay on station but are required to have a reasonable response time (with truck assignment). Our members that have a typical 8 hour work day usually take a 4 to 8 hour rotation. And is based on each individual and not a required time frame. Fire Runs are also included in the system but are balanced. EMS is based on training level. (all members recieve points).

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    Quote Originally Posted by ehresq View Post
    Cogs,

    I will send you an e-mail with some of the info I have presented to the members of my department. We are an all volunteer fire dept. Our station does not have living quarters, so our members respond from home or work. I worked up a schedule that had three rotational crews of 8 members and a schedule with 6 rotational crews of 4 members per crew. Still a work in progress.
    That would be very helpful, Thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by FFPCogs08 View Post
    Right now like most everyone else, our biggest stumbling block is weekday daytime coverage 7a-5p. Do you cover those hours with volunteer crews?
    We're a combination department so we have paid personnel on duty during the week days.
    So you call this your free country
    Tell me why it costs so much to live
    -3dd

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    Quote Originally Posted by ehresq View Post
    Our dept. has recently tried the sign up for night coverage with the same members signing up all of the time. I have proposed our dept. do an assigned shift rotation.
    We allow members to sign up ahead of time and then backfill the empty slots with those that didn't sign up. It allows guys the flexibility to schedule around their home life but also makes sure that everyone participates.
    So you call this your free country
    Tell me why it costs so much to live
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    Quote Originally Posted by ehresq View Post
    Our dept. has recently tried the sign up for night coverage with the same members signing up all of the time. I have proposed our dept. do an assigned shift rotation. One on/Two off or one on/ five off. You can see my response to cogs. I am hopeful that the membership will come together and make one of these schedules work. I would like to also say thank you to everyone for replying to this topic. The info provided as helped a great deal.
    My previous department had a similar set up. We had duty once every 8 days for 12 hours. This became very difficult to work with due to travel for work/ family vacations ect. Recommend that you have some provisions for people who have be be out of town or unavailable for one reason or another.

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    Well, One thing you can do is you can do like we do here in Tallahassee, Rather than sitting at the station (unless your county requires it) let them stay at home. That way they can be with there family. However Take your quaters of the year. Make a minium number of what your members have to do to stay active. Take my department for example, Our SOP's say that each member (not probationary members) have to run at least 12 calls per quater, thats about 1.5 calls per week. However our probies, the probies have to run about 8 calls or more per month, that however is so we can see how they perform. Now if they were to violate this rule what are department does is we give them a friendly verbal warning. If it contiunes to be a problem they are asked to either pick up there call volume or leave. If they don't pick up the thrid time its brought up..well say by-by to that person. Also if you do it this way you dont have to worry with them becoming burnt out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ehresq View Post
    Are there any department out there that have their members do duty shifts? Our department is struggling with getting members to respond to calls. There are the dedicated few that respond to all of the calls. Lucky for us that we run automatic aid with a nearby dept. It is a little embearessing not having your own dept. respond to a call for help in its own jurisdition. Any ideas for duty shifts, such as rotational, ect.
    The department I first started on only used a volunteer duty crew on the weekends; lasting from 6 p.m. Friday night to 6 p.m. Sunday night. Everyone on the department would be assigned to a shift (1-4) when they joined; this way each shift would be responsible for one weekend per month. As for the weekdays there was no problem getting people to make calls.

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