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  1. #1
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    Default Days off for religious observance.

    I'm looking into applying for entrance to the fire academy in the Denver area, and have some scheduling questions for anyone out there that can help. I am an observant Jew and am required to be off of work from Friday evening until Saturday evening for the Sabbath, plus a handful of holidays throughout the year. Are there any departments (even outside of Colorado) that will work with a schedule like that? Or is the scheduling requirement pretty strict? Like what I've heard "if you can't work our schedule don't even apply" (which usually includes days that are required to be off of work, even if occasionally).

    Is there anyone out there that can help? Thanks!


  2. #2
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    How could you work a rotating schedule if you have to be off during those hours anyway?

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    Once you on the job, you could make shift trades with others. I'm not sure how that will work in the fire academy though. Depends where you are.

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    I agree with what you've heard

  5. #5
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    If you are taking classes in the academy and you are scheduled for Saturday class/es then you had better talk to the instructor about making up the scheduled class/es. For my FF1 course we had mandatory Saturday classes that we were required to attend. There was no make up date for those classes so make sure you know about it before you sign up and pay for a course.

    Also just because you go to the Denver Fire Academy doesn't mean that you will get a job right out of the academy. You will be subject to going through the testing process just as everyone else. Once on the job it would be up to the department in how they deal with your specific religious background and needs.

  6. #6
    Forum Member FireEeyore's Avatar
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    Standard shifts usually include 24 hours on and 48 hours off, 48 on and 96 off as well as some part time positions may have 12 hour shifts.

    You will probably be working every third day . This is of course if you get the job. I don't see how this will pan out. It would almost be impossible to trade shifts that much. That's if the department would allow you to do that.

    Good luck

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    OP- Before you burden yourself, your co-workers, your reputation and impact your entire fire department with your religious beliefs, you seriously need to ask yourself- "Is this the right career for me?"

    Because I will be blunt and upfront with you, the religion and work schedule are not going to mix. Before someone says "Shift trade!", you need to remember most of the other department members have families and weekends is their special time with them. So weekend trades are going to be a premium and your co-workers are going to get tired of you asking.

    Seriously, long and hard. The two wont work.
    Last edited by CALFFBOU; 02-13-2009 at 03:01 AM.

  8. #8
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    I have to agree with Bou on this one. If such work schedules conflict with your religion than you need to forget about the fire service.

    The fire service is a paramilitary organization and like the military is working 24/7. There are many Jews in the military that don't get the days off, just as I'm sure there are many who work in large depts like FDNY.

    The way I see it is God understands our job and would understand that the job of helping others can take precedence over sitting in church. (that's just my belief though)
    The thoughts and opinions posted here are mine and mine alone and do not reflect the thoughts and or views of city or dept affiliation.

  9. #9
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    Thanks for all the input, its appreciated.

  10. #10
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    Smile

    JMO, but some of the responses sound rather harsh, and that kind of surprises me.
    Anyways, I'm Catholic and up until working in the fire/ems service, have never missed weekly mass or a holy day. I can't go now as often as I'd like, but I hope that God would understand due to the nature of the job. Yes, the scheduals will make it hard but that shouldn't be a reason to not try.
    I don't know much about other religions, but there should be ways to make it work. Maybe try talking to one of your church leaders and he can point you in the right direction.
    If you want to do it enough and have a passion for it, go for it!
    Last edited by brownsquirrel; 02-13-2009 at 12:37 PM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by brownsquirrel View Post
    JMO, but some of the responses sound rather harsh, and that kind of surprises me.

    Actually Squirrel, I don't think the responses are intended to be harsh, just truthful.
    We recently had a department-wide in service covering "cultural competency". Most of it was just the usual, let's push the political correctness down every members throat, but parts of it were useful.

    We have a large segment of Orthodox Jews who live in the city, and representatives were invited to spend some time teaching us, their fire and EMS provider, about their culture and beliefs. The observance of the Sabbath is a very important aspect of some members of the Jewish faith.

    If this person is truly seeking information about a career in the fire service, it is very important that they understand the nature of the service we provide, as well as the time needed in order to provide that service. They may decide that, based on the needs of the fire service that they may not wish to do this as a career. They may decide that staying true to their religious teachings is more important than a career choice. Then again, they may decide hey can make the schedule work.

    I was very surprised at the devotion that the Jewish community places upon aspects of their lives, with respect to their religion. This could be a very significant issue for a practicing Jew's religious life. I think it very important that this individual understand how special exemptions can not be made, based on religion, and that you must be able to be at work when assigned, etc...

    Different departments also have different policies on shift trades, vacations and work reductions, etc... and that even though there are trade possibilities, there are no guarantees.


    Best of luck in your decisions, TTU.

  12. #12
    MembersZone Subscriber dmleblanc's Avatar
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    Might be kind of hard to find, but have you thought about looking for a small, suburban or semi-rural department that's combination? A department that's mostly volunteer but has some paid staff covering just weekdays? I know there are quite a few departments around here that are set up like that. Of course, it would probably be a small department with not much call volume and little opportunity for promotion, but it would support having your weekends off. I don't know how that would fit in with your plans, just a suggestion.
    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"

  13. #13
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    I am also Jewish, but don't follow Shabbat. My question to you is why would you need off for Shabbat? Saving a life trumps everything in the Jewish religion including the sabbath. Therefore you wouldn't be violating Shabbat by working in the fire service. There is a Hassidic ambulance company in NY and they all work on Shabbat.

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