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  1. #1
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    Default volunteer shifts/duty crew?

    curious as to, how these work or dont work?, ideas on how to implement?
    Last edited by Hooknladr6; 10-01-2009 at 10:04 AM. Reason: new at posting


  2. #2
    Forum Member FWDbuff's Avatar
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    Many volunteer departments in Montgomery County Pa. (suburban Philadelphia) have duty crews. We have nightly crews that start at 7:00pm (many arrive earlier) and go to 11:00pm (Most arrive early and cook dinner and eat together.) During this time, SOP's and administrative details are gone over with the crew, equipment is checked out (5 trucks, one each gone over thoroughly every duty night, and they all rotate trucks so that everyone becomes familiar with everything.) A section of the station is cleaned by each evening crew.

    Overnight begins at 11:00pm. The Duty Engine Crew (only!) responds to single-engine responses such as alarms, auto fires, trash fires, etc. Tones are always dropped for any response, but when it is a single engine reponse, the message is "Engine xx is responding for an auto fire at XXXXXXX Main Street......"

    Anything that comes in that sounds even remotely sounds like it could be more than a single engine gets the response it deserves.

    This has been in place for years and it works beautifully. Every member is expected to take at least one evening or overnight duty crew. We do have some that work evening or overnights, so they elect to take daytime duty crews- again manning the engine for single engine responses.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

  3. #3
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    I have been on departments with very different versions of duty crews. One had 11 hour shifts and 24 hour shifts on Sundays. Each person was assigned to a crew and the duty day rotated every week. People who couldn't be on a weekday crew did Saturday or daytime duty. This kept the abmulance and 1 engine covered, but the assigned days makes it hard for people who travel for work or to take a vacation.

    Current department has sign up duty crews from 19:00 to 22:00 and separate sign ups for overnight and day duty. This makes for better flexability, but more work for the officers to make sure all days/nights are covered.

    The key to whatever scheme used is enforcement of the crews and flexability. Make sure that everybody understands the requirements up front and is pulling some type of duty. Also be flexabile enough to work with those who have shift schedules or travel etc.

  4. #4
    MembersZone Subscriber voyager9's Avatar
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    We've been running a duty crew system for almost ten years now. We man Monday-Friday 1800-0600 in station. Each member is assigned a night.

    We cook/order dinner as a crew, station duties, then some training. We try to get things wrapped up by 10 or so to let the guys get some downtime or work on other projects.

    At 2300 most of the guys are released and a minimum crew (4) is retained to cover one piece for incidental runs during the overnight. Others are encouraged to fill the remaining two seats.

    During the duty crew hours there are two tones used for dispatch: Duty and Task Force, and our pagers have separate positions for each mode. When you're "on duty" you're pager is in the D-position. Otherwise it's in the A-position. The duty tone is used for a single-unit response out of our station.. alarm system, investigation, EMS..etc and only those on duty are alerted. For more significant incidents the 'task force' tone is used and everyone's pager trips.

    Now that it is well established I think the system works very well. We get a quick response time to all alarms during the duty crew period. Just as importantly, we're running as a known 'crew' who know eachother and have trained together rather then the more dynamic "first six through the door"-mode used in home response. In addition, I think running things through a duty crew greatly increases the camaraderie in the station. There is bonding between the guys on a night, and some competition between the duty crew nights.

    We did have weekend duty crews for about two years. Two 4-hour blocks on Saturday to cover the morning/afternoon. These were based on a signup where everyone was required to do at least one a month. Overall I thought these worked well, but were much harder to schedule. These were put on hold for the summer since so many folks were out of town and we're in the process of trying to bring the program back in some fashion.
    Last edited by voyager9; 10-01-2009 at 01:32 PM.
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  5. #5
    Forum Member FGFD43's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Votunteers on Duty

    We have always had voluteers "pulling duty" at the station. We have two volunteers on duty every night and a daytime shift on Saturdays and Sundays. The schedule runs for four weeks. For instance, I stay at the night at the station a Monday every four weeks. We have done this the department was started 50 years ago. That is probably why it still works. The existing members expect this commitment from from the new members and therefore they expect it from the ones behind them. We allow members to miss with an excuse or if they are working (We have several members that are career firefighters with local municiple departments and thier schedule doesn't allways fit ours.), but in general, if some makes a habit of not making thier duty and contacting thier officer or partner, they can run the risk of getting voted out by the membership. This has always allowed the department to better its response times and makes us more open to the community. We now have part time EMT staff at the station around the clock, but our volunteers still come in handy backing them up on medical calls or providing an additional person to respond with apparatus. I feel it is a great way to keep members involved in the day to day of the department, not just responding the odd big fire or wreck, and making the members feel like the department belongs to them, not the other way around.
    Kevin Sink
    Fair Grove Fire Dept.
    Thomasville, NC USA
    kevinsink@northstate.net

  6. #6
    MembersZone Subscriber voyager9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FGFD43 View Post
    We have two volunteers on duty every night and a daytime shift on Saturdays and Sundays.
    Not knocking your system, but what do you do with only two people at the station? Don't they have to wait for a couple more before they roll the apparatus? Or do they take the truck and most folks POV to the scene? just curious.
    So you call this your free country
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  7. #7
    Forum Member FGFD43's Avatar
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    Lightbulb

    Most of our membership respond via POV so the guys on duty are there to get the trucks out.
    Kevin Sink
    Fair Grove Fire Dept.
    Thomasville, NC USA
    kevinsink@northstate.net

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