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  1. #1
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    Default Shift Reorganization (WTF)

    I work in a 57 member 3 station department. We have very few disiplinary problems, motivated duty crews and good overall performance (training, calls, inspections etc..). Our new Chief (one month) has been talked into breaking up all of the current crews and reassigning the personel amongst the shifts. It's my opinion that the longer a dedicated crew works together, the more effective and safe they become. If we had major interpersonal problems and overall shift disfunction, I'd be in favor of a major rework. What are your opinions on crew integrity and the value of shift reorganizations like this.


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    Early Adopter cozmosis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TucksMedicAided View Post
    I work in a 57 member 3 station department. We have very few disiplinary problems, motivated duty crews and good overall performance (training, calls, inspections etc..). Our new Chief (one month) has been talked into breaking up all of the current crews and reassigning the personel amongst the shifts. It's my opinion that the longer a dedicated crew works together, the more effective and safe they become. If we had major interpersonal problems and overall shift disfunction, I'd be in favor of a major rework. What are your opinions on crew integrity and the value of shift reorganizations like this.
    A lot of new chiefs feel compelled to put their mark on a department. This usually comes with a uniform change, changing the stickers on the apparatus or reworking the mission statement. However, a personnel shuffle would work, too.

    I support keeping the team together unless there are problems that keep them from being effective. When you work with the same group for a while, emergency scenes become almost intuitive. Members know what each other is going to do without having to say so. The relationships also help station life, which is very important, also.

    I hope your new chief trusts whoever is telling him there needs to be a shake up. Unless the new chief has been around your department for a while, he doesn't know the members well enough to do the reassignments himself. And if this experiment goes badly, he'll be digging himself out of a hole for a while.

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    Forum Member FF4606's Avatar
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    We went through this not too long ago. Nobody liked the idea of getting moved and most thought the same way you do. The longer the crew works together the better they will work together. I agree with this also. However one good thing came out of it. Now everyone knows everyone else and have probably worked together at some point. The nice part is that now when you get detailed or trade time, the crew you're assigned to isn't a mystery and it seems to be more friendly.

    What I'm saying is that it all seems to work out in the end.

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    Forum Member snowball's Avatar
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    It might be as simple as asking the chief to allow you guys to draw for assignments. Then you would have some say as to who goes where.
    IAFF

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    FF4606, I hear what you're saying, but with 3 stations and 57 members we all already know and have worked with eachother. Over the past decade we've arranged our crews to compliment eachother well. I'm not afraid of changing crew to a new crew. We move individuals often if we have a special teams need or a promotion. If I had to change crews tomorrow, I'd do it. That wouldn't effect the on efficiencies of my crew. I'd have to adapt to the new crew and fit in to their model. When you destroy the crew integrity there's a period of several months where everybodys trying to mark their teritory and the efficiencies are gone. And for what?

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    Quote Originally Posted by snowball View Post
    It might be as simple as asking the chief to allow you guys to draw for assignments. Then you would have some say as to who goes where.
    Most of our BC's and some LT's are afraid that nobody would pick them (for various reasons).

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    I support the idea of having cohesive crews that know each well enough to read each others thoughts.

    But there is something to be said for changing it up every so often so you do at least have a better understanding of how the others think and work.

    We tend to get "comfortable" in our surroundings, and that is when we also tend to get "complacent". It lowers our guard and then we wake up one day asking "What happened".

    So I agree with "shift reassignments" on a routine basis to keep everyone on their toes and sharp. That isn't because of me or for me or even because I have an issue with anyone; it is for them, and their safety. After a while, you should appreciate the "heightened sense" you will gain.

    My first responsibility is not to that firefighter, but to his spouse and children. He/she comes in second after that. If I and my officers do our part right, it is easier for the firefighters to do thier job right. But it must start at the top.

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    Since as fire fighters we should all be interchangeable the rotation idea is a good one. If you get into a situation where certain fire fighters on the team always do the same task then they lose the ability to do the other task. I agree that working with the same team all the time will build a better team. Working with different teams on a regular basis will make for a stronger department.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PaladinKnight View Post
    I support the idea of having cohesive crews that know each well enough to read each others thoughts.

    But there is something to be said for changing it up every so often so you do at least have a better understanding of how the others think and work.
    Again, we all work together regularly through shift trades and overtime, so getting to know one another is moot for us.

    If erasing complacency is the goal of the shift reorganization, how do we measure it's success? I've seen groups put together that increased the overall complacency (because they put a bunch of lazy ***holes together).
    I think complacency is best addressed through effective training and leadership. I fail to see how just shuffling the deck and hoping we get a couple of good hands improves either of these. I'm all for improving our organization, but improvements come with targeted changes not this hail mary bull****.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareCrow57 View Post
    If you get into a situation where certain fire fighters on the team always do the same task then they lose the ability to do the other task.
    This is a training and leadership issue. If a firefighter lacks a skill, train him to do it. If he won't challange himself then the company officer needs to step in and address this.
    It's becoming more clear to me that the reason for the reorg is to avoid addressing training gaps and poor leadership. Rather than targeting these issue and moving the department forward, we'll just shift our problems around and hope that they get lost in the shuffle.

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    Early Adopter cozmosis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaladinKnight View Post
    So I agree with "shift reassignments" on a routine basis to keep everyone on their toes and sharp. That isn't because of me or for me or even because I have an issue with anyone; it is for them, and their safety. After a while, you should appreciate the "heightened sense" you will gain.
    Define routine. If you know that you'll be reassigned every year or every other year, what incentive do you have to establish solid relationships with the people in the company and to assume ownership of the station?

    You say "shift reassignments." Does this include changes in platoons, also? I've known chiefs to advocate such before -- forgetting the impact it has on shift workers. On paper, it might just be a change of letter -- from A shift to B shift -- but in application, it disrupts holidays, babysitters, car pools and ripples throughout an employee's life.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cozmosis View Post
    You say "shift reassignments." Does this include changes in platoons, also? I've known chiefs to advocate such before -- forgetting the impact it has on shift workers. On paper, it might just be a change of letter -- from A shift to B shift -- but in application, it disrupts holidays, babysitters, car pools and ripples throughout an employee's life.
    This is what our Chief is imposing, platoon reorganization. As it is we move about once a month to cover a shift at a different station (on our own platoon) due to staffing.

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    If your chief feels the need to make changes, why doesn't he just move the officers around to different shifts. This would allow him to "make his mark", see who can lead and who cant, without disrupting the majority of his "men"s" family lives. By moving everyone around, he is really enduring himself to the FF wives, husbands and family. Sounds like a great guy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TucksMedicAided View Post
    I work in a 57 member 3 station department. We have very few disiplinary problems, motivated duty crews and good overall performance (training, calls, inspections etc..). Our new Chief (one month) has been talked into breaking up all of the current crews and reassigning the personel amongst the shifts. It's my opinion that the longer a dedicated crew works together, the more effective and safe they become. If we had major interpersonal problems and overall shift disfunction, I'd be in favor of a major rework. What are your opinions on crew integrity and the value of shift reorganizations like this.
    What is the reason that the Chief has given?

    What is the general feeling of the moves by the rest of the department?

    If the Chief is doing it just to make a remarkable change to signify his/her legacy of being Chief, then I say it's wrong. Don't fix something that isn't broke. Maybe the brass sees something different? Have both sides sat down and talked about it? Maybe the Chief sees stations and shifts with lazy people and motivated people, maybe he sees experience is lopsided and wants to get a good mix of new vs. seasoned people? Is it a part of a reorganization for either more or less personnel?

    Need more to the story.
    Jason Knecht
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    Quote Originally Posted by TucksMedicAided View Post
    Most of our BC's and some LT's are afraid that nobody would pick them (for various reasons).
    Believe me, you're not alone there brother.
    IAFF

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    Quote Originally Posted by BULL321 View Post
    If your chief feels the need to make changes, why doesn't he just move the officers around to different shifts. This would allow him to "make his mark", see who can lead and who cant, without disrupting the majority of his "men"s" family lives. By moving everyone around, he is really enduring himself to the FF wives, husbands and family. Sounds like a great guy.
    I don't think he's a tyrant (yet). I think he's just one of those guys who lives in front of a speadsheet and calls it leadership. He's our fifth chief in seven years (not as fun as it sounds ), so part of my exasperation is that I'm just tired of the next, next great thing. I wish one of these bugel blowers would just come in, do their job and stop trying to re-invent the fire service . . . oh yeah, and stop F***ing with the firefighters, we're the one piece of the puzzle that functions reliably.

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    Although we weren't dealing with the exact same situation, we just added "shift bidding" language to our CBA to prevent this sort of arbitrary movement of personnel.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TucksMedicAided View Post
    I don't think he's a tyrant (yet). I think he's just one of those guys who lives in front of a speadsheet and calls it leadership. He's our fifth chief in seven years (not as fun as it sounds ), so part of my exasperation is that I'm just tired of the next, next great thing. I wish one of these bugel blowers would just come in, do their job and stop trying to re-invent the fire service . . . oh yeah, and stop F***ing with the firefighters, we're the one piece of the puzzle that functions reliably.
    That sucks! With 5 chiefs in 7 years sounds like your main problems lays with city hall. Best Of luck and keep your chin up. Just remember, They can't kill you and they can't eat you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TucksMedicAided View Post
    I work in a 57 member 3 station department. We have very few disiplinary problems, motivated duty crews and good overall performance (training, calls, inspections etc..). Our new Chief (one month) has been talked into breaking up all of the current crews and reassigning the personel amongst the shifts. It's my opinion that the longer a dedicated crew works together, the more effective and safe they become. If we had major interpersonal problems and overall shift disfunction, I'd be in favor of a major rework. What are your opinions on crew integrity and the value of shift reorganizations like this.
    Are you union? I'm guessing not. No one where I work can be pulled out of his house. Openings are bid on, based on seniority, three times a year. Everyone goes where they want, protected from interference from chiefs, not dictated to by them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Whocares View Post
    Are you union? I'm guessing not. No one where I work can be pulled out of his house. Openings are bid on, based on seniority, three times a year. Everyone goes where they want, protected from interference from chiefs, not dictated to by them.
    They could be unionized and still be having this situation. My department is unionized and we didn't have anything in place to prevent a similar situation from developing here. We've had other issues regarding the movement of personnel as well.

    We decided we should address the issue and shift bidding is on the way in the near future for us.

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