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  1. #1
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    Default 48/96 Hour Work Schedule

    I am with Longboat Key Fire Rescue located between Tampa and Sarasota, Florida. We operate two stations with 33 personnel, three shifts and run 2000 calls per year. We are an ALS transport service, which is a majority of our call volume.

    We're looking into the 48/96 hour work week and would like to know what other departments think of this and if it has worked well for both the department and the firefighters. Also if you considered it and chose not to go with it, why???

    Thanks,

    Paul Dezzi
    Deputy Chief


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    Forum Member snowball's Avatar
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    Work it, love it, and so will you.
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    We do 24/96, never heard of 48/72. What would be the benifits of it from the administrative standpoint? I know at my dept, 48's can be tough, especially to those of us with kids, but 4 days off straight would be nice....

    Swap time might be one drawback I could forsee.

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    As a consumer, I don't want somebody working on me who has been at the job more than 8 hours. After 8 hours you start to lose the edge. You aren't operating at peak efficiency and mistakes are made.

    Having said that, I know many places ignore the science and do the longer shifts. If you look at the research papers on this subject you will see that unless there is a lot of downtime it will be a very bad idea.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareCrow57 View Post
    As a consumer, I don't want somebody working on me who has been at the job more than 8 hours. After 8 hours you start to lose the edge. You aren't operating at peak efficiency and mistakes are made.

    Having said that, I know many places ignore the science and do the longer shifts. If you look at the research papers on this subject you will see that unless there is a lot of downtime it will be a very bad idea.
    Looks like someone got thier copy of JEMS magazine this month...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101 View Post
    I don't mind fire rolling over my head. I just don't like it rolling UNDER my a**.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GTRider245 View Post
    Looks like someone got thier copy of JEMS magazine this month...
    And is living in a dream world...

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareCrow57 View Post
    As a consumer, I don't want somebody working on me who has been at the job more than 8 hours. After 8 hours you start to lose the edge. You aren't operating at peak efficiency and mistakes are made.

    Having said that, I know many places ignore the science and do the longer shifts. If you look at the research papers on this subject you will see that unless there is a lot of downtime it will be a very bad idea.
    So you're pretty much calling EVERY municipality in the United States that has a career fire department ignorant?

    I don't know a single one that has 8 hour shifts. All that I know work 10/14 12/12 or the 24 hour shifts such as 24/48 or 24/72. Then you come to the 48/96. I am of the belief that it can work but it would be better for slower houses. I have seen guys do it in my department by swapping with other members. But as far as busy units it cannot be good. I know many of the medic units in my department would have zombies on them if they worked anything more than a 24 hour shift. I have seen this with guys on OT.

    Scarecrow, if you ever need an ambulance or a fire truck and it is career staffed, I guarantee the crew is working more than an 8 hour shift. And if it's volunteer, the guys on it probably just finished working 8 hours or more on their job, so I guess you're just S.O.L.

    Using the same logic, you shouldn't volunteer. You must be awfully tired after working your regular job all day. You won't provide an adequate level of service to your "consumers" if they were to have an emergency. So do us a favor and quit.
    I can't believe they actually pay me to do this!!!

    One friend noted yesterday that a fire officer only carries a flashlight, sometimes prompting grumbling from firefighters who have to lug tools and hoses.
    "The old saying is you never know how heavy that flashlight can become," the friend said.
    -from a tragic story posted on firefighterclosecalls.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by GTRider245 View Post
    Looks like someone got thier copy of JEMS magazine this month...
    I have no idea what the JEMS magazine is. However, it either has something do with Jem Stones or EMS is my guess.

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    Forum Member GTRider245's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareCrow57 View Post
    I have no idea what the JEMS magazine is. However, it either has something do with Jem Stones or EMS is my guess.
    Yup, you got it. Jem stones.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101 View Post
    I don't mind fire rolling over my head. I just don't like it rolling UNDER my a**.

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    Quote Originally Posted by IronsMan53 View Post
    So you're pretty much calling EVERY municipality in the United States that has a career fire department ignorant?

    I don't know a single one that has 8 hour shifts. All that I know work 10/14 12/12 or the 24 hour shifts such as 24/48 or 24/72. Then you come to the 48/96. I am of the belief that it can work but it would be better for slower houses. I have seen guys do it in my department by swapping with other members. But as far as busy units it cannot be good. I know many of the medic units in my department would have zombies on them if they worked anything more than a 24 hour shift. I have seen this with guys on OT.

    Scarecrow, if you ever need an ambulance or a fire truck and it is career staffed, I guarantee the crew is working more than an 8 hour shift. And if it's volunteer, the guys on it probably just finished working 8 hours or more on their job, so I guess you're just S.O.L.

    Using the same logic, you shouldn't volunteer. You must be awfully tired after working your regular job all day. You won't provide an adequate level of service to your "consumers" if they were to have an emergency. So do us a favor and quit.
    Pretty much, they adapted to these 24 hour shifts 150 years ago and kept the tradition. While the rest of the American work force got the sweat shops to end their abusive practices the cities somehow managed to continue.

    In the modern era there are numerous studies that show a persons performance falls off dramatically after 8 hours. The NHTSA has shown that a sleep depraved individual is just as dangerous as a drunk.

    I would also say that there are very few who could actually work for 24 hours straight. And when i say actually work, I'm talking about actively fighting fire, doing rescues, extracting victims, etc.

    My job is in cyber security, we are forbidden from working more than a 12 hour shift. And it is preferred that no shift go beyond 8 hours. Reason being they want people who are alert and not making mistakes.

    My personal opinion is that it is time for the fire service to come into the 21st century. However, the fire fighters won't fight for that change simply becuase they like the 24 hour shifts. I also believe that the situation is even worse when talking about EMS. While fire fighters occasionally find themselves in life threatening situations they rarely work on people. EMS folks spend their entire shift working on patients. Last thing I want is some sleep depraved individual administering drugs to me.

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    I don't see any logical reason to have such extended shifts. Its more of an artificat of the need for providing 24/7/365 service with as few people as possible - not something that most government agencies need to do. 8 hour shifts and 40 hour work weeks certainly could be done, it would just take a lot more firefighters to do so.

    I'm not as worried about this in regards to firefighters as much as I am about doctors or nurses working 24 shifts with no real rest periods at all. That is a receipe for disaster.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareCrow57 View Post
    While fire fighters occasionally find themselves in life threatening situations they rarely work on people. EMS folks spend their entire shift working on patients. .
    What alternate fanstasy world are you living in, really?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101 View Post
    I don't mind fire rolling over my head. I just don't like it rolling UNDER my a**.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GTRider245 View Post
    What alternate fanstasy world are you living in, really?
    Not a fantasy world at all. Understand that I make a distinction between fire fighting and EMS. To distinct and separate functions. 99.99% of the time you are one or the other. On a very rare occasion you may be doing both art once, however I doubt it. If you are providing patient care then it is highly unlikely you are doing anything else.

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    rarely? Maybe for you and your 150 "fire" calls a year.

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    There are a lot of reports out there on this subject that have research backing them up too. I'm not with West Metro, but I have heard from some of they guys working there that they have had success with moving to the 48/96. Here's the link to their report:

    http://www.westmetrofire.org/docs/20...final_4896.pdf

    You could always just give it a trial run to see what your dept thinks of it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareCrow57 View Post
    My personal opinion is that it is time for the fire service to come into the 21st century. However, the fire fighters won't fight for that change simply becuase they like the 24 hour shifts. I also believe that the situation is even worse when talking about EMS. While fire fighters occasionally find themselves in life threatening situations they rarely work on people. EMS folks spend their entire shift working on patients.
    What happens when these people are one in the same? You're analogy of cyber-security and a career fire job is totally laughable. Sure staring at a computer screen for 8-12 hours a day is just foolish. In fact allowing 12 hour shifts sounds like the reason cyber-security is an oxymoron.

    I'm not convinced my FD could pull off the 48/96 without restructuring daily duties given the number runs spread throughout the typical 24 hr shift and too few people to rotate completely off the bus.

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    OP- If you do a search, you will find numerous threads and postings on the 48/96 here.

    Also- There is lots of information here including Power Points, reports and a nationwide list of departments on the 48/96- 48/96 section at California Firefighter.com.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareCrow57 View Post
    Pretty much, they adapted to these 24 hour shifts 150 years ago and kept the tradition. While the rest of the American work force got the sweat shops to end their abusive practices the cities somehow managed to continue.

    In the modern era there are numerous studies that show a persons performance falls off dramatically after 8 hours. The NHTSA has shown that a sleep depraved individual is just as dangerous as a drunk.

    I would also say that there are very few who could actually work for 24 hours straight. And when i say actually work, I'm talking about actively fighting fire, doing rescues, extracting victims, etc.

    My job is in cyber security, we are forbidden from working more than a 12 hour shift. And it is preferred that no shift go beyond 8 hours. Reason being they want people who are alert and not making mistakes.

    My personal opinion is that it is time for the fire service to come into the 21st century. However, the fire fighters won't fight for that change simply becuase they like the 24 hour shifts. I also believe that the situation is even worse when talking about EMS. While fire fighters occasionally find themselves in life threatening situations they rarely work on people. EMS folks spend their entire shift working on patients. Last thing I want is some sleep depraved individual administering drugs to me.

    How about you just post stuff in the angry volunteer cyber security section of these forums and stay out of the career based threads. I'll even give you the shortcut to the section, just hit Ctrl-Alt-Delete and it will take you to where 99% of the members here wish you would go.
    IAFF

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    Quote Originally Posted by RFDACM02 View Post
    What happens when these people are one in the same? You're analogy of cyber-security and a career fire job is totally laughable. Sure staring at a computer screen for 8-12 hours a day is just foolish. In fact allowing 12 hour shifts sounds like the reason cyber-security is an oxymoron.

    I'm not convinced my FD could pull off the 48/96 without restructuring daily duties given the number runs spread throughout the typical 24 hr shift and too few people to rotate completely off the bus.
    You are talking about fire fighter/EMT. If a person does both functions they only do one at a time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareCrow57 View Post
    You are talking about fire fighter/EMT. If a person does both functions they only do one at a time.
    Yeah, like you can't be walking and running at the same time! Or provide cyber security while professing to know all about every firefighting topic.

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