Citizen trying to help my 22 FF career dept prove to doubting townspeople that current 24 hr XoXooooo shifts uses less people and is better than 8 hr shifts. I've found a nbr of sites/forums that have some good replies to this topic which I've extracted to a summary document. I recall seeing a great reply to a forum post (I think on this site) that mathematically showed how 8 hr shifts needs more staff to get same coverage but that was a few months ago and can't find it now (tried for a few hrs!)
It's a New England dept using 4 shifts of 6/6/5/5 (two are 1 FF short) so 22 FF total. We have a fair amount of call-backs due to distance to hospital so they are on primary/alternate call on two of their 5 day off period. I don't know how many actual hrs of OT are used in a year but it's enough so that OT is $500K+ total and of concern to many in town. So some are asking: wouldn't we have less OT on 8 hr shifts?
I've seen other places where it's stated that that would cause even more OT due to two more shift changes which may result in hold-overs. And that 8 hr shifts work well for PD work but not for FD work. And a nbr of other good reasons why it's not practical...But..I'd like to find that thread that showed by pure math how it needs more FF or have someone post similar. I've tried to compute myself but must be missing something because I'm not getting the 20%-40% more staff I've seen mentioned.
I do not yet know how/when OT is triggered in our dept and that may be key to this. I know about the 56 hr FSLA rule but we have 42 hrs per 7 day (48 per 8 day) period so not sure it works. We apparently don't deviate from the std XoXooooo scheme at any time except for vacations.
Thanks for any help!!
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03-06-2013, 11:45 PM #1
- Join Date
- Oct 2011
- FL & MA
Help me prove 8 hr shifts require more FF's than 24 hr ones
03-07-2013, 11:35 AM #2
I'll let some of the more math minded people respond, but there used to be an excellent shift scheduling calculator at http://www.shift-schedule-design.com...calculator.htm that seems to have been removed. In my last job we used it to prove to our city council that going to 8 hour shifts would indeed require hiring a LOT more people. That's not saying it couldn't be done without hiring more people. This same calculator showed that if we wanted to try to go to 8 hour shifts with existing staff, it could be done. The problem was that we were going to have to pay out a bunch of overtime to make it happen. Everyone would have to get something like 16 hours of guaranteed overtime per week. When the council saw those numbers, they didn't ask about it again. Maybe somebody else knows of a similar scheduling calculator?
Where they always try to get you on the 8 hour shift argument is saying that you don't need a full staff in the middle of the night. Apparently they think we should just send everyone home at night and take our chances.
03-08-2013, 02:54 AM #3
It's a three platoon system, vs the four platoon system you're apparently using now.
Probably the first question you need to ask is how many hours are your firefighters going to work a week?
Your current schedule runs 2190 hours a year - slightly over the 2080 often used for an 8 hour/5 day workweek.
With your current schedule, you have the whole platoon together every day they work, save vacations, sick time and the like. If we assume that each firefighter gets two weeks vacation, and never more than one firefighter off on a given day, that means you have only 10 or 12 weeks through the year that you're short one person on a shift.
With an eight hour day, one can reasonably assume that each firefighter will have two days off each week. That means with your current manning that you will be short one or two firefighters every day on every shift.
That would also mean that you would need at least eight people per platoon in order to assure minimum manning of six. Your 22 firefighters just became 24 (maybe 23), and you still have all the holdover and call-in issues that have already been discussed.
8 8 8 8 8 x x Eight firefighters working 5x2
x 8 8 8 8 8 x
x x 8 8 8 8 8
8 x x 8 8 8 8
8 8 x x 8 8 8
8 8 8 x x 8 8
8 8 8 8 x x 8
8 8 8 8 8 x x
6 6 6 6 6 5 5 Staffing per shift.
Maybe my math is off (corrections gladly accepted), but it makes sense to me at almost 2 AM...
Last edited by tree68; 03-08-2013 at 03:00 AM.Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.
Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.
03-08-2013, 11:24 AM #4
- Join Date
- Aug 2007
You currently work a 1 on/1 off/1 on/5 off work cycle, correct?
What is your minimum staffing?
I assume you are currently "salaried" for your normal work schedule and don't specifically get paid "OT" for any of your regular work hours currently, correct?
If you work time outside of your normal schedule, are you paid OT rate for all of that time?
Holdover time is paid at OT rate?
03-08-2013, 02:03 PM #5
- Join Date
- Nov 2009
Here is a paper on twelve hour schedule
Might check with Nfa to see if they have any other papers
Not sure if this helps;;
03-08-2013, 06:45 PM #6
- Join Date
- Aug 2007
Some quick numbers for you......
You currently work a 4 platoon system using 24 hour shifts. It takes 8 weeks to cycle thru that schedule and the average hours per week is 42 hours.
Moving to 8 hours shifts would likely result in a 40 hour work week since everybody would likely be working a 5 on / 2 off schedule. The 4 platoon system would be retained with 1 shift working daylight, 1 working evening, 1 working overnight and 1 working a mix of all three. However, this would leave an 8 hour period each week needing covered. There are basically two options to cover that 1) part-time employees or 2) fill with overtime. Option one absolutely requires the department to hire more personnel if you don't already have part-time personnel.
Additionally, when shifting to the 40-hour work week, everybody is losing 2 hours of work each week. Does this amount to the loss of 2 hours of wages each week if the same hourly rate is maintained or does the hourly rate get adjusted to maintain the same annual salary?
Let's assume that all of the normal work hours in your current schedule are paid at the same hourly rate. At $20/hr, the cost to staff one position each day for an entire week is $3360.00.
If the hourly rate is the same for the 40-hour schedule and OT is used to fill the 8 hour gap, the cost to staff one position each day for an entire week would be $3440.00. An approximately 2.3% increase in cost.
If the annual salary is maintained, then the hourly rate for the 40-hour schedule would be $21/hr. The cost to staff one position each day for an entire week in that situation would be $3612.00 An approximately 7.5% increase in cost.
For the most part, vacation and sick time between the two schedules should be a wash.
What should be pretty clear with this basic example, is that the 40-hour schedule will cost more overall. It requires either more personnel or paying existing personnel more to work the same number of hours they do now. Part-time employees do come with a cost other than wages. Things like PPE/uniform costs, insurance, training, etc. could offset any savings from paying them a reduced wage. Using the existing staff and paying them to cover the gap in that schedule will cost more overall.
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