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Thread: 24/48 Schedule Pros and Cons

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    Default 24/48 Schedule Pros and Cons

    I'll be starting my career in the fire service in a few weeks with a department that runs on a 24/48 shift with a standard Kelly day rotation. I'm coming from a typical 9 to 5, Monday thru Friday work week. So the firefighter shift schedule will be an adjustment to me and my family.

    I'd like to know from your experiences if the 24/48 schedule is family friendly. It sounds good in theory, but I'd like to hear some of the pros and cons from those of you who live this schedule.

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    Here's my take: my department was doing 24/48 for a long time. It wasn't bad. Like you, when I got hired, I came from a typical 7-3:30 (8 hr) work day. I was in construction. So, going to a FD schedule was exciting.

    However, I lived a good 50 mins from the fire house, so that first day off seemed like a day of catch up. I'd get home, usually take a nap, do some stuff, hang with the fam, have dinner, then go to bed. The next day was spent getting ready for work. Doing laundry, Getting lunch ready for the next shift, etc...

    That sucks. However, now, our department switched to a 48/9 schedule and all I can say is: WOW!!! It's fantastic!!! 48 hours is not as long as some may think. I'm driving half the amount back and forth to the station, and when I'm there, I'm there. It's a second home.

    Then, when I get home, I have 4 days off to do anything I want, including some side jobs or just get out of town. I like it WAY better than 24/48.

    So, in hindsight, 24/48 is better than a 9-5 job. But, 48/96 is WAY better than 24/48. I didn't realize how bad 24/48 sucked until we went to 48/96. Either way, working on a FD is the BEST JOB IN THE WORLD. So, if it's 24/48, at least you still have a fire job at the end of the day!!

    Take care,
    Pete

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    The first Fd I got hired at ran a 24/48 and every week that you would work 3 days you got another day offso you got a 5 day break every 3 weeks. I lived 115 miles from the fire station so it was okay with me to have the extra day off before going back to work. I sure loved the 5 day break every 3 weeks.

    My current FD runs the California schedule with 24 on 24 off 24 on 24 off 24 on 96 off. We run that continuously, not additional Kelly Days. So basically every 5 days you have 4 days off. I live 100 miles from this fire station so it is less time at home between shifts but far less time working before a chunk of days off.

    Frankly, either shift is VERY family friendly. Especially if your FD has a liberal trade policy. I can tell you while my 2 sons were growing up I rarely missed school events or their hockey games.
    Crazy, but that's how it goes
    Millions of people living as foes
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    To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    My current FD runs the California schedule with 24 on 24 off 24 on 24 off 24 on 96 off. We run that continuously, not additional Kelly Days. So basically every 5 days you have 4 days off. I live 100 miles from this fire station so it is less time at home between shifts but far less time working before a chunk of days off.

    Frankly, either shift is VERY family friendly. Especially if your FD has a liberal trade policy. I can tell you while my 2 sons were growing up I rarely missed school events or their hockey games.
    ZOINKS!! So between your off duty rotation you're round tripping 600 miles? Brother, that's a wad of driving. You should convince the boys that a 48/96 trial for six months to a year would be very healthy. I guarantee they will convert and you'll love it too. Especially if you're doing the Cali schedule without the kelley days.
    IAFF

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    Quote Originally Posted by snowball View Post
    ZOINKS!! So between your off duty rotation you're round tripping 600 miles? Brother, that's a wad of driving. You should convince the boys that a 48/96 trial for six months to a year would be very healthy. I guarantee they will convert and you'll love it too. Especially if you're doing the Cali schedule without the kelley days.
    Dude, 29 shifts left until retirement. It just simply doesn't matter anymore!!

    I actually used to like the drive, an hour and a half to wind up on the way in, and an hour and a hlaf to wind down on the way home. The schitt was the last 2 years I have been driving a Dodge Ram 4x4 with a 5.9 gas engine!! Now that is a ZOINKS!! Now I have a 2013 Dodge Dart that gets me about 35 mpg, the truck on a good day got about 13 mpg.
    Crazy, but that's how it goes
    Millions of people living as foes
    Maybe it's not too late
    To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

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    You family will be without you at night
    Some weekend days
    Some Holidays
    Some birthdays

    Just an adjustment for everyone, they can come to you on special days

    Once you have some time you can trade days if the dept lets you

    The great thing is days off during the week. You can go places with the family and they are not crowed.

    You have more time off do get things done

    And if you want you can have a second job

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    Biggest disadvantage of the 24/48 is that one shift will get stuck will most holidays for two years in a row. That is our "C-Shift", my shift. Random luck I guess, but most holidays follow a 3 day cycle. And that one lucky shift will get them for two years in a row because of leap years.

    That is not bad, I like working holidays... but sucks for my 3 year old daughter. Right now she can't tell the diffrence between Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, but she will.

    Also, your wife will have to become very self dependent vs. a 9-5 job. If the garage door will not open or the disposal clogs up she will have to figure it out, unless you live in your district. My wife experienced me deployed to Iraq for our first year married, so she doesn't even notice my absence for 24 hours now.

    24/48 is perfect for me. I don't want to be away from my girls for longer than that. Taking a vacation/holiday/trade/sick day gets you off for 5 days. Pretty cool.
    ~Drew
    Firefighter/EMT/Technical Rescue
    USAR TF Rescue Specialist

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    every day is Friday
    ?

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    The biggest issue you may get with the family is the wife will have to handle the kids at night when you're at work.

    So if you have kids you can expect the occasional phone call from the wife and get the "Here talk to your son" when you pick up.

    Otherwise, as long as the department allows shift swaps you should be able to make most family functions if you plan things right.

    Plus, as slackjawedyokel pointed out: every day is Friday! There aren't too many jobs with a weekend built in after every day you work.
    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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    Here would be my problem with that, it should be 24 on 72 off, for a 42 hour work week . That 42 would then be reduced to 40 hours though cycle time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by larry302 View Post
    Here would be my problem with that, it should be 24 on 72 off, for a 42 hour work week . That 42 would then be reduced to 40 hours though cycle time.
    Larry, I wish everybody could have a 24/72 schedule. The simple fact is that law allows for FF's to work a 56 hour work week (three shift schedule) before overtime. Therefore most everybody outside the northeast works three shifts instead of four.

    To be truthful, I am surprised at the number of FD's that still run a four shift schedule with the recent budget-cutting across the nation.
    yjbrody likes this.
    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 IronsMan53 View Post
    To be truthful, I am surprised at the number of FD's that still run a four shift schedule with the recent budget-cutting across the nation.
    Me too. I figure most don't know that they could.

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    Just get used to missing holidays with the family for the first 5-10 years, not all, but some. But then again, you can spend more time in total with the family, unless you work part-time too. You do have the opportunity to save up more, or buy a better home, save for college, depending on your needs/wants. When my kids were little, If I had to work Christmas Day, we'd just pretend it was the 24th, the kids didn't know the difference. The time goes faster than you think. Just talk with the wife and iron out what your priorities are, and who's going to handle which responsibilites. Good luck!

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    I have been thinking about this topic the last few days and last night the answer came to me about what shift is the best. It is really this simple, the best firedepartment shift is the one that the fire department that hires you runs. Seriously, I never asked what shift any of the FDs I ever applied to ran. I tested, interviewed and hoped I did well enough to get hired and when I did it was "OH YEAH!" not oh crap I hate that schedule. Truth be told no matter what schedule your FD runs at some point you will miss a holiday, a family get together, a birthday, an anniversary, or some other special event. It is just the nature of the beast. But on the other hand in 4 years I only missed a couple hockey games that my sons played. I only missed 2 school programs, but I went on more field trips than most other dads. It is all trade offs.
    Crazy, but that's how it goes
    Millions of people living as foes
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    To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

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    Forgot about the field trips

    Those are fun and the kids remember

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    Quote Originally Posted by fire49 View Post
    Forgot about the field trips

    Those are fun and the kids remember
    and the moms love a chaperone Dad.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nameless View Post
    and the moms love a chaperone Dad.
    Especially a firefighter one!
    Crazy, but that's how it goes
    Millions of people living as foes
    Maybe it's not too late
    To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

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    I work 24/72 and used to work 24/48 until they found out that anything over 48 hours a week was OT at time & a half. So they put on the 4th shift.

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