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Thread: Working 48's

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    Default Working 48's

    It's been awhile since I have posted, but its time for some more advice. What is your opinion on working for two full time departments. Working 48 on and 24 off?

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    How are you going to make the commute work

    Will hate one and despise the other

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    All sorts of reasons why it MIGHT not be such a good idea. Exhaustion, burnout, injury, fatigue and job dislike come to mind. Also the practical aspect of either agency not allowing you to work two very full time jobs? Practically speaking, how are you going to be able to remain on your feet for a straight 48?

    The various Western fire agencies who have tried the 48 hr shifts got away from them quickly if the agency had any high average activity levels One specific agency who still runs 48 hour shifts does so because their AVERAGE suppression company only runs slightly over 500 emergency calls YEARLY! S--L--O--W.

    Then like already said before me better .... how are you going to do the commute? How can you possibly be in two different locations at the same time ... like at change of shift or watch? I dunno fur sures. Maybe you can make up a special schedule that works for you ... or get a "get off buddy" relief friend. HB of CJ (old coot)

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    Quote Originally Posted by HBofCJ View Post
    The various Western fire agencies who have tried the 48 hr shifts got away from them quickly if the agency had any high average activity levels One specific agency who still runs 48 hour shifts does so because their AVERAGE suppression company only runs slightly over 500 emergency calls YEARLY! S--L--O--W.
    When I researched 48's for a project several years ago, I found the exact opposite. The 48's were very popular on the west coast, and slowly becoming more popular on the East Coast. In fact, I specifically noted in my report that I couldn't find a WC department that had fully adopted the 48's that had gone back to 24's. I'll have to see if I can find that report.

    Anyhoo, back to the OP's question, I think it's a bad idea to even consider the idea for a number of reasons: commute time between departments, scheduling training, working out trade days, burnout setting in very quickly, possibility of mandatory holdovers in the morning, not getting enough rest, possible conflict of HR issues between the two departments, and the list goes on...
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    Quote Originally Posted by FFRicketts View Post
    It's been awhile since I have posted, but its time for some more advice. What is your opinion on working for two full time departments. Working 48 on and 24 off?
    How are you going to handle getting a run right before you are supposed to get off, and being late to the next job?? If you only take 8-10 runs it might be okay, but you could easily get burned out.

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    We are an active fire department and work a 48/96. With great leadership and balance it has been the greatest schedule I have worked in my adult life. I have worked 12/12, day-night-48, 24/48, you name it. Great schedule!!!!

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    With great respect, how can you expect to stay on your feet and remain productive for 48 hours? The only way I can think of, unless I am missing something here, is that you do exploit a lot of down time to rest up and refresh.

    What this MAY mean is that all the other needful stuff is NOT being addressed? I had problems enough with some 24 hour shifts and it did not take 24 calls in that time period either. Just a couple house fires, plus the other usual calls.

    How do you fit everything in? Apparatus inspection/ maintenance. station cleaning, cooking, schools, drilling, training, inspections, pre fire planning, plug maintenance, district inspections, etc. ,... NOT counting all the calls and fires?

    When do you rest? How do you sleep? Frankly, my old outfit now averages about 2800+ runs yearly, which means they get no meaningful rest at night. Just little bits and pieces. A 24 hour shift is hard enough; how do you pull a 48?

    Which implies, (and this is where I do not understand) that to successfully work a 48 hour shift, it means either a lot of needful and required stuff is NOT getting done, or the agency runs very slow and gets away with it, which is OK.

    Respectfully. Just me. I love this forum. HB of CJ (old coot) Bakersfield City Fire CA and Kern County Fire CA.

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    Interesting, Kern County is one of the departments doing 48's and doing 40,000 calls annually.

    Quote Originally Posted by HBofCJ View Post
    With great respect, how can you expect to stay on your feet and remain productive for 48 hours? The only way I can think of, unless I am missing something here, is that you do exploit a lot of down time to rest up and refresh.
    My research found that the first day was generally spent doing the "normal" stuff like house duties, inspections, apparatus checks, etc, while the second half of the tour was spent running calls and catching up on rest as needed.

    How do you fit everything in? Apparatus inspection/ maintenance. station cleaning, cooking, schools, drilling, training, inspections, pre fire planning, plug maintenance, district inspections, etc. ,... NOT counting all the calls and fires?

    When do you rest? How do you sleep? Frankly, my old outfit now averages about 2800+ runs yearly, which means they get no meaningful rest at night. Just little bits and pieces. A 24 hour shift is hard enough; how do you pull a 48?
    Generally sleep is allowed at times other than just "after dark".

    Which implies, (and this is where I do not understand) that to successfully work a 48 hour shift, it means either a lot of needful and required stuff is NOT getting done, or the agency runs very slow and gets away with it, which is OK.
    You've lost me here ... 48 hours gives you twice the amount of time to get those required things done.

    For what it's worth, I allow the personnel on my shift to catch a nap during the late afternoon once all required activities have been completed. We're a very nocturnal fire station doing around 4000 runs a year (engine, tower ladder, and medic unit), so allowing them to "pre-hab" for a short period of time is acceptable to me.
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    Working full-time for two agencies? I cannot see how this is feasible. Especially working any variation of the 24 hour shift. There will be multiple times when your shifts for the 2 agencies will be on the same calendar day. What do you do then? Call out sick to one and report to the other? They WILL find out. What if you sick out from Agency A, report on normal shift to Agency B, and get hurt? What happens if you get cancer? Who assumes responsibility under the presumptious care act? Agency A will say "Screw him, he got the cancer at agency B." Agency B will say the same thing, then it will be up to YOU to prove where you got the cancer. In the meantime you have hundreds of thousands of dollars of medical bills piling up.

    What happens if you work Tuesday at Agency B, come Wednesday Morning you get forced overtime and you have to report to Agency A for your normal shift? Again do you sick out? Call in for a vacation day that will get denied because you are the rookie or because no vacation days are available?

    These are just some of the nightmares that have come to me.

    Bad idea. Very bad idea.
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    Just read yesterday LA County is looking at trial 48/96, I am just guessing but there pretty busy???

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    Yikes! 24 hours is NOT enough time to recover from a 48 hour shift... A week or two of that and you wont be able to function...
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    Quote Originally Posted by SL425 View Post
    Yikes! 24 hours is NOT enough time to recover from a 48 hour shift... A week or two of that and you wont be able to function...
    One usually gets 72 or 96 hours off with a 48hr shift.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    One usually gets 72 or 96 hours off with a 48hr shift.
    I think he was referring the to the OP's question.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    Interesting, Kern County is one of the departments doing 48's and doing 40,000 calls annually.



    My research found that the first day was generally spent doing the "normal" stuff like house duties, inspections, apparatus checks, etc, while the second half of the tour was spent running calls and catching up on rest as needed.



    Generally sleep is allowed at times other than just "after dark".



    You've lost me here ... 48 hours gives you twice the amount of time to get those required things done.

    For what it's worth, I allow the personnel on my shift to catch a nap during the late afternoon once all required activities have been completed. We're a very nocturnal fire station doing around 4000 runs a year (engine, tower ladder, and medic unit), so allowing them to "pre-hab" for a short period of time is acceptable to me.
    So they only "take in calls" on the second 24 hours of the 48? Am I getting this right?

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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    One usually gets 72 or 96 hours off with a 48hr shift.
    Correct, in regards to the OP's question about working 48 hours on and 24 off.

    Thanks BoxAlarm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by captnjak View Post
    So they only "take in calls" on the second 24 hours of the 48? Am I getting this right?
    As an example- Day 1 is spent performing scheduled work/training matters (training, hydrants, inspections, gym time, etc) from 0800 to 1630 (reponses included.) Then after 1630 do as you wish, just get on the BRT when the bells ringy-dingy. Day 2- Work assignments from 0800 to 1200 or 1300, then do as you wish, just get on the BRT when the bells ringy-dingy until 0800 the next morning.
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    Quote Originally Posted by HBofCJ View Post
    With great respect, how can you expect to stay on your feet and remain productive for 48 hours? The only way I can think of, unless I am missing something here, is that you do exploit a lot of down time to rest up and refresh.

    What this MAY mean is that all the other needful stuff is NOT being addressed? I had problems enough with some 24 hour shifts and it did not take 24 calls in that time period either. Just a couple house fires, plus the other usual calls.

    How do you fit everything in? Apparatus inspection/ maintenance. station cleaning, cooking, schools, drilling, training, inspections, pre fire planning, plug maintenance, district inspections, etc. ,... NOT counting all the calls and fires?

    When do you rest? How do you sleep? Frankly, my old outfit now averages about 2800+ runs yearly, which means they get no meaningful rest at night. Just little bits and pieces. A 24 hour shift is hard enough; how do you pull a 48?

    Which implies, (and this is where I do not understand) that to successfully work a 48 hour shift, it means either a lot of needful and required stuff is NOT getting done, or the agency runs very slow and gets away with it, which is OK.

    Respectfully. Just me. I love this forum. HB of CJ (old coot) Bakersfield City Fire CA and Kern County Fire CA.
    I'm with you. I just don't see how one can remain mentally and physically sharp after 30 or 40 hours on duty. Even in a slow company, it gets to be a lot. Firefighting is not a task to be undertaken while physically or mentally exhausted. It's hard enough to do right when you're fresh. What about the times when life (side jobs, childcare, etc.) cause you to START the tour a little behind the eightball? I know departments are getting away with it. IMO, it is not optimal, not even close. What about the effects of exteme weather?

    Am I just a wimp?

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    I'm in Dallas for a class, one of the guys in my group works 48's in the Midwest, I'll ask him some questions about it tomorrow.
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    Since I lived 135 miles (one-way) I used to do shift exchanges all the time.....Would work 72 and then have 4 or 6 straight off, depending on how the cycle fell. 2000 calls a year, never had a problem with it. If you had a rough night, bosses would go easy on you the next day (go nappy out at lunchtime for example....)
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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    Since I lived 135 miles (one-way) I used to do shift exchanges all the time.....Would work 72 and then have 4 or 6 straight off, depending on how the cycle fell. 2000 calls a year, never had a problem with it. If you had a rough night, bosses would go easy on you the next day (go nappy out at lunchtime for example....)
    2000 runs per year is pretty slow. I guess that helps. The kind of call also affects how much you can do. Some guys climb dozens of flights of stairs every tour. In full gear. Some do more than that. How much actual fire duty? I'm guessing not much. That doesn't really matter though because it only takes one to be a problem after that much time on duty. I still think it's too much. For safety reasons. Mental sharpness is important too.

    The bosses may "go easy on you" but what about the fires and emergencies? Do they know or care that you are exhausted?

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    Quote Originally Posted by captnjak View Post
    2000 runs per year is pretty slow. I guess that helps. The kind of call also affects how much you can do. Some guys climb dozens of flights of stairs every tour. In full gear. Some do more than that. How much actual fire duty? I'm guessing not much. That doesn't really matter though because it only takes one to be a problem after that much time on duty. I still think it's too much. For safety reasons. Mental sharpness is important too.

    The bosses may "go easy on you" but what about the fires and emergencies? Do they know or care that you are exhausted?
    You are correct on all of your points. Granted we were not the FDNY 18th Bn in the 1970's but we still got our fair share of first ins. No six story H types to climb 7 times per shift and no high rises....But yes once in a while we felt like we got our asses kicked. Many many FD's work some variation of the 48 on, XX off shift and don't seem to have issues. When we went over to it in fact, the old guys agreed to a trial but when time came to make the final decision they pushed overwhelmingly for it.

    So you never did mutuals and worked 36 or 48? Straight tours all the way for you?? IIRC FDNY caps you at 36 or 48, correct?
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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    You are correct on all of your points. Granted we were not the FDNY 18th Bn in the 1970's but we still got our fair share of first ins. No six story H types to climb 7 times per shift and no high rises....But yes once in a while we felt like we got our asses kicked. Many many FD's work some variation of the 48 on, XX off shift and don't seem to have issues. When we went over to it in fact, the old guys agreed to a trial but when time came to make the final decision they pushed overwhelmingly for it.

    So you never did mutuals and worked 36 or 48? Straight tours all the way for you?? IIRC FDNY caps you at 36 or 48, correct?
    FDNY is capped at 24 hours max. Straight tours would be two nine hour day tours (0900-1800) followed by 48 hours off and then two 15 hour night tours (1800-0900). Majority work mutuals to work steady 24 hour tours.

    I'd always heard that the 24 hour max was an OSHA requirement. Clearly that is incorrect.

    I see why guys would like the 48's over their normal schedule. It just seems like too much to me. Maybe it's a matter of mental conditioning. Do it for a while and it seems normal.

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    So I talked the guy in my class today that does 48's. They're a smaller department in Missouri, three stations, doing 10,000 runs a year. He said that they've been on 48's for over 5 years with no plans to go back to 24's. Much like has been posted in this thread, he conveyed that the second 24 can be rough sometimes, but they haven't had any issues with patient care, decision making, or fireground performance.

    Like Captain Jack said, it's likely a mental conditioning issue.
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    Respectfully, BoxAlarm187 says the guy who runs 48's says that at times it can be rough? Yeah, I would think so. Again, I am defaulting here to an earlier era where guys were just guys and not super heroes. We ran slow. Average back then was LESS than 1000 per year. Lots of fires. Few runs. There were days when I got off shift at 0800 and promptly went home to my dumpy condo and took a 2 hour nap that frequently lasted 4 to 6 hours. Ruined my day-off morning.

    Reason was I was physically shot. I needed that nap. But...when off-duty school scheduling required me to get to class at 0900, I did so. I was just not alert in class. The proctor let us bring coffee into the classroom. I needed it. My feeble point is that we can say all sorts of things up front...the question is....are 48's workable? All the needed activities must fit in somewhere. Running slow is OK and a blessing. Running hard plus 48s? I dunno. Respectfully. HB of CJ (old coot)

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