1. #1
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    Ok this is not quite what you thought it was. But it is a story from my home town.

    Firefighters try out new 24-hour work rotation
    Carmel Ecker
    Staff writer
    March 26, 2007

    Firefighters at CFB Esquimalt are testing out a new system of 24-hour work shifts aimed at improving their quality of life.

    Starting at 8 a.m. on March 25 firefighters abandoned the traditional system of day and night shifts in favour of two 24-hour shifts over an eight-day period.

    “We’ve studied various rotations and found a positive impact utilizing alternative shifts as opposed to the traditional shift,” says Deputy Fire Chief Steve Mullen.

    He says the department has explored several different work schedule options and found enough research in favour of 24-hour shifts to give it a try.

    “The shift schedule or variations of it have been trialed at a number of departments throughout North America,” he says.

    CFB Halifax recently tested and ultimately adopted the system. Seeing that success at another DND fire hall made it attractive to local fire fighters, says Mullen.

    Eighty per cent of CFB Esquimalt’s 82 firefighters affected by the schedule change voted in favour of trying the new system.

    Mullen says those who voted against the change were mostly concerned about how it will affect their personal schedule, citing mainly issues of childcare.

    Firefighters currently work a combination of 10-hour workdays and 14-hour worknights.

    The long shifts leave little time to do anything other than eat and sleep, especially for people with long commutes, says Mullen.

    The new work schedule will have firefighters work a 24-hour shift, take a day off, work another 24-hour shift then take five days off.

    That gives firefighters more time between shifts to re-energize and spend with their families, says Mullen.

    It will also help alleviate the stress of working during holidays such as Easter and Christmas.

    With day and night shifts, a firefighter might have to work through an entire holiday period. Under the new trial schedule a firefighter will only work one or two non-consecutive days of that holiday.

    Mullen says he is concerned with how a 24-hour work rotation might affect the training schedule and how it will operate within the confines of the base.

    With fewer shifts, firefighters will have to do more hours of training per shift to stay skilled at specialized tasks such as confined spaces rescue and high angle rescue, he says. “We have a huge skill set we have to maintain.”

    Some scheduled training sessions will inevitably be interrupted by one of the roughly 350 calls the fire hall receives each year, he says.

    Flexibility is key in ensuring firefighters get what they need to do their job.

    A secondary advantage of the new schedule will be a reduction in commuting, says Mullen. Compressing the work schedule will cut commuting in half, which is significant with firefighters coming from as far away as Ladysmith.

    Firefighters have one year to test the new schedule before they give it the thumbs up or down. Based on the results of this trial, the base commander will decide if the new shift structure will be adopted.
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

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    350 calls, and thats an issue? My company does 350 a month! And thats with out the engine disturbing us the 4,890 times they usually do a year. Good for them that they got the 24's, They should have kept the schedule they had but allowed them to combine the tours for 24's.

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    it's not always about call volume, but gotta keep your family in mind and have time for them.
    Eric- FF/Paramedic/Inspector
    Clermont County, Ohio

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    Jonny, something that might not be very clear in the story (it is for me but I know the region). This is a military base that's nearly soul purpose in life is to give fire/ems support to a navy base of approximately 5000 personnel, with roughly 30 ships (between the Naval contingent and Coast Guard), however the base is split into roughly 3 major sections, separated by either 20 miles of road or 3 miles of harbour. They also run mutual aid calls to the two surrounding civic districts, but again, their primary role is to the Navy.

    There is a contingent (I think - if I understood what was explained to me a while back) of 4 military (read Air Force) firefighters on staff, the rest of them are civilians hired for the express purpose. For those of us who have any nautical experience know that shipboard firefighting and structural firefighting are only similiar in one aspect - Put the Wet Stuff on the Red Stuff. However, unlike any structure, all fire operations have to take into consideration one major hazard:

    Now that you have just pumped 1050gpm x 3 pumpers and the Fire Tug (I dont know its capacity) from standing hydrants, and you've been fighting that fire for at least 30 minutes...... you have to ask yourself.... "Where has all that water gone?"

    Even as you are fighting the fire, you have to figure out how to get it OUT of the ship as fast as its going in. Gives a whole new meaning to "Three Dimentional Fires".

    Not trying to sound off like a dork - just trying to give some background info.
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

    IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

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    If I'm not mistaken Malahat I think Esquimalt is the busiest Reg Force DND Fire Dept is it not??

    I know some of the civi side DND depts do more. Borden does 600+ if I remember correctly. I guess only time will tell if It works out for them. I think they are the only CF on this system. The rest work 10/14
    If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation?

    Ryan

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    Actually Ryan, I am not really sure how busy they are exactly. They do run a lot of alarm bells with the MPs, and of course are primary response to all ships emergencies, including ships initiated exercises.

    As for the rest, other than I know that CFB Borden is home to the CF/DND Fire Academy, I have no info on much else.
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

    IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MalahatTwo7 View Post
    Actually Ryan, I am not really sure how busy they are exactly. They do run a lot of alarm bells with the MPs, and of course are primary response to all ships emergencies, including ships initiated exercises.

    As for the rest, other than I know that CFB Borden is home to the CF/DND Fire Academy, I have no info on much else.
    I'm not sure 100% either. I was just talkin to one of the Master Jacks or Sarges on course at CFFA that had mentioned Esquimalt was one of the busiest if not the busiest hall with Reg Force guys in it. Edmonton Garrison I've heard is busy as well but who knows. It would actually be interesting to find out. I'd have to say Borden would probably be the busiest Civi Dept, just due to number of persons on base,number of buildings,the fact it's a route from town to town and shear size. Nothing compared to Gagetown sizewise but big enough.

    The fire academy is here and it drives me nuts because not only do I have to watch the Base Dept rigs drive go responding to calls all the time, we have to watch the boys at CFFA too. It's truly killer when your not able to join up.
    If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation?

    Ryan

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