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As yous might already know past now, being a firewoman doesn't come up along with the usual nine to 5 shift. Think about it: Fires and emergencies can happen anytime over the class of 24 hours. That means that there e'er needs to exist firefighters on the clock and set to go! So, what schedule do firefighters work?
Typical firefighter shift schedules consist of 24-hr shifts on a rotating basis. They will usually piece of work most 10 shifts per month, but the exact rotation will depend on the organization. There are some less mutual firefighter shift schedules that use 12-60 minutes or even 48-60 minutes shifts.
At that place are quite a few other ways a firefighter's schedule can be gear up. To learn more than about the different firefighter schedules including the pros and cons of each, keep reading.
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Too read: What Shifts Do EMTs/Paramedics Work? Schedules Examined
Table of Contents
- Firefighter Shift Schedules
- 24 Hours On, 48 Hours Off (24/48)
- What to Expect
- The Benefits
- The Downsides
- 48 Hours On, 96 Hours Off (48/96)
- What to Look
- The Benefits
- The Downsides
- ten to xiv-60 minutes Day/Night Shift
- What to Expect
- The Benefits
- The Downsides
- Other Schedules
- What is the California Swing Shift?
- Kelly 4/half dozen (4's and six'due south)
- How Many Hours a Week/Month/Year Do Firefighters Piece of work?
- Do They Go Paid Overtime?
- Can They Always Sleep on Shift?
- How Many Hours Practice They Sleep?
- How Practise You lot Handle a 24 Hour/48 Hour shift?
- Related Articles
Firefighter Shift Schedules
We know that firefighters don't work a typical 9 to v, Mon through Friday schedule. Information technology is important that someone is always on duty, 24 hours a day, to reply to emergencies in the customs they protect.
The majority of fire departments in the US piece of work a rotating schedule of 24-hour shifts.
This unremarkably means three shifts (A, B, C) that switch off workdays and off days. They rotate in a few different ways, but most firefighters cease up working an average of 10 of these 24-60 minutes shifts per calendar month.
Here is an instance of how a firefighter shift calendar might look, showing how each shift rotates:
As y'all tin can see, this means y'all don't work the aforementioned days every calendar week. Sometimes you go the weekend off, others y'all have to work it, depending on how your shift schedule rotates.
This also means that you will sometimes have to work on a major vacation, when you would rather be habitation jubilant with your family.
These are all just a part of the job,
While these long 24 or even 48-hour shifts aren't easy, yous get used to them. And there are some really good things about working longer shifts.
Near burn departments let the firefighters to attempt to sleep during the night while on shift, though there is no guarantee. You are expected to still respond to whatsoever calls for service (emergency or otherwise) that you are dispatched to.
This ways that some stations in areas that are not as busy with emergency calls may slumber all nighttime frequently. Withal, other busy fire departments may be awake all night on most shifts.
Let's expect at some of the almost mutual firefighter schedules and the pros and cons of each.
Also read: What Historic period Do Firefighters Retire?
24 Hours On, 48 Hours Off (24/48)
Now more common than ever, the 24-hr shift has become the standard for most fire departments beyond the country.
Fire departments tend to appreciate these shifts much more because they only require one daily shift change, which leaves very little room for error and allows for greater organization.
However, the length of time will definitely accept its price on your mental and physical state. It's important you go plenty of rest during your 48-hour break, as you could be upward and running for most of the 24-hour period in which you're on call.
What to Expect
When you're on a 24-hour shift schedule (usually eight AM to viii AM), you're going to be spending a ton of fourth dimension at the station. Well-nigh firefighters refer to this schedule as a 24-48. That means the regular schedule for this blazon of shift consists of ane day on, two days off.
Here's what y'all should wait in terms of the scheduling for a 24-hour shift.
|Piece of work 24||Off||Off||Repeat|
Though this type of shift might sound a little brutal at first, you might actually begin to appreciate it once yous realize the many benefits that come along with it.
Here is a video talking about the 24-48 schedule:
There'due south no dubiety about information technology: The 24-48 shift is incredibly long and physically demanding. Only, let's take a look at the possible benefits that can come along with information technology.
- There are fewer shift changes. When compared to a 12-hr or shorter shift, in that location's always a hazard of mistakes when information technology comes to frequent shift changes. With a 24-hr shift, in that location's less crossover of firefighters and more fourth dimension and dedication to tasks and jobs.
- Less time commuting than the day/dark schedule. Instead of working 12 shifts every 24 days on the day/night schedule, y'all'll be working 8 shifts every 24 days (though they are longer shifts). This means less fourth dimension and money for your commute to piece of work.
- Information technology's the most common shift. As much as you might dislike it, yous'll bask the fact that this shift schedule is pretty standard at nigh fire departments. That means at that place won't be all that much adjusting for you to exercise if y'all're switching between departments.
- You go more weekend time. With this type of schedule, y'all'll become more weekend time. Even if you are scheduled for i day of the weekend, the fact that you accept two days off in a row frees up at least one weekend day on a weekly basis.
- You lot can dedicate more fourth dimension and attending to tasks. The biggest issue with the 12-hr shifts was the lack of time. A 24-hour shift puts less of a fourth dimension limit on your tasks and jobs, so yous tin work on completing them more advisedly and strategically without having to rush back to switch shifts.
So, the 24-hour shift seems a niggling chip more bearable now. But, nosotros still think information technology'southward appropriate to warn you lot virtually the "non so positive" aspects of this type of shift earlier you get 1 under your chugalug.
You might have already been able to figure out what the major downsides are of the 24-48 shift, but we want to make sure we lay them out for you in detail, so you lot know what you're getting yourself into. Here'south what you should expect.
- Fatigue and tiredness. 24 hours directly doing anything is going to be exhausting, but that's especially the case when it comes to the rigorous and physically demanding tasks of being a fire fighter. You should expect severe mental and concrete fatigue, sometimes fifty-fifty beginning while you're nevertheless on your shift. This tin really vary depending on how busy your fire department is.
- There'south no guarantee that y'all'll get to sleep. Though your station has a bunk expanse where you can set bated a few hours here and there for a nap, there's actually no guarantee that you'll get to sleep. If your station is receiving a call subsequently call, you might be on your feet and moving for 24 straight hours with very little remainder in betwixt.
- There's a risk when it comes to safe. When yous're tired physically and mentally, there's a huge take chances of skipping steps of a task and condign injured as a fire-eater. Though this is evidently not as well much of an issue if yous tin grab a few hours of sleep while on duty, it really can be dangerous.
Despite the downsides, there's really not much you can do to get effectually them. Since most stations accept adopted this shift manner, y'all'll most likely merely have to suck information technology up and bargain with it. Somewhen, you'll get used to this type of shift and actually prefer information technology over other types.
48 Hours On, 96 Hours Off (48/96)
As if the 24-hour shift didn't seem brutal enough, some stations require their firefighters to take on 48-hour shifts. There are very mixed reactions regarding this type of shift from both departments and bodily firefighters.
Many firefighters appreciate the greater amount of time that they get to spend with their families. But, the schedule can also be a little hard on your family and social life when you lot're spending 2 direct days away from those you intendance about.
What to Expect
If the sound of working for 48 directly hours appears overwhelming and extremely tiring, that's considering it can be! The good news is, later your 48-hour shifts, you lot'll take about four days off before your adjacent shift.
This shift is unremarkably referred to equally a 48-96 or 2'due south and 4's. The scheduling mode is very similar to that of the 24-48 shift.
Hither's a wait at what your schedule might exist with a 48-96 shift.
|Work 24||Piece of work 24||Off||Off||Off||Off||Repeat|
Even though this seems very overwhelming correct at present, at that place are obviously some positive aspects of this blazon of shift. We're going to go over some of them in this next department.
A lot of the benefits associated with the 48-96 shift are very similar to those of the 24-48, and then we'll try to focus more than on what makes this shift beneficial in its ain style. Hither'south a brief await at the major benefits of this type of shift.
- Less Commuting. This shift is the best for your commute. Yous will just have to drive to and from work in one case every six days (four times every 24 days). This is way less than the other schedules. Not only will this relieve you time and money, but it can making living farther abroad from work a reasonable option. This has get an outcome in areas with a high cost of living, where firefighters can't afford to live shut due to the expenses of the area. Since burn departments can't always proceed pay loftier plenty to support increased costs of living, this schedule can be used. Firefighters can live in more affordable areas and drive a few hours to work since it'south only about 5 days per calendar month.
- Less redundancy of work. Rather than checking off equipment once or twice per day, some of this work can exist completed once a 48-hour shift. This ways more time to be involved with training, PR, and other activities to aid the citizens and the department.
- You have even more days off in a row. If you like spending long periods of time with your family unit and friends, you'll absolutely dearest having four days off in a row every week. This gives you much more time to spend with your family unit than other shifts might!
- The schedule alternates for better weekend time. Many stations have adopted a unique 48-96 schedule that allows for optimal and equal weekend fourth dimension for all firefighters. That ways y'all might piece of work ii Fridays in a row, simply and then have four Fridays in a row off. This is even better for making plans and spending time with family.
And then, you lot run across now that the longer shifts practise have their perks. Merely, nosotros all know that there are quite a few negatives that come up along with long periods away from home, especially when you're nearing 48 hours.
At present, let'south talk about the pitfalls of the 48-96 shift. For the most part, they're just taking the negatives of the 24-48 shift, but simply taking them a tad further. Here are the downfalls for this type of shift.
- You'll spend long periods of fourth dimension away from your family. Though you'll be spending iv direct days at dwelling house later a ii-solar day shift, it withal does require you to be away from your family unit for 48 hours at a time. This tin can be extremely difficult on your relationships with your loved ones, peculiarly if you lot're in a relationship and have kids.
- There's an even greater take a chance for fatigue and burnout. Over the form of 48 hours, y'all'll probably exist able to find some fourth dimension to squeeze in a few short naps, but that's non always a guarantee. If you tin can't find the time to nap or if you lot're not sleeping well plenty down at the station, you might become physically and emotionally wearied to an extreme.
While this schedule can look daunting, it is quite popular with those who have tried information technology. My section switched to this schedule in the last few years, due to the very high costs of living in the area, and I much prefer this schedule to the others I have worked.
10 to xiv-Hour 24-hour interval/Dark Shift
This is the most similar shift for anyone that's used to working an eight or 9-hour twenty-four hours task. Unfortunately, these shifts are rapidly declining and are now beingness replaced with 24 or 48-hr shifts, which tin can be good or bad, depending on how you lot expect at it.
If your station does offer shorter shifts like these, you'll likely be working four days on, iv days off for a total of up to 48 hours. Nevertheless, it all comes down to your station and the needs of your community during the year.
What to Expect
Most shorter shifts come with a "2-two-4" schedule. That ways you should expect to work two-day shifts in a row, two-dark shifts in a row, and then accept four days off.
For the most part, your specific station will have fix schedules for the day and night shifts. And then, when you clock out for your twenty-four hours shift, the nighttime shift is beginning to clock in.
Hither's an example of what your schedule might look like with this type of shift.
|Work 7am-5pm||Work 7am-5pm||Work 5pm-7am||Work 5pm-7am||Off||Off||Off|
Because this schedule lasts longer than a period of seven days, you won't always be working the aforementioned four days of the week.
Sometimes this type of day shift/night shift schedule volition be 12-hr shifts, rather than the x or xiv-hour shift.
Though you'll still be working about the same number of hours per calendar week with this shift equally y'all would with others, there are quite a few benefits associated with this shift, in particular.
Take a await at the greatest benefits of the day/night shift.
- Yous have time off every twenty-four hour period. If you tin't imagine yourself spending an unabridged day at the station or on a telephone call, then this shift is what you're probably looking for. Yous'll love that yous go to spend fourth dimension at home on a daily ground. This is great for anyone with kids, a family, pets, or whatsoever type of social life.
- The time yous spend off is in greater chunks. The average day job gives you v straight workdays per week, followed by two days off on the weekend. With this shift schedule, you'll likely get four days off in a row. This is perfect when information technology comes to preventing burnout and allowing for more of a life outside of the station.
- In that location's a reduced risk of fatigue. Let's exist honest. Fifty-fifty if you're squeezing in a nap hither and at that place while on a 24 or 48-hr shift, you're still going to be exhausted. Being a fireman is extremely physically enervating, which means these 10 to fourteen-hours shifts allow y'all more than time to rest every day.
- There's possibly less chance for mistakes. Along with fatigue comes the gamble of silly mistakes and errors. This can be very risky when you're considering the basis of what a firefighter actually does. And so, this shift may exist beneficial for reducing the liability of fire chiefs and promoting the health and safety of firefighters.
- Stations can develop a more strategic schedule. Permit'due south say your community experiences a large number of calls between 7 AM and 5 PM on a near-daily footing. If that's the case, your station can schedule more firefighters to piece of work during this period of time to account for the influx of calls. This shift allows for more than strategy when it comes to scheduling.
- There'southward less repetition. Every bit much as you might like working a consequent ix to 5 job, there'southward no way that you tin can go bored with this type of schedule. You'll work some nights, some mornings, and get about the same amount of days off.
Continue in mind that in that location are no definitive guidelines for this type of schedule. All stations exercise it differently, and, in fact, some stations have advantage of a schedule that involves 72 hours off (rather than 96).
Though there are a lot of benefits that come along with the mean solar day/night shift mode, there are besides a few risks that are associated as well. Here's a expect at some factors of the day/night shift that aren't and so great.
- More than frequent commuting to work. Depending on where you live in relation to where you work, this schedule might make information technology tougher on your commute. You will be commuting to and from work 4 times (eight trips) every 8 days (about 12 times every 24 days), which is less than a normal 9-five job, only much more than than some of the other firefighter schedules. This can add together time and costs (gas, car maintenance, etc.) to your work routine.
- In that location are more than frequent shift changes. Though yous likely savour the fourth dimension off, the abiding shift changes can cause a little confusion and be more disruptive. This is especially the instance when it comes to calls or tasks that exceed certain shift periods. If in that location's a lack of communication between shifts, there'due south a greater likelihood of mistakes or errors.
- Information technology puts a fourth dimension limit on jobs. When you lot're on a 24-hour shift, your time is practically unlimited when it comes to responding to calls and performing station tasks. It's very probable that you'll need to rush specific calls and tasks in order to exist set up in fourth dimension for the official shift alter.
Some firefighters enjoy the twenty-four hours/nighttime ten to xiv-hour shifts a lot more than the other types of shifts, but they are significantly less common in recent years. I, however, prefer the other longer shift schedules beneath.
This video talks nigh the Providence Rhode Island Fire Department and when they switched from the day/nighttime shift to a longer shift schedule:
The schedules we talked about above seem to make up the bulk of fire departments in the US. Notwithstanding, there are other possible schedules, such as:
What is the California Swing Shift?
This is also referred to every bit a Kelly 3/4 schedule in some areas.
The California swing shift consists of 24-hour shifts every other day for five full days (3 x 24-hour shifts, with a day off in betwixt each), followed past iv days off.
This calendar might go far easier to visualize:
|Work 24||Off||Work 24||Off||Work 24||Off||Off|
Kelly four/6 (4'due south and six's)
The Kelly iv/6 is a variation of the California swing shift.
The Kelly 4/vi shift consists of 24-hr shifts every other day for seven total days (4 ten 24-hour shifts, with a twenty-four hours off in between each), followed by four days off and then 6 days off the next time effectually.
Accept a look:
|Work 24||Off||Work 24||OFF||Work 24||OFF||Work 24|
|OFF||OFF||OFF||OFF||Work 24||OFF||Piece of work 24|
|OFF||Work 24||OFF||Work 24||OFF||OFF||OFF|
This is the shift schedule that I worked for years.
I liked it a lot, but I prefer the 48/96 schedule that my section switched to a few years ago. It allows for less redundancy and fewer days commuting to piece of work.
How Many Hours a Week/Month/Year Do Firefighters Piece of work?
As we have seen, most firefighters piece of work 24-60 minutes shifts, though some work 48's or 12'south.
Firefighters, on average, piece of work near 56 hours per week. This is an average, because depending which schedule they piece of work, some weeks could exist 96 hours on shift and others could be 24 hours on shift. Information technology will usually equal 56 hour average per week.
There are some departments that have a different rotation or contract agreement that allows them to have a 42, 48 or even 72-hour average work week, rather than the standard 56 hour.
Firefighters, on average, piece of work 240 hours (10 shifts) per month. Some months may be slightly more or less.
Once again, this can vary, merely most firefighters will work well-nigh 240 hours per month.
Firefighters, on average, work nigh 2900 hours (121 shifts) per year.
If the fire department has more than iii shifts platoons (A, B, C) than these numbers may be less.
These numbers for hours worked don't include and overtime hours worked or days off due to illness or vacation.
Exercise They Get Paid Overtime?
Firefighters are eligible to work actress hours and volition get paid to do so. The number of overtime hours available and the overtime pay rate tin can vary based on state labor laws and contract agreements.
It is quite mutual for firefighters to piece of work overtime shifts. After all, when 1 firewoman is off, it is pretty important for their spot to exist filled and this usually means paying someone extra to piece of work on an off-solar day.
(We call overtime shifts "Callback", as you are being called dorsum from your day off to work.)
Firefighters may as well get some overtime hours calculated into their regular work hours, because they normally piece of work more then the typical twoscore hours per week. Nonetheless, this volition actually depend on the laws and labor contracts.
Also read: Can Firefighters Have 2 Jobs? Fire fighter Side Hustles
Can They Ever Sleep on Shift?
Firefighters are normally allowed to slumber during the night hours of their shift. However, depending on the number of calls they get, they may not get whatsoever sleep. They are expected to respond to all calls while on shift, regardless of the time of day.
Virtually burn down stations are equipped with bunk rooms or dorm areas for firefighters to get slumber when they are able.
In that location are slow areas where the firefighters sleep all night and other very decorated departments that rarely get any sleep on shift. It really varies.
How Many Hours Do They Sleep?
Firefighters are ordinarily permitted to sleep at the station during the nighttime hours (later on 9 pm) until the morning. However, the hours of slumber they get can exist between viii and 0. This will depend on how many calls they get during the dark hours.
You tin't expect to sleep on shift as a firefighter.
Sometimes we get lucky and become a decent chunk of sleep, but virtually nights we take to respond to calls at night. This means trying to catch up on sleep on the off days to stay healthy.
How Do You Handle a 24 60 minutes/48 Hour shift?
Firefighters work 24-hour shifts and these can be difficult to adapt to for new firefighters. After getting some experience working these types of shifts, yous will adapt and be ameliorate equipped to handle its stresses.
I'd similar to say that it is easy to work long shifts, but that's non always the case.
24 or fifty-fifty 48-hour shifts tin be challenging. Information technology is a long fourth dimension to be away from family. It is besides a long stretch to be expected to be at your all-time, performance-wise, in emergency situations.
That being said, you do adjust. You learn how to step yourself. You larn how to take expert intendance of yourself on your off days so that you tin can come up back refreshed and ready to work.
Getting good sleep at domicile, exercising regularly, eating well, and taking care of your emotional health can all brand a huge divergence in your ability to handle stress; even the stress of long, sleepless shifts as a fireman.
Shift work is necessary every bit a firefighter, and it offers many advantages over a regular 40-hour piece of work schedule, but information technology comes with difficulties. Withal, these stresses are cypher that can't be adjusted to.
I love the schedule that we work equally firefighters and I would never trade it in for a standard nine to 5.
It'due south hard to say what your verbal schedule will be like as a firefighter because there are then many different types of shifts. Simply, we tin tell you what you lot should await from each of the more than common shift types.
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How many days do Chicago firemen work? ›
As a Chicago Firefighter I'm expected to work 24hrs days 2 to 3 days per week. Weekends and holidays are required. Calling off work is frowned upon due to the expectations team work is critical.How many hours a week do Firefighters work in California? ›
A full-time firefighter works an average of 56 hours per week, but the work hours are divided into 24-hours shifts. Some departments schedule firefighters to work eight or 12-hour shifts, but this is not the usual practice.How many days a week do Firefighters work in Canada? ›
You'll work an assigned shifts averaging 42 hours per week over a four week period, including weekends and holidays. You'll be expected to be physically fit to handle the sustained, intense, physical effort often required to perform these duties.Can firefighters sleep on shift? ›
On a 24-hour shift, a firefighter may get to “sleep” at some point during the night. But this is “sleep” in name only, as at any time they may be awakened suddenly and abruptly by a bunkroom light and some form of a bell indicating there is an alarm.Can firefighters have beards? ›
Worn so it does not interfere with the proper wearing and performance of the approved department safety helmet or the proper sealing of the face mask of the self-contained breathing apparatus. Uniformed personnel will be clean shaven; however, neatly trimmed sideburns and mustaches are permitted.How long is a fireman's shift? ›
Our shift patterns are more flexible than you might think
This means there is lots of flexibility for additional employment or part time study. The current shift system is based around 4 shifts (2 x 10.5 hour days and 2 x 13.5 hour nights) followed by 96 hours (four days) off duty.
- Maintain physical fitness. ...
- Help people and save lives. ...
- Benefit from fellowship and discipline. ...
- Operate powerful equipment. ...
- Enjoy job security. ...
- Build transferable skills. ...
- Constant training. ...
- Long shifts.
Many work 24 hours on and 48 hours off schedules, with the shifts typically starting and ending at 7 a.m. or 8 a.m. The first order of business is checking all the apparatus, making sure the trucks, equipment, breathing apparatus and other devices are ready for service.What's the best firefighter schedule? ›
No matter whether your fire department uses a 12 or 24-hour shift pattern, they will use a ratio that they find to work the best with their crew members. The most common are either 24:48, meaning 24 hours on and 48 hours off, or 12:12, meaning 12 hours on and 12 hours off.What is a 10 14 firefighter schedule? ›
Under the 10-14 system, a typical 28-day period for a firefighter includes seven 10-hour daytime shifts and seven 14-hour night shifts. The 24-hour system breaks up the same amount of work into bigger chunks.
Why do firefighters sleep at the station? ›
To stay alert for the rest of their shift, firefighters will often power nap, which is known as safety napping among firefighters. Between safety napping and sleeping more regular hours when not on schedule, firefighters can maintain their energy to keep doing the integral work they do!What is the lowest rank of a firefighter? ›
Probationary Firefighter (PFF) – is an “at will” entry level position that is currently being trained and evaluated during their first 12 months of employment. Firefighter (FF) – is a basic worker that is responsible for hose line placement, fire suppression, operating rescue tools, search and rescue, etc.How do firefighters wake up? ›
Most area firefighters work 24-hour shifts and sleep at the station during the nighttime and early morning hours. And they are awakened by loud alarms when fire or ambulance calls are reported.Are firefighters paid to sleep? ›
They will have eight hours of unpaid sleep time per shift unless they respond to a fire call during the sleep period, in which case they will be paid for the time spent on the fire call.What age do most firefighters retire? ›
If they have not, then they retire at whatever age past 57 when they reach that 20-year market. Most firefighters will retire at 57 not many fire departments accept fresh firefighters at or above the age of 37. Not all areas will have the same maximum and minimum ages for retirement.Can firefighters smoke cigarettes? ›
Current fire department uniformed personnel shall not use tobacco products (cigarettes, cigars, and/or chewing tobacco) inside the work-site, within or on fire department apparatus, or inside training facilities.What are the odds of becoming a firefighter? ›
The average odds of getting hired as a firefighter on any one test are about 1-in-100 or 1% chance. Even though those are still some tough odds, it is very doable. Those are the odds for one test, but most people apply quite a few times before they get hired.How many hours of Chicago fire are there? ›
Chicago Fire (TV series)
|Running time||40–43 minutes|
|Production companies||Wolf Entertainment Universal Television Open 4 Business Productions|
Working hours: full-time firefighters normally work a shift system comprising nine-hour days and 15-hour nights across four watches.Do you have to live in Chicago to work for the fire department? ›
a. You are not required to be a resident of the City of Chicago at the time of application. However, you will be required to be a resident of the City of Chicago at the time you enter the Fire Training Academy.
How often do firefighters fight fires? ›
For fire departments, building blazes — catastrophic or not — have become infrequent. Firefighters responded to 487,500 structure fires across the United States in 2013, which means each of the nation's 30,000 fire departments saw just one every 22 days, on average.