48/96 And Station Bids

A little fire department work update…Over a year ago a push began from some of the line staff (firefighters) to change the schedule that we work (currently working: 24on, 24off, 24on, 24off, 24on, 96off) to a schedule at is 48 hours at work followed by 96 hours off. 2 days on, 4 days off. It is going to happen. 

The 48/96 schedule originated in California to attempt to address the issue of firefighters not being able to afford housing in the community where they worked; therefore allowing them to live farther away due to the longer amount of time at work. It caught on throughout the west in the mountain communities for the same reason, and eventually in the larger cities (San Jose, Boise, Albuquerque, Lakewood (West Metro) Colorado, to name a few). 

There is a lot of information floating around about it, and a lot of hesitation about the schedule generated in our household. I was/am very concerned about being away from home for 48 hours every time that I go to work, for example. But the bottom line is that we are moving to the schedule on January 11, 2009 for a one-year trial period. (note: no department that has gone to the schedule for a trial period has ever gone back to their old schedule)

We have decided since Ezra came along that the in-between days on the current schedule are mostly useless (we are trying to get so much done since I will have to go back to work the next day, that there really isn’t any quality time at home) There is some more good for this: half of the work commutes. More mornings at home. A more consistent schedule for children to understand (every time I come home, I will be there for four days). More complete weekends at home throughout the year. Never have to use more than two days a week in day care (often it will only be one). Every time that I come home, I will be off of work for 4 days (unless I take a trade or overtime). Less sick time has been documented in other departments. Less vacation time has also been documented. Etc, etc, etc.

Other than the aforementioned concern about always being away for 48 hours, there will now be a few weekends a year where I will work both Saturday and Sunday (which never happened before). These provide a challenge for us, and we might come asking for some help from you…..maybe just to come and hang out a little. 

Also: next week we will be doing station bids. It’s the first time in our department’s history that we will have permanent station assignments (for at least four years, until the next station opens), and we will be doing them via senority bid. It’s good for me: I am the most senior Engineer on B Shift, and the third most senior person on the shift overall…so I will almost assuradly get the station that I want: were I have been stationed for the last two years….Station 5, driving the ladder truck. I’ll let you know how it goes.

One more thing about work: I am starting the Acting Lieutenant Academy next week….thus far, I passed the entry exam, a psych test, and an interview with the Chief of the Department to get it. The classroom portion starts on Monday and will run nearly every shift day through the end of the year. Lots of studying and lots of time….but it will be worth it in the end. Once completed with the classroom, I will have to go through a mentoring process on the street, then will be cleared to serve in the Acting Lieutenant capacity. (note: the department only accepts applications for promotion to Lieutenant from people that are currently Acting Lieutenants…so it’s an investment in the future…and no, I am not planning on promoting for a couple of years).

That’s about enough for now. If I get any pictures from some of the calls that we have run recently, I will post them.


  1. Alright! That is exciting about the bid piece! I know the vote is still out on the schedule change, but I am happy to help with weekends. I love hanging out with Ahna, oh yeah and Ezra, too! “/

    Happy Hoola-wieners!

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