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How does your Dept. pick vacation days?

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  • How does your Dept. pick vacation days?

    Tradition is alive in our department. We still pick vacation by sitting around a table with the master list and a HT. They call the first person on the senority list, get his/her picks then proceed to the next on the list. This is sometimes halted when a company gets an alarm and they forget to leave their picks. This takes anywhere from 4 to 8 hours depending on how busy a day it is. We have approx. 120 firefighters on each shift, I don't think this is the best way to pick vacations. Does anyone have a better way?


    Stay Safe.

  • #2
    In New Orleans its done the same way. We pick strictly by seniority. Time in grade doesn't count only total time on the job. Also each district picks seperate from each other.

    So you may pick first if your somewhere but if you transfer to another disrtict are someone transfer in you may move up or down according to your senority number.

    Officers pick first(fewer spots are alloted to the rank) followed by operators and firefighters.
    If a firefighter has more time then the operator he picks ahead.

    Its about as fair as you can get without just picking out of a hat and having everyone taking a wild shot at time off.Remember sooner are later the new guy will become the old guy.

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    • #3
      That is almost the exact way we do it.
      Do you do it over the radio?
      There has to be a better way then to tie up a channel all day. We have talked about picking through the computer but the guys/gals stated it was too dynamic. They wanted to see what days filled up.
      Thanks for your reply.

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      • #4
        We pick within each company, by seniority. If the officer's in the middle of the pack, that's where he picks. It works out pretty well until they start transferring people between companies, because we take our days off with us.

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        • #5
          As per our contract if the parties can not come to an agreement on vacation picks, It's luck of the draw. We pair off in companies, Double company houses (An Engine and a Truck) pick together and single company houses (Engines) pick with other single company houses. What happens most of the time is that we sit around the kitchen table and hash it out. First we ask, Who needs what? i.e. For weddings, Planed trips, special occasions. If any conflicts, we let them Duke it out amongst themselves. All firefighters get 3 vacation periods of 4 shifts a year. One vacation period is a total of 19 days out of work. Seniority comes into play when an agreement can't be reached. Senior members get to pick out of the hat first.

          [ 12-22-2001: Message edited by: Trkco1 ]

          FTM-PTB-EGH-RFB-KTF

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          • #6
            In our contract, the Chief has the right to assign vacation time during the summer, but this has not been enforced in the last 15 or so years. We put the vacation days that we want on the calendar, they are then initialed and dated by the OIC that day. A firefighter with more seniority has 7 days to "bump" a firefighter with less seniority. Once the 7 day period has passed, the date is locked in. We are allowed to have 6 firefighters and 2 officers out on any combination of personal or vacation days per tour of duty as stated in our contract. We can take our vacation time a day at a time, we also have a sidebar agreement with the Chief for half day vacations. These are great, because if you have a function to attend (school meetings, recitals, kid's sporting events, etc.) or have to leave early for a trip, you can take the first or second half of the tour off and not use up the whole day!
            ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
            Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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            • #7
              We traditionally pick vacation the first or second week in december.

              Seniority picks first before rank.

              We used to use the fireground or tactical radio channel. Now we all get together with the master shift calendar on each shift. The picks are divided into four rounds. Round one are vacation days in consecutive shifts or blocks, up to five consecutive shifts. Round two are FLSA (Fair Labor Standard Act) or Kelly day picks. Round three we pick our holidays. Round four is a scatter shoot for whatever is left over.

              You have to be present for vacation picks or have a proxy.

              There are a few rules that go along with all of this. But, this is the basic way we pick our days off for the new year.

              joejoe33

              Comments and opinions are mine and do not represent the agency or IAFF local that I am affiliated with.

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              • #8
                It sounds as though we are all pretty similar! We pick by seniority. We have a total # of hours to start with, senior man/woman starts. Each shift at each station is allowed 1 person off at a time, but there are "special" times when there are 2 allowed off at once, it has never been determined as to how these "special" times are divided up between stations & shifts. Someone above stated that their picks could take as long as 8 hours, well we have been known to take weeks, with sick leave/vacation, etc. no one trusts anyone else put thier picks in. One thing that is good or bad depending on where you are in the seniority list, is that summer vacation is a hot commodity, and there have been guys with 30+ years on the job that have managed to pretty much take a couple of months off over the summer. Since I'm low on the seniority list I write summer off, I'm easy to get along with so I'm generally the clean up man, taking what no-one else wants/needs. The system seems to work o.k. though....

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                • #9
                  My department has a system that looks complex at first glance. We have approximately 185 personnel on line divided into 3 shifts. Within each shift, each rank selects their leave dates separately. We are required to take a minimum of three shifts of annual leave each year per contract. We can take more than 3 if we choose; with a maximum of 9 shifts.

                  Department seniority does not play into our leave selection. To keep an equitable opportunity to select good dates, each rank is divided into three groups. Within each of the groups, personnel are permanently asigned a position.
                  Each group can have as few as four personnel and as many as 10. Within each group, the personnel are listed in two columns. We alternate columns each year for first pick of leave.

                  We can have 2 personnel from each rank on annual leave on any given day. Some shifts are be able to accomidate more than 2 firefighters on leave.

                  Here's how we did it for the Captains leave selection of 2002.

                  Group 1
                  A1 A2
                  B1 B2
                  C1 C2
                  Group 2
                  D1 D2
                  E1 E2
                  F1 F2
                  Group 3
                  G1 G2
                  H1 H2

                  For 2003 the groups rotate as well as the personnel within the groups.

                  Group 2
                  E1 E2
                  F1 F2
                  D1 D2
                  Group 3
                  H1 H2
                  G1 G1
                  Group 1
                  B1 B2
                  C1 C2
                  A1 A2

                  Granted, our system is not as simple as department seniority or some of the other versions previously posted. However, it works for us and maybe it could work for you.
                  BE SAFE
                  Before Everything, Stop And First Evaluate

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