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Feedback appreciated-solutions to overtime issue

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  • Feedback appreciated-solutions to overtime issue

    Another Fire Science major here! One of my current assignments is to look at the Jacksonville, FL issue and propose two solutions to the problem. I know there are many different types of shifts that fire departments work, from 24/48 to 12 hour shifts etc.

    To address the FL issue, I would first like to look at the different types of shifts and see what works in your station and what does not. What shifts are more efficient in terms of manpower and budgetary needs? With city budgets already being strained and fire departments always seem be on the top of the chopping block, the money that cities are paying in ovetime could be better spent on the real needs of the fire department (improving FF safety, hiring more Firefighters etc.)

    Any input will be greatly appreciated.



  • #2
    Several question?

    Before I can answer you I need to know a couple of things. The first thing I need to know is how many hours is the work week ...40,42.5,48,or 56 hrs then you can decide which way to take the discussion. There are many ways that you can achieve your goal of a more efficent and productive department, you could use a combination of overtime with comp time ,you could have a change of day policy but all departments need a base to work off of. Theres a combination of shifts that may work for a larger department but won't work in a small one and will depend on any number of factors ...yes the big bad union will always have something to say about it, but if you work with them you would be shocked to realize 99% want whats best for the city as well as there members. Most strains on cities and the budget comes from mayors and council members advancing there own agenda and not providing basic services to there communities...lets face it we are like an insurance policy and most people hate to write the premium checks. In my department we work a 24/72 with kelly days because we have the 40hr rule in New York state so, when we are short on manpower we call in overtime instead or hiring more manpower that saves in training and benifits. hope that helps you.
    IACOJ Membership 2002

    Mike IAFF

    The beatings will continue until the morale improves


    • #3
      Lets not forget that working overtime is cheaper for a city than hiring more firefighters, because to hire a new guy, you have to pay out insurance, pension, etc.. to work overtime is just that, working overtime..


      • #4
        Most strains on cities and the budget comes from mayors and council members advancing there own agenda and not providing basic services to there communities...
        I agree there. Politicians care about money and ego.

        Our assignment is to look at the issue in FL and come up with two possible solutions to the "Friday sick syndrome". My first approach is to look at the shifts and see what works better. I realize that many factors come into play as you both stated and cities would rather just pay overtime than the cost of more training, benefits etc. But I also see other factors in that they are almost in effect paying for two firefighters anyway, the one who is out sick and the one who has to cover for him. The firefighter who is working two or three long shifts in a row is more likely to become exhausted and then safety becomes an issue.

        Thanks for the input guys. I know this is one of those controversial issues. I am trying to look at this objectively and I aprreciate any and all feedback as all of you are out there in practice while I have to work off of theory.


        • #5
          ffspook is correct.... Sometimes Overtime is cheaper than hiring firefighters...

          For instance....Our department has 5 personnel assigned per shift with a minimum of 4 working. One of our shifts is down two people so I am sure someone is going to get moved . But instead of hiring two people and paying the benefits for those people, they will run with 4 on the shift and if someone is off they will pay someone overtime. If it is during the day on a weekday, the Chief will count as 4th....(dont get me started with that) and in other cases we have part timers who will fill the shift...... The part timers are firefighters in other jurisdictions (we are NON Union....not by my choice). It is cheaper to pay them than it is to pay me overtime. So in most cases all reserves are offered time to work if there is an open slot.

          In the county department that surrounds us it is my understanding that there is a huge overtime budget and some folks will make more in OT than their base salary. This is because they have a "Kelly" day and they do not have extra people assigned to cover them so every day there is overtime. I have heard that in some cases a guy will even come in and work OT on his kelly day.

          Kelly days at great for us but cause extra budget requirements to maintain staffing levels that are some where even close to adequate.
          09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
          IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
          "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
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          The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.


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