What do days long shifts look like?

NPO

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CalFire has contracts with many cities and counties to provide service. In my area of SoCal they have a mix of duties. They have city based engines which respond to anything and everything from medical aids to state fires, brush crews which respond to the same stuff, and didicated wildland units.

During the summer months they will force everyone on and revoke all PTO requests even if they were already approved. It’s so bad there is even a Facebook meme account called Forcey the Bear who comes out of hibernation during the summer months to screw your life and steal your wife.
Not every CALFIRE administrative unit is like this. They all have staffing patterns that require OT but it sounds like either the unit you're most familiar with is run pretty poorly.

If I had to guess, I'd say RRU.
 

DesertMedic66

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Not every CALFIRE administrative unit is like this. They all have staffing patterns that require OT but it sounds like either the unit you're most familiar with is run pretty poorly.

If I had to guess, I'd say RRU.
well, you’re not wrong. During a heavy fire season we are always talking to guys who said “I’m on day 26 straight. Don’t know when I’ll get to go home”.
 

Tigger

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We are only supposed to work 60 hours, but when the supervisors are routinely scheduling themselves for 72s, that policy is not regularly followed by anyone. 72s at the busy station (usually four or five calls per crew with an average call time of 140 minutes in 24 hours) kinda suck, but at the slow station they are cake. We work a rotating Kelly station so throwing an extra 24 or trade in between your duty days is a nice way to not ruin your four day. I would like to see us allow 72s but prevent more than 48 at any time at the busy station.

Some of my part time jobs allow 120 hours shifts, they are much slower. No way I could do that though. Paramedic school and full time work were enough of a taste of that.
 
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DrParasite

The fire extinguisher is not just for show
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The busiest engine company last year was about 5800 calls plus another 500 calls in their area that other engines had to run. That station added a medic patrol vehicle to it this year.
that averages out to about 16 calls in 24 hours.... ok, the busy stations are busier than I thought.
 

CALEMT

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that averages out to about 16 calls in 24 hours.... ok, the busy stations are busier than I thought.

I was curious and my google-fu found this:

Based on 2017 calls in stations’ primary response areas.

  1. Menifee (Sun City), Station No. 7 — 6,380 calls
  2. Desert Hot Springs, Station No. 37 — 4,909 calls
  3. Palm Desert (North), Station No. 71 — 4,898 calls
  4. San Jacinto, Station No. 25 — 4,878 calls
  5. Moreno Valley (Towngate), Station No. 6 — 4,857 calls
  6. Moreno Valley (Sunnymead), Station No. 2 — 3,899 calls
  7. Beaumont, Station No. 20 — 3,786 calls
  8. Moreno Valley (Kennedy Park), Station No. 65 — 3,786 calls
  9. Indio, Station No. 86 — 3,607 calls
  10. North Bermuda Dunes, Station No. 81 — 3,074 calls
 

wirk242

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Where is this?

Calfire Rivco, BAT 12 and 7. They have boxes at the stations.
I can go into details but the suck is real. 120 hour shifts on vans that run 10-15 calls a day is normal for most people. On staffing patters it's not uncomoun to be on a 1st roll box for 10days in a row. My personal longest was 9 days.

At that point it's about survival.
 
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wirk242

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sounds like either the unit you're most familiar with is run pretty poorly.

If I had to guess, I'd say RRU.
It's not the staffing patterns that are the main issue. It's just that the state is not competitive with local government in socal. Better schedule, more money.. most people do a few years the bounce. That leave the people left to back fill. If you don't have relife you don't get to go home. They try to limit it to 2 forces per shift. So that 5 days... Easch week... Not fun.
Not a good way to run the 3rd-4th largest department in California.
 

DrParasite

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Calfire Rivco, BAT 12 and 7. They have boxes at the stations.
you mean ambulances right? just clarrifying
I can go into details but the suck is real. 120 hour shifts on vans that run 10-15 calls a day is normal for most people.
15 urban EMS calls (where you have hospitals on every corner, so you have short transport and response times) in 24 isn't too bad, but I can see where it could cause problems after the 2rd or 3rd (or 5th) consecutive day. And I thought 10 calls in 12 hours was rough.
On staffing patters it's not uncomoun to be on a 1st roll box for 10days in a row. My personal longest was 9 days.
ewwwww. sounds like they need more EMS units, or at least the ability to trade off whose up for the next call.
At that point it's about survival.
Respectfully, no it's not. It's about getting out, and not accepting that it's OK to be working in miserable conditions. The smart people leave for better options, while the suckers stay for years. 9 back to back 24 hour shifts? and all on the ambulance? what does your wife say? have you even had time to see your girlfriend? do your kids even remember what you look like? how many of their special events have you said you would attend, and then cancelled last minute? The paychecks might look good, but sounds like it destroys your entire life, and no job is worth that.

Sounds like a massively mismanaged system, one that I would expect from a private system, not a county based fire department that is contracted out to the state. But I'm an east coaster, and apparently things are a little different in California.

I have a life outside of my job, and while I have no problems doing longer shifts during major disasters (major storms, earthquake, tornado, power outages), or scheduled events (superbowl, national conventions, etc), I don't want to have to live at work. If you force me (which happened due to staffing at my previous job), I'm typically not going to be happy because I have a life outside of work. Plus, I have a side job, who is relying on me to work that shift, so if I get forced at the my FT job, it leaves them in a bind. 1 time they will accept, especially in a disaster; if it's a regular thing, they are going to fire me. And yes, when Sandy hit the east coast, we lost all of our part timers to their full time jobs, and it was completely acceptable because it was an unplanned disaster.

Just for comparison, here are the busiest fire engines in the US (as per 2016)
  1. San Fransisco, CA = E3 (10,830: 30 runs per shift)
  2. Washington, DC = E30 (7,690: 21 runs per shift)
  3. Los Angeles City, CA = E9 (7,365: 20 runs per shift)
  4. Orange County, FL = E51 (6,919: 19 runs per shift)
  5. San Diego, CA = E4 (6,790: 19 runs per shift)
And the busiest Fire Department based ambulance in the US

1. Prince George’s County, MD = A829 (8,916 runs, 24.4 per shift)
2. Seattle, WA = AID2 (8,138 runs, 22.3 per shift)
3. Chicago, IL = A10 (7,892 runs, 21.6 per shift)
4. Philadelphia, PA = M8 (7,776 runs, 21.3 per shift)
5. Baltimore City, MD = M21 (7,519 runs, 20.6 per shift)

If I was forced to work 9 days straight on a regular basis I would be looking for a new job... I'm surprised more people that area aren't.
 

johnrsemt

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FT job we work 48 hours straight then have 5 days off; but here busy is 1 run per week; (including fire alarms) and we roll on everything that fire goes on, and they go on everything we go on. The longest
If we transport it varies from 45 minutes to 90 minutes from gate to hospital (depending on which hospital) and it has taken me up to 2 hours to get to the gate from our scenes before so that can be interesting.
Longest I have worked here was 96 hours straight.
We have sleep rooms, (separate rooms for each person), computers with internet, TV's with cable at one station, satellite at the other station full kitchens.

PT job is as many hours as you want to work (FT there is 96 hours straight; 4 10 hour days doing office work {ordering supplies, stocking, training, following up on runs, billing, going to court, etc}): then on call at night. All transports are at least 105 miles due to that is the closest hospital.
Their busiest day was 12 runs in 24 hours (9 transports split between 3 trucks).

My old job was busy private EMS; I had done 21 runs in 12 hours before; I did a few shifts where it was only 1 run, but my longest transport was 22 hours 1 way. lots of shorter runs; but they could still be 10 or 12 hours 1 way.
Overtime there was so available that I stopped calling in on overtime pages until they had been paging out for at least 3 hours; and I still had more than I could work. Money was nice, but I realized I ate out almost $750 one month.
 
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