I can't comment on experience, but I know which I would rather have. I would rather work 24 hours straight. I know some folks have referenced not getting enough sleep in a busy house, but it is my preferred method.
24's are very nice as long a you don't have to wake up early and drive for hours to get to work. I used to work 24's and had to drive about 1 1/2 hrs each way to and from work. If you are awake at 0430 to get to work by 0700, up for the 24, and then the drive home. You are looking at 28 + hours awake. Very dangerous for everyone. Your reactions are slower and it's called sleep depravation. Some people think that sleep depravation and driving drunk are about equal. But what works best for one doesn't work for another.
This point is very true, and this is the reason why a lot of Paid departments have a residency restriction in place for their firefighters. A lot fo these departments also have allotted times where their firefighters have the ability (so long as not on the rig) to grab some sleep
As far as I know Northern Virginia doesn't have these restrictions. But due to the traffic in the am a normal 35-50 mile trip may take 3 hrs or more one way. Yes, we have desiginated sleeping quarters but, if you are running all night then you don't have much of a choice.
There are pros and cons of the 24. I am at a busy house so we run all nite and the day after a 24 is HARD. Bit our cycle is set up so that we have a built in 3 and 5 day break every couple weeks. Wich is real nice.
I think its important to pace yourself ona 24. Don't blow all your enger the frit 8 horus cause you could be up all nite.
I used to work, then managed, an EMS unti that pulled 24's. We were not a very busy unit, so one usually got a full night of rest before heading home. On the nights that were busy, they were usually preceeded by a pretty quiet day and evening shift, so even being up all night wasn't bad. Personally, I loved the opportunity to work 2 and be off 5. Our only real problem was limited staff, as we were a small company, yet paid, company. If someone called off, the shift had to be covered. 36 straight starts to put a strain on you, no matter how busy or slow the shift. 36 was the max we could do without a 24 hour break.
I am seeing alot of different views. My dept has EMS units (rescue) that do around 6,000 annually and some engines around 4500 so activity could be an issue.
When I was on one of those busy engines I still got up in the morning, went to part-time, and sometimes pulled 48 hour shifts sometimes 2x week. I always went home and slept very well. But I do agree with Salem8 about the feeling and your responses. You feel like the walking dead.
Thank you for your input. We will see what the department and membership want to do..
I absolutely despise 4on/4off. That shift schedule should be buried along with 3/4 boots and horse drawn engines. Disrupts your sleep schedule more than any 24 hour shift I ever ran. The only time I can see a 24 hour shift being a disadvantage is at some places like Baltimore City where some houses are up 24/7 regardless of day or night, and they found people getting into wrecks and making mistakes by the end of a shift due to sleep deprivation (or at least that's why I told they went to the 4/4 schedule). Personally, as long as you're not a house that runs calls all night long, I think 24 hour shifts are terrific. Just my $0.02...
I would like to get a list of at least 25 departments that do the 24 hour shifts. Once a list is established we need to ask those departments specific questions. So, my request is what department's have a 24 hour schedule?
My department uses a 24 on - 72 off, 4 shift rotation. I love the schedule. We used to work a 10/14 3 day shift where we did three 10 hours days, 3 days off, three 14 hr nights, 3 days off. I much prefer the 24 hr shift. Gives me more time at home and more time for my State Fire Instructor job. Some nights you sleep all night, some nights you don't sleep. We cannot work more than 36 hrs straight without a break. Our shift starts at 0715 which gets me home in time to see my kids before school.
I am a Lieutenant on an Engine Company for the Elmira NY Fire Department. We have been using this schedule for about 5 years now. It only sucks on a cold, busy night when you are ot of the house all night. Or when our Training Officer schedules 8 hrs a day of Haz Mat training for 4 consecutive shifts. ;-)
I work @ Gulfport Fire Department in Gulfport, MS.
We work a 24 on /48 off schedule. 07:30 - 07:30. I love it! I wouldn't have it any other way. Yeah, it can be a pain in the a&$ if you run all night, but, it is rare to run all night here. Even at our busiest stations there's still time to get a little sleep. If you work a second job (who doesn't) and have run all night... that can hurt. I work for a private ambulance service part-time so I can schedule my hours to my advantage. I work the day before I go on duty & that leaves the whole day after my shift to sleep or do things around the house. Like I said I wouldn't want any other schedule. 24 on 24 off would be a pain in the butt to me. Even if they gave me 4 days off in a row. Think about it, every morning you either leave for work or leave for home. I get to spend more time with my kids this way too.
The volly department I am training with houses a paid 911 response agency in the same station. For the members of those crews, as long as their "station duties" are done, they can kick their feet up or sack out whenever they like. We usually have one of this agency's crews in the house at a time so their standing rule is that one member of the crew stays awake during non-fatigue hours (fatigue call is between 11pm and 7am) to avoid the possibility of sleeping through a tone out. During fatigue call, they are required to at least lay down between calls whether they sleep or not. They tend to sleep with their radios on their pillows.