FIRE DEPARTMENT: MORE PRODUCTIVE DOWNTIME
The firefighters are not being fully utilized during their 42-hour workweek. Downtime represents an untapped resource.
Prepare and implement a plan for more productive use of downtime for firefighters on duty, but not actively responding to alarms.
Estimated Annual Impact:
Cannot be Estimated
Estimated Implementation Cost:
Barriers to Implementation:
Conduct an inventory of productive activities by hour of day and night including documented training, equipment maintenance, inspections, pre-fire plans, physical fitness, educational and health care institutional visits, etc.
Survey other City departments to identify functions that could be performed by firefighters while on duty in fire stations or as an in-service crew in the field, and what additional training would be required to perform these services. Examples of possible productive use of firefighters’ downtime include elementary health, building, zoning, or housing inspections, livability code enforcement, CPR classes, PAL Center staffing, stadium crowd control, security patrol, mail sorting, processing permits, responding to citizen complaints, minor repairs to parks and playgrounds, stream restoration, and school tutoring.
Fire suppression forces have historically been assigned substantially more hours per work week than other government employees. Until recent years, 56 hour work weeks were not uncommon. The three platoon system with 10 hour days and 14 hour nights, in fact, equate to a 56 hour average work week. With these extra hours beyond the usual 40 hour work week, the granting of sleep time on night shift and leisure time in the evening was rationalized. Now, however, with a shorter work week (presently 42 hours per week) and with the creation of a fourth platoon, allowing leisure time and sleep time of up to 16 hours per work week is not warranted.