DISADVANTAGES

AWAY FROM HOME FOR 48 HOURS

This is one of the biggest concerns voiced by personnel considering this schedule. However, the majority of firefighters already working this schedule have found their concerns about this issue to be much less significant than they originally thought.  Most of them believe that the benefits provided by the 48/96 far outweigh this issue.

WORKING 48 HOUR SHIFTS

Another big concern for firefighters regarding this schedule is that of continuous 48 hour shifts.  Many firefighters fear that fatigue will present a safety hazard while others just don't like working 48's.  While fatigue is a valid concern, especially for the busier companies, it's important to point out that the majority of firefighters assigned to busy stations routinely work overtime or "exchange of time," resulting in 48 or 72 hour shifts, and there's been no issues with fatigue.  Firefighters who work the 48/96 schedule report that any increase in short-term fatigue is countered by the decrease in long-term fatigue by having 4-day recovery periods and an increase in the number of "sleep-in days".  In fact, many firefighters state that they feel more rested on the 48/96 than they did on their previous schedule, including firefighters at busy stations.  Please visit the fatigue section for more information.

Most firefighters don't enjoy working 48 hour shifts, but the majority of firefighters on the 48/96 report that the benefits more than compensate for working 48 hour shifts.  Forty-eight's are particularly difficult on the 24/48 schedule because you only have one day to recover.  By having 4 days to recover and an extra morning at home to potentially sleep in, it's very likely that this 48 hour shift will feel very different than the 48 that you're accustomed to now. 

ADJUSTMENT OF PERSONAL SCHEDULE

Any change in personal schedules can be difficult to manage and may cause an increase in stress and anxiety.  Firefighters with unique family situations such as child custody schedules and/or care for sick/dependent family members are likely to face challenges, especially during the transitional period.  However, many families have found that the 48/96 actually improved their situation.  Many firefighters have expressed concern about childcare.  Firefighters work the same number of weekdays on the 48/96 as they do on the 24/48.  Therefore, there is very little effect regarding child care issues.  Firefighters with young children, whose spouse works Mon-Fri will still be required to find 1-2 days of childcare each week.  The only difference is that the days will be consecutive as opposed to being split like they are now, which could potentially make it easier to arrange and explain to care providers.

Please see the following example as we compare the number of weekdays worked on both schedules for a period of 6 weeks. The 24/48 is on a 3-week cycle where as the 48/96 is on a 6-week cycle.

 

 

 

 

As you can see, either schedule requires the firefighter to work 10 weekdays every 6 weeks.  

 

 

CHRISTMAS EVE AND CHRISTMAS

Occasionally one shift is scheduled to work Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  This phenomenon occurs approximately 3 out of every 8 years.  Some departments remedy this situation by swapping Dec 24 and Dec 26.  Please see the following example:

 

WORK 9 FULL WEEKENDS PER YEAR

Each shift will work 9 full weekends (Sat/Sun) per year.  This occurs once every 6 weeks. However, the fact that you are completely off 26 weekends per year instead of only 17 should be considered as well.

 

 

• AWAY FROM HOME 48 HOURS

• WORKING 48 HOUR SHIFTS

• ADJUSTMENT OF PERSONAL SCHEDULE

• POSSIBILITY OF WORKING CHRISTMAS EVE AND CHRISTMAS 

• WORK 9 FULL WEEKENDS PER YEAR

WEEK 1

WEEK 2

WEEK 3

WEEK 4

WEEK 5

WEEK 6

Sun/Wed/Sat

Tues/Fri

Mon/Thurs

Sun/Wed/Sat

Tues/Fri

Mon/Thurs

1

2

2

1

2

2

24/48

# of Weekdays

Worked

WEEK 1

WEEK 2

WEEK 3

WEEK 4

WEEK 5

WEEK 6

Sun/Mon/Sat

Sun/Fri/Sat

Thurs/Fri

Wed/Thurs

Tues/Wed

Mon/Tues

1

1

2

2

2

2

48/96

# of Weekdays Worked

On the 24/48, a particular day of the week is worked, and then that day is not worked the next 2 weeks, then the schedule repeats.

On the 48/96, a particular day of the week is worked 2 weeks in a row, and then that day is not worked for the next 4 weeks.

SUMMARY

December - Scheduled

December - Adjusted