How fire crew schedules play out elsewhere in US
To the editor:
Amherst firefighters have received an extension on their experimental 24-hour shift plan. This plan, which gives firefighters five consecutive days off after working two of three days, is proclaimed by fire unions to be a national trend.
Unions leave out some data in this area. Northern fire departments are on a plan of 24 hours on, a day off, 24 hours on, then five days off for a 42-hour work week (and 2,200 hours per year). Southern fire departments, where the 24-hour trend evolved, put in more time: 24 hours on, a day off, 24 hours on, three days off for a 52-hour work week (and 2,900 hours per year).
Southern fire unions are well aware of the northern 42-hour week schedules, but southern lawmakers are a bit more conservative and stingy.