What is a Firefighter’s Schedule?
Most commonly firefighters work in 24-hour shifts, reporting to work at 0700 and work until 0700 the next day. On the average firefighters work a total of 56 hours per week (but since these hours are worked on a continual basis, firefighters enjoy a lot of time off). On the average firefighters work (10) 24-hour shifts each month, leaving them to enjoy 20 days each month where his is off-duty.
(Some departments on the East Coast work 8 and 12 hour shifts, the 24-hour shift is by far the most common shift schedule.)
If a firefighter is assigned to work a particular day that conflicts with a family event or vacation he is allowed to have another firefighter cover his shift. "Shift trades" are common practice in the fire station and do not affect the department in any way as each firefighter covers for the other and no overtime is generated. Records are kept by the firefighters and trades are repaid on the honor system.
In the 24-hour shift schedule each fire station has three different identical shifts assigned, designated as A, B and C shift. Each shift has the exact same compliment of staffing assigned to the fire engine or fire truck. While there are some differences from department to department, the rotation schedule is very simple to follow.
Below is a sample of a firefighter’s schedule. Notice that each shift has its own color code.