Skip to main content
3 answers
3
Asked 256 views

What would a normal week for a firefighter look like?

Interested in the urban firefighting field.

+25 Karma if successful
From: You
To: Friend
Subject: Career question for you

3

3 answers


1
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Ryan’s Answer

Hi Connor. The answers given so far are fundamentally right. The shifts vary from department to department, and there can be many factors that affect them.

In my area, all of the fire departments work a 48/96 schedule, meaning you work 48-hours straight (2-days) and then have 96-hours off (4-days). So, your typical "week" is only 2-days! This may sound too good to be true...it is a great perk of the job...but it comes at a price. Those 48-hours can be long and stressful.

You typically start your 48 by arriving 30-40 minutes early, swapping out your equipment with the off-coming shift and receiving a "pass-down" briefing about how their shift went (what's broken, what's in service, what's out of service, what calls they ran and where, etc.). After swapping crews, the new crew will go through every fire truck and every piece of equipment on it to make sure its there, charged, fueled, positioned, tied down, and generally ready to go at a moments notice if needed. After that is usually some kind of conference call will the other stations, to make sure everyone knows the response plan for the day, whos working where, what activities or trainings are scheduled, what roads are closed in the district, what fire hydrants are out of service, what the forecast is, how many hazardous materials technicians are on duty that day, etc.

That, along with typical administrative duties like checking your email, will take up most of the morning on day 1. Many departments allow their crews to go shopping for groceries on-duty, so sometime that morning you may also make a quick run to the store to get the food you'll be cooking for the next 48-hours. The next day and half will be filled by your choice of activities: primarily project work, chores, community events, and training.

All firefighters have project work - the fire station doesn't run itself. So you may be in charge of airpacks, the uniform closed, the monthly newsletter, etc. The station also doesn't clean itself, so you will take time out of the day to clean. Sometimes there are community events like station tours by local scout troops, school visits, senior center visits, parades and picnics, etc. All of which are good opportunities to educate the public on fire safety. The big one though is training. You should train everyday to make sure you're staying proficient in your firefighting skills so you can perform them flawlessly at a moment's notice with no warning and no warm-up!

Usually around 4 or 5 o'clock you'll get a workout in, cook and eat dinner, sit down to unwind for the day, and then go to bed when you'd like, typically between 8 and 10pm. Then back up between 5:30 and 6:30am to start all over again for day 2!

The one thing missing from the description above is emergency calls. They can happen anytime and anywhere! Middle of pass-down briefing? Call! Middle of a meal? Call! Middle of training? Call! 3am when you're fast asleep? Call! It can vary wildly, with crews running anywhere from an average of 2 to 24 emergency calls in 24-hour period! It's possible that you may not sleep for 48-hours straight...but this is very rare because that is obviously unsafe. But, its common to get up at least once or twice a night for calls, which is part of why you get 4-days off every week to rest and recover before the next shift!

Obviously there are many factors and variables, but that's a pretty basic generic week in the life of a firefighter. I hope it helps!
1
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Hassan’s Answer

This will vary based on your local fire departments requirements. You can check https://glidefire.org/ and contact them to get specifics.

For example, Portland is trying out a new schedule of "one 24-hour shift on followed by 72 hours off, then 48 hours on, followed by 72 hours off."

What you'll be actually doing every day will also like be different day to day. You could be busy responding to fires, accidents, and other emergencies all day. If there aren't any emergencies, you'll likely be cleaning and maintaining all types of equipment. You could be cleaning and repairing the station and it's equipment. Studying for continued education requirements or on improving your physical fitness.
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Constance’s Answer

There are many different schedules, the ones I'm use to are 24 on 24 off 24 on 72 off. Some days you may do nothing, so days the only time you sit down is driving from call to call.
0