48/96 vs 24/48

Please only comment below if you have actually worked the 48/96. Please HELP US. Your thoughts after actually trying the 48/96. We have people that have never tried it and all they have is fear factors. How does it affect your family? Your sleep? Your happiness?

Please comment below negative or positive if you have actually worked 48/96

6 thoughts on “48/96 vs 24/48

  1. We work the 48/96 and I absolutely love it. I have worked a 24 in the past and I feel like when I go to work for a 48 I’m more apt to get actually settled in, and into a groove than when I worked a 24. On the flip side being home for 4 straight days is amazing. It is easier to plan around and when I take a 48 set off I get 10 straight days off. Vacations that once require 72 or more hours off now require only 48 leaving more of my time off to split with family and the ability to travel for training. When I’m home for 96 vs 24 or 48 I’m settling in and sleeping better knowing that I have multiple nights. This directly related to an improved mood at home and thus I feel also helped my relationship with my girlfriend and son. These are obviously specific to me but I don’t think I would ever willfully go back to a 24 hour shift without some fight.

  2. Background: We’ve been working 48’s for almost 10 years. We transitioned from a modified kelly. We have multiple suppression and medic transport companies that run 2500+ calls/year. I was a big proponent of trying the 48’s. It has been great in terms of reducing commute times, which is a big deal for us since no one can afford to live closer than 45-60 minutes to work. I also found it really nice to have a big block of time to get stuff done as a company.

    There are three potential downsides i see, they are;

    1 – there has been an undeniable reduction is members willingness to come in for events on a 4-day – i can’t say for certain that is only attributable to the schedule.

    2 – If your department has companies that are running 2500-3000+ calls a year, my opinion after working in the system for a long time is that the schedule is completely unsafe. On day two, people on those busy companies are not functioning at the top of their game…..sometimes they have that zombie look. Not the right thing for the customer we are serving.

    3 – Although it was clear when we transitioned that there is an expectation that day two is fair game for organized training and other activities, there is a fair amount of push back, especially after a busy night on activities scheduled on day two.

    So, i think if you have a strong culture of participation and don’t have companies running more than 2500 calls/year, its a nice schedule. Otherwise, i cannot recommend it from the perspective of the customer.

  3. Busy single engine firehouse. We ran 3700 calls last yr. We have been working the 48/96 for about 10 yrs now. 4 station dept, covering 100k plus population.

    Cons: Can be very exhausted by the afternoon of day two due to the sleepless nights and high call volume. 4 days off leaves ample time to get too involved in a second career and or certain vices. Can also give so much free time to spend more money.

    Pros: If made a priority, you can recover your sleep and decompress in the 4 days off. But that it up to the individual. I personally make health, sleep and family time a priority. And once I did that my life much improved. Commutes are cut way down. Use of fuel for my personal vehicle went way down. Cleaning supplies were another cost savings for the dept. The Chiefs try not to plan anything extra for us on day two and naps are encouraged. It also gives more consecutive time for projects and training.

    After working a few schedules, 48/96 is the most beneficial I have done. But it’s on the individual. YOU must prioritize your recovery.

    We did a trial and a complete study and haven’t looked back.

    Hope this helps.

  4. I have worked both 24/48 and 48/96 and prefer 48’s hands down. On the second day of my 48 I always felt more refreshed than the first day on 24’s. I first tried 48’s with a fellow firefighter through swaps and it was great. Both of us were actually able to pick up more OT that was available since we had 4 days off between shifts. When I moved to a department that was on 48’s I found more advantages to go along with the previous. I had more time to complete projects at home and at the station. I personally felt more willingness to spend the extra time with the guys at shift change because I didn’t have to rush off to be back in 2 days. There was more of an opportunity for quality training also. If you start one day and get banged out for calls you wouldn’t have to scratch the entire session because of time restraints, you could just pick up where you left off even if it was the next day.

  5. I love the 48/96 shift because it opened my schedule a lot more coming from a 24 on 24 off shift.

  6. 48/96 is really good for medium to low call volume departments with fire and EMS which is where I am working currently. I started my career in a busy city that was Fire and EMS on a 24/48 and could not imagine being on shift for 48 hours if that whole time was ambulance. It would definitely need to be split 24 fire suppression then 24 ambulance. In a fire department separate from EMS, it works well.
    The key for me is the mornings help me be rested. The time when call volume is lowest in a day is in the mornings. Therefore having the opportunity to sleep in after a busy first night at work will help the fatigue on day two. Also If you wake up early to go to work, say 5am, on a 24/48 you are doing that every third morning whereas in a 48/96 schedule that is only happening every 6th day.
    The days off are obviously better and reduced amount of commutes is better. Productivity is not better in a month to month standpoint since you are only at work 5 times instead of 10 times but on a shift to shift basis you are accomplishing more in a 48 than a 24 hour period.
    Now that I am in a 48/96 schedule I never want to go back to 24/48. I personally am more willing to work overtime or come in for community events when I am off on my 4 days. I also have a part time job at another fire department that is flexible to make allowance for my full time department needing me for overtime. My time at home with family is also maximized by still having days to spend with them when I am well rested in my 4 days off. When I worked 24/48 I would come home exhausted and did not have a good quality first day off with family because I was recovering and the second day off was cut short because I had to get rested to come into work the next day. If I had a busy 48 hours off then I would come in to work exhausted which made me feel guilty when at work. All in all 48/96 is ideal for the line personnel.

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