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Quarters: do you have them?

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Unless you have a multi-hour commute between home and work (which is indeed the norm in some systems), I never saw the allure of 24 hour shifts, personally. You can't easily go to school on that schedule. You cant easily work a second job. You can't spend adequate time with your loved ones. Not to mention the proven increase in risks and liability involved in employing potentially un-rested personnel to practise medicine on human lives and operate dangerous machinery. It's archaic and frankly retarded policy that EMS outgrew in the 1970s. Unfortunately, we are generally managed by idiots, who are no smarter than the knuckle-dragging firemonkeys they get all of their inspiration from.

But then again, management wants it this way, even if they know better. Anything that helps prevent burnout is to be avoided at all costs. After all, if people don't regularly burn out, they stay with you and eventually expect a raise, or worse yet, retirement benefits. Better to keep working conditions uncomfortable enough to promote regular staff turnover. There's always another class of eager new EMTs graduating next week, who will work for less, and are counting on you to grow up and get a real job so they can take their turn playing with the siren.

That, my friends, is why we have 24 hour shifts. You'd have to be an idiot or a rookie to think that is a good thing.

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I am there to work not sleep and the busier we are the better!:jump:

I have never understood the sleep while on duty thing. If you are working a 24 that's one thing but seriously, if you are working a 12 or 10 hour shift you shouldn't be sleeping. A cat nap or two is fine but you should be sleeping on your off time.

As an employer, I don't pay you to sleep, I pay you to work. There's always something that can be done to keep you occupied.

Internet and television are different because you can jump up and get to the truck when the pagers are still going off. If you are sleeping it takes 30 to 60 seconds to get fully awake and to the truck. I don't want you driving me around when you are coming out of your nap. It's dangerous.

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I know one service (Hamilton) has beds in their stations, but ironically they're so busy anyone I know who works there says they barely see them.

I can attest to that. Hamilton is just like you describe your service. You spend as much time at other people's stations as at your own. Although, you spend more time in ER waiting areas and at Timmy's than in any station. The beds are a nice thought, but don't see a whole lot of use. But then again you ought to be coming to work rested, no matter how long or short your shift is.

I worked a rural county service in Texas that not only had nice stations and beds, but sleeping was allowed anytime. You did not have to wait for evening. At first, I thought this was the ideal policy. But serious problems rapidly developed from the policy. Many employees simply made no effort to get sleep the night before their shift, because they expected to be able to go to sleep at work as soon as they checked out the truck. So now, it is automatic bad attitude if they catch an early run, and patients and co-workers suffer.

Also, if the off-going crew had a busy night, and wanted to sleep in, they would end up in a fight with the on-coming crew over the bed. And to make sure that didn't happen, the on-coming crew would make as much noise as humanly possible, assuring nobody could continue to sleep, even if they tried. Consequently, personnel relations were very strained and clickish. It was a sad situation in an otherwise excellent, county hospital-based system. That's what happens when management tries too hard to make everyone happy.

Be careful what you wish for.

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While I never did it, I have friends who are so wiped by a double (16 hours), rather than risk falling asleep driving home, will "crash" at their station, or at a nearby one, on the couch for a few hours, then return to pull their usual next 8 hour tour.

Edited by Richard B the EMT

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While I never did it, I have friends who are so wiped by a double (16 hours), rather than risk falling asleep driving home, will "crash" at their station, or at a nearby one, on the couch for a few hours, then return to pull their usual next 8 hour tour.

Better be safe than sorry on the drive home.

I have spent many a post shift sleeping on the couch in the crews quarters at work. Beats having my co-workers see my naked ass when packaging me for a rollover because I fell asleep at the wheel.

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I have never understood the sleep while on duty thing. If you are working a 24 that's one thing but seriously, if you are working a 12 or 10 hour shift you shouldn't be sleeping. A cat nap or two is fine but you should be sleeping on your off time.

As an employer, I don't pay you to sleep, I pay you to work. There's always something that can be done to keep you occupied.

Internet and television are different because you can jump up and get to the truck when the pagers are still going off. If you are sleeping it takes 30 to 60 seconds to get fully awake and to the truck. I don't want you driving me around when you are coming out of your nap. It's dangerous.

Eh, different strokes. I very much enjoy the fact that I can do what I choose with my time when I'm not on a call. I wouldn't want to work for someone who had the attitude of "everyone needs to be busy on a task 100% of the time they're on shift." When the tones go off for a call, I am ready to go every single time. I don't generally drive so that's not an issue, and my boots zip up real quick. I see no reason to do anything different from what we currently do.

In any case- what do you do at 0300 in the morning when there are no calls? Clean the underside of the ambulance?

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Eh, different strokes. I very much enjoy the fact that I can do what I choose with my time when I'm not on a call. I wouldn't want to work for someone who had the attitude of "everyone needs to be busy on a task 100% of the time they're on shift." When the tones go off for a call, I am ready to go every single time. I don't generally drive so that's not an issue, and my boots zip up real quick. I see no reason to do anything different from what we currently do.

In any case- what do you do at 0300 in the morning when there are no calls? Clean the underside of the ambulance?

Notice I said cat napping or napping. Not sleeping. there is a difference. What I meant by sleeping is getting out of the work uniform and getting into bed.

But I also do say that if you are working an 11 or 12 hour shift, then you should not be sleeping. You should have gotten enough sleep in between shifts in order to not need to go full out sleep.

Now 24 hour shifts are completely different as well as being called in between shifts. Sleep is allowed.

And the last couple services I worked at, since we were staffing the ER and the ambulance, we were indeed awake and working on paperwork or patient care in the ER. I think maybe that part is where I'm coming from as to the no sleep policy.

IF you are so tired that you need to go to sleep in between calls are you really alert enough to work to your best?

This is my opinion only, not anyone elses.

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But serious problems rapidly developed from the policy. Many employees simply made no effort to get sleep the night before their shift, because they expected to be able to go to sleep at work as soon as they checked out the truck.

I will have to agree with this statement. I work for a private hospital based ambulance service that fought for sleeping rooms since they worked 24 hour shifts, they got their sleep rooms. However new management came in and did away with scheduled 24 hour shifts.

You can still get stuck working 72 hour shifts, if you work the night crew you usually are on call during the day and you can do this three days back to back since we work 12 hour shifts and 36 hours is full time. We run 1,200 calls a year so we get called in regularly for 8-12 hours prior to our 12 hour shifts. We primarily do inter-facility transfers with limited 911 so we have 3-10 hour turn around times for our transfers so we try to sleep on the way home if we are not driving of course.

Our sleeping policy is if we get tired we lay down if we got our rigs checked (one crew checks three rigs) and our reports are wrote. And as Dustdevil wrote this has caused several of our staff to come in poorly rested and go straight to bed, hoping that they don't have an early run.

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To expand on something I said.

I'm good with people sleeping but not lying down out of uniform in bed unless you are working a 24.

What I do have issues with is those people who expect to sleep and do just that even though all the required station duties and tasks for that day are done.

Usually we had enough station duties and tasks assigned by the supervisor that we didn't get a chance to sleep. But with concerted effort and time management we could get them done in the first couple of hours and then we did what we wanted to do.

Usually it was sit in front of the television or computer. I usually studied for my masters program or wrote my childrens books for my son and daughter. Now that I am mostly retired from EMS, except for a few shifts here and there, I spend more time making sure that the client I'm working for has a smoothly running ED. I'm lucky to get 5-6 hours of sleep a day.

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<br />Unless you have a multi-hour commute between home and work (which is indeed the norm in some systems), I never saw the allure of 24 hour shifts, personally. You can't easily go to school on that schedule. You cant easily work a second job. You can't spend adequate time with your loved ones. Not to mention the proven increase in risks and liability involved in employing potentially un-rested personnel to practise medicine on human lives and operate dangerous machinery. It's archaic and frankly retarded policy that EMS outgrew in the 1970s. Unfortunately, we are generally managed by idiots, who are no smarter than the knuckle-dragging firemonkeys they get all of their inspiration from.<br />

<br />

But then again, management wants it this way, even if they know better. Anything that helps prevent burnout is to be avoided at all costs. After all, if people don't regularly burn out, they stay with you and eventually expect a raise, or worse yet, retirement benefits. Better to keep working conditions uncomfortable enough to promote regular staff turnover. There's always another class of eager new EMTs graduating next week, who will work for less, and are counting on you to grow up and get a real job so they can take their turn playing with the siren.<br />

<br />

That, my friends, is why we have 24 hour shifts. You'd have to be an idiot or a rookie to think that is a good thing.<br />

<br /><br /><br />

While I am definitely not a rookie, and well, being an idiot is still out for debate....

But I kind of take offense at the last part of your statement.

24s have been the norm in this area since I started back in 92 and I am sure alot longer than that.

Since I have a 50 minute commute with turnpike tolls it is cheaper( so to speak) to do 24 rather than double my gas and toll charges.

As far as 2nd jobs.... It makes it alot easier actually. If I have to work 3 12s or 4 10s then that pretty much excludes a second job. A 24 and 12 leaves plenty of time to pick up more shifts at another squad.

As far as liability. Studies have been done that 24 is the effective limit for our industry. Every time we would stay on status longer than that the county would send u a "nasty gram". Which basically was a photocopy of the study saying don't stay on longer than 24.

So other than your personal opinion..... Do you have any other proof I'm an idiot?

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