shift system

The common image of the Fire and Rescue Service is naturally one of firefighters turning out in fire engines and fighting fires. It is true of course that some of the work involves attendance at fires, but the role is much wider than this.

In recent years, greater emphasis has been placed on the Fire and Rescue Service's role within the community; with firefighters spending more time out in the community raising awareness, conducting Home Fire Safety Checks, communicating fire prevention and other safety messages.

In addition, a firefighter's work and training also has to be geared to responding at speed to emergency calls, regardless of weather conditions or the time of day or night. Every time firefighters are called to the scene of an emergency they must be prepared to deploy each and every skill in which they have been trained.

Fully competent firefighters are skilled technicians capable of using the most modern equipment, methods and techniques to undertake the full range of firefighting, rescues, road traffic collisions and other emergencies that the Fire and Rescue Service is called upon to deal with.

When they arrive at an incident as part of a team under the command of an incident commander, firefighters have to absorb a great deal of information rapidly and apply the skills they have learnt in conditions which will often be extremely dangerous and confusing. Despite all the training given in preparation for such incidents, however, firefighters will from time to time be faced with new situations where they may individually be required to provide solutions using previous experiences as a guide.

With such a varied job, the characteristics of a firefighter have to be those of courage; physical and mental strength; the capacity for rapid, intense and sustained effort, and an unquestioning acceptance of orders at emergencies, combined with the ability to use initiative when alone. A firefighter also needs to be compassionate and above all, display a positive and professional attitude at all times.

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shift system

Duty Systems

The Service operates a number of wholetime duty systems;

A summary of them is below:

Shift Duty

The 42 hour week, four group duty system operates at all shift duty stations. The day shift will be from 0800 hours until 1800 hours and the night shift from 1800 hours until 0800 hours in accordance with a rota of two days/two nights/four days off duty.

Day Crewing

The Day Crewing system provides for wholetime duty for an average of 42 hours weekly over a twelve week period. An average maximum of 35 hours are worked on the station each week.

In addition, members of staff are required to provide an average of 42 hours retained availability each week.

Duty days comprise the following:

• 0800 – 2000 hours - Defined bandwidth for undertaking wholetime duties, to include 10 positive and 2 standby hours

• 2000 – 0800 hours - Retained duties

Some Stations operate a flexible day crewing system.

Day Crewing Plus

The Day Crewing Plus system of duty consists of a combination of 'positive' and 'standby' hours.

Positive hours – provides an average working week of 42 hours over a twelve month period. No fixed working pattern is imposed and employees are required to self-roster in accordance with relevant guidance.

The positive component involves 12 hour shifts (including meal breaks), during which time employees undertake routine duties, ie training, community fire safety etc. Whilst indicative start and finish times of 0800 and 2000 are employed, these are flexible in accordance with local needs.

To meet the 42 hour week contractual obligation, staff are required to work a total of 148 shifts per annum after leave and public holidays are taken into account (figures quoted assume long service leave entitlement)

Working patterns are agreed in 12 week blocks and staff will be required to work a total of 34 shifts in each 12 week period. For managerial purposes, all shifts must be agreed and the rota fully populated a minimum of 6 weeks prior to the commencement of the relevant 12 week block.

Standby Hours – staff are available in 12 hour periods for up to 42 hours per week on average. During this time they will be on call for emergencies and must be able to respond to incidents within the specified timeframe. Staff may be on call at their own base provided that they can meet the specified response time. Alternatively, purpose built accommodation is provided if this is not possible.