Buffalo firefighters are starting to get used to the longer shifts after a new schedule went into effect on January 2. No longer are Buffalo firefighters working two nine-hour shifts and two 15-hour shifts a week, instead, they've began working 24-hour shifts.
“About 75% of departments across North America are already on this schedule," says Vinny Ventresca, president of Local 282, Buffalo Professional Firefighters. “When I talked to them, they were excited about it, it was something that they were looking forward to. . . We were like, 'okay, we’re gonna start January First,' guys were like, 'no we want to start tomorrow.'”
The policy proposed by the city has been discussed since 2006. The schedule change allows for half of the shift turnover and increased rest for firefighters; they're given another 24 hours off duty after completing a 24-hour shift.
Buffalo Fire Commissioner William Renaldo released this statement:
The new scheduling increases efficiency effectiveness and allows for greater training opportunities, consolidates hours and reduces overtime.
Ventresca says that firefighters should be taking care of themselves throughout their shift so they aren't fatigued by the end.
“Even when we would come in on a night shift, fires would come in all throughout the night so you’re going form a point of rest to instant action and that’s kinda the way we function and you just kinda get used to that," Ventresca says.