Shift change question

Rachammer

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So if a call comes in for either fire or EMS say 15 mins before shift change… obviously you can’t wait 15 mins so the shift thats on go on the call… but i guess they won’t be back for shift change so here comes my question… do they get paid overtime for the extra time untill they get back to quarters to do the shift change or are the compensated in some other way?
 

Lebby

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So if a call comes in for either fire or EMS say 15 mins before shift change… obviously you can’t wait 15 mins so the shift thats on go on the call… but i guess they won’t be back for shift change so here comes my question… do they get paid overtime for the extra time untill they get back to quarters to do the shift change or are the compensated in some other way?
If a run goes pass tour change we are given overtime.
 

Capttomo

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Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) , federal law generally mandates that overtime be paid for the situation you described unless addressed specifically in a bargaining unit agreement with the employer. One South Florida department has firefighters work 24/48 with a Dropped shift every third week. That is a 48 hour workweek. However per their contract they work a 52 hour work week on paper. So the first 4 hours of overtime are at straight time. The real world , and right thing to do (the much talked about brotherhood) is for the oncoming tour to be at the firehouse at least a half hour early so that you can jump
On the rig in the situation you described so the off going members can home. ( a half hour early is a half hour late).
 

3511

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Still a great question Rachamner. I recall asking my Dad the same thing when I was a young’un, like maybe in grade school.

I will let those who have knowledge of today’s union/labor laws address this current situation, but perhaps I can give a historical perspective, the times before there was any overtime pay for the rank and file of who were then called, simply, “firemen”.

Since the 1920s when the continuous duty system was abolished it has always been customary for the incoming tour to arrive 30 minutes early to take any job that came in just before the roll call.

But what, I asked my father, of a working fire that the company engaged an hour or so prior to the change of tour? In the 1950s and 60s, the men of the incoming shift would load their turnout gear into one of the members’ private car and off they went to relieve those at the scene. The car went back to quarters with the those relieved from duty. Doubtful if anyone was reimbursed for the mileage and gas.

But my Dad went on further to his earlier days on the job in H&L14 in Harlem, then one of the busiest companies in the FDNY. In that time before radio communications, they might arrive at an empty fire-house on 125th St., their only clue as to the whereabouts of the company being the box # on the chalkboard at the watch desk. A telephone call to the dispatcher‘s office would apprise them of the situation at the incident. This, now, was the 1930s and during WWII, when hardly a member had an automobile. So what to do? The crew would gather their gear and, flashing their “tins”, jump on the IRT Lexington Ave Subway, or a crosstown trolley, or even a Yellow Cab, to go and relieve their brothers. No reimbursement necessary, and no overtime for anyone. The company was on duty till the fire was extinguished. (Can you imagine a bunch of firefighters today storming the subway carrying their bunker gear?)

Thanks, Dad. You are gone these 45 years but your stories, knowledge, and wisdom still linger.

Happy Father’s Day.
 

memorymaster

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If one of the incoming platoon had a car it was driven with the crew to the job and relieved crew would bring it back to quarters.
 

JohnnyGage

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A couple of thoughts, sometimes we had a division or battalion vehicle pick us up at the firehouse and take us to the scene, relieve the members and return. By contract we also received a half hour after the job for "wash up" time.
 

nfd2004

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I can remember my father working a 72 hour week in Bridgeport, Ct in the 1950s and there was NO OVERTIME Pay
If he was off duty and a major job came in, he was called in at NO PAY. Just part of his duties within the job.
That usually happened about 3 or 4 times a year.

He also had to live in the city and if he left town, he had to leave a phone number where he could be reached in case one of those big jobs came in.
His mother and father (my grandparents) lived two towns away and he would have to leave their phone number every time we went there to visit them
The only time he didn't need to do that was when he was on vacation.
For those who remember, one day a year we would go to "Freedom Land", where Co-Op City is now.
That was the highlight of our vacation and a pizza at the only "Pepe's Pizza", at that time located in New Haven.

In 1975, I got on the job here in Norwich, Ct.
It really wasn't where I wanted to be.
"I really wanted Bridgeport, where my father was on the job".
But that didn't happen
So I guess when they open the door for you, "you gotta walk in and take it".
So that's what I did and I'm glad I did.

At that time it was a requirement for members of the dept (Norwich) to live in the city and the members were just in the process of going from a 48 hour work week to a 42 hour work week.

For a major fire, we were also required to come in, at NO Pay as just part of our duties.
Like "3511" stated here, we would go to our assigned firehouse and one of us would use our own car to transport the other guys
Again at NO PAY and we were NOT ALONE throughout the state in doing so at that time.

I can remember people telling me that I was crazy working that job and I should find another, as there were many much more higher paying jobs than to be a "FIREMAN".
But being a "FIREMAN" was just something I wanted to do.

As the saying goes: "If you love your job you never work a day in your life"
Speaking from experience, "there sure is a lot of truth in that"

After a few years as "Capttomo" says, "the Fair Labor Standards Act" kicked in and it became a requirement, unless other wise specified in the local contract to pay overtime whenever working above 40 hours.

I must also add, I can also understand where "tem217" is coming from.
At least in my case, whenever we got a pay raise or a benefit, people (taxpayers) paying our salary seemed to be upset with that.
Even people I knew would tell me I'm costing them more money.
But they weren't upset when we were out there in the bitter freezing cold, fighting a fire for FREE as just part of our job.

Anyway, thank you all for contributing to the initial question and certainly for taking the time to hear my story.

Bottom line for me, "I would do it all over again if I could".
 

JohnnyGage

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I'd like to share a quote from R1 Paul Hashagen; “I used to tell people they pay me to take care of the truck and clean the building, because you can't pay me enough money to risk my life, I do that for free.”.....'nuff said.
 
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lucky

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I only remember relieving at jobs. We were on the Staten Island Box that came in every morning in the spring and fall.
On some days the day crew would be held on the island and we would get in a car and relieve them. They would get
back to Bed Sty after 8 PM with no overtime.
I remember my father walking from Richmond Hill to Ridgewood for a snow recall with public transportation down.
They had snow recalls quite often because it didn't cost them a penny in salaries.
 

68jk09

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Many years ago recalls were called often ....both for real & anticipated storms etc. I remember my Father having to go to work very often based on a forecast that sometime did not turn out to be anything.....as said they was no OT so the city did not care.
 

mack

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No one gets paid for helping at a job or emergency when off-duty, even though it always has been done, is done, and probably always will be done - no matter where the incident is - in your own neighborhood or while on vacation somewhere else. One Backdraft movie quote is pretty accurate "A funny thing about fireman is, night and day, they are always fireman." When a tragedy or serious incident occurs, no one waits for pay.
 

Lebby

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No one gets paid for helping at a job or emergency when off-duty, even though it always has been done, is done, and probably always will be done - no matter where the incident is - in your own neighborhood or while on vacation somewhere else. One Backdraft movie quote is pretty accurate "A funny thing about fireman is, night and day, they are always fireman." When a tragedy or serious incident occurs, no one waits for pay.
We are actually eligible for pay if we assist while off duty at a job within city limits. While I've never put in for it, it is nice knowing that the department has our backs especially with insurance and liability allowing us to help to the fullest extent possible.
 

memorymaster

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We are actually eligible for pay if we assist while off duty at a job within city limits. While I've never put in for it, it is nice knowing that the department has our backs especially with insurance and liability allowing us to help to the fullest extent possible.
Lebby, when did that start?
 

mack

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We are actually eligible for pay if we assist while off duty at a job within city limits. While I've never put in for it, it is nice knowing that the department has our backs especially with insurance and liability allowing us to help to the fullest extent possible.

Lebby - this does not appear to be simple or the city "having your back". Union contracts probably now legally include liability protection and injury protection with specific qualifications and probably require prior supervisory approvals. NY State laws probably exist which apply to off-duty work. Pay might now be a possibility in some circumstances but it does not seem realistic that NYC workers can easily or effectively get paid for voluntary work off duty, which occurs so frequently. I think that firefighters and police officers help when they are off duty because that is who they are and not because of possible pay. They should have liability and medical protection when they do so. I believe we have had off-duty LODDs (e.g. - POs killed performing duties when off-duty). I think fire and police unions "have your back", not NYC or city politicians.
 
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mack

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There is also the question about ethical responsibility to assist a victim who needs help - particularly since firefighters and some PO's are now typically qualified as EMTs and medics. Do you have to help someone in a car accident while off-duty if you know you can perform life-saving assistance? If you do so, are you protected? Medical legalities have probably significantly impacted fire department contracts and protections. State laws probably cover duties performed, whether on-duty or off-duty.

 
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