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36 hour shifts

Discussion in 'EMS Talk' started by Hockey, Apr 19, 2009.

  1. Hockey

    Hockey Quackers

    10 hours down, 26 hours to go

    Its going to be a long night...

    That is all
  2. UKEMT

    UKEMT Forum Probie

    Have to admit that i used to hate working 24hr shifts in a busy ER radiology department..

    how common are 36 hour shifts?
  3. Tincanfireman

    Tincanfireman Airfield Operations

    Normally, 36 hr shifts are pain that you bring onto yourself. Most of the time a 36 is someone working a first half following a 24 hr shift. I've never heard of a service scheduling 36 hour EMS shifts, though there are some fire departments that do a 48 hour shift. I can't really say that either one makes any sense, especially EMS. I don't think I'd care to be treated by someone who hasn't slept in a day and a half. Still, I equally sure it happens more often that we think.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 19, 2009
  4. MMiz

    MMiz I put the M in EMTLife Community Leader

    That has to be illegal. Even MD residents no longer work 36 hour shifts, a long-standing tradition. I worked a 24 once and hated every minute of it... well the second 12 hours at least. How did it go?
  5. pdibsie

    pdibsie Forum Probie

    I work for a fire dept., and 24 hour shifts are the norm. It's common when people call in sick to see guys pull 48 hrs., and if it happens to be their day off between shifts, they could end up with a 72 hr. shift. Frightening, esp. with our call volume, but it does happen.

    Good luck with your shift and be safe!
  6. DrankTheKoolaid

    DrankTheKoolaid Forum Deputy Chief


    We work 72 hours shifts here where im at. Not all that bad until you have a week like i did last week. Run the usual 911 calls and typical office busy work during the day and then end up out until the sun comes up each morning with transfers. I tell ya when i finally got off after that one i was in a coma for 14 hours once i finally made it home. For the most part though we can nap whenever as time allows.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 19, 2009
  7. Buzz

    Buzz Forum Captain

    I've done 36 hours once. Will NEVER do that again... unless of course it's a saturday night, sunday day, then sunday night shift. Usually lots of time on those days to rest.

    I seem to recall hearing somewhere that the law here was that we were NOT to work more than 36 hours at a time...
  8. Hockey

    Hockey Quackers

    You can work up to 36 hours (thats the county policy)

    Its a slower area up here (and I live 2 hours away). We've only had 1 call so far (horse threw chick off)

    Usually do 1 out of town transfer every 24 hours and the county gets 10-12 calls (for the entire county) every day.

    Its not bad. Sometimes you can be kinda "busy" I guess. But busy to me is running 20 calls in a 24 hour shift...

    Summer time will be a tad different. Still, its not bad

    We don't do any transfers unless its going from the small podunk hospital to the larger one 90 minutes away
  9. Onceamedic

    Onceamedic Forum Asst. Chief

    Critical Care EMT-P
    Here in the wilds of Arizona, we run 48 hour shifts (followed by 4 days off). It is a busy shop and standup shifts are common - standup being what we call shifts where we dont get to sleep. I will run an average of 16 to 20 calls on a 48. And yeah - it can be a killer. Every third shift, we get to go into the valley, where we will normally only run 5 or 6 calls in that period, however, this makes us the transfer crew. Runs into Phoenix and/or Las Vegas at midnight are common.
  10. loadngo

    loadngo Forum Probie

    I work a 72 hour shift every week - and personally, I think it sucks.
  11. medic417

    medic417 The Truth Provider

    At slow services there is no reason not to work long shifts. I often do 120 hour shifts, paid all 120. I travel in and stay at the station. But this station averages less than 200 calls per year, so plenty of sleep time.
  12. medicdan

    medicdan Forum Deputy Chief Premium Member

    We've had this discussion before. The answer about appropriateness lies completely in the circumstances. If it is a rural or generally low-call volume department, with appropriate facilities for crew to sleep, work, etc, then I have no problem with longer shifts 12, 24, 36 hours, whatever. Oh yeah, and "on call" systems dont count-- that is systems that allow you to maintain your daily routine as long as you stay within the response area and appropriate transportation.

    Now, systems with upwards of 8, 10, 12 calls/8 hours have NO place on shifts any longer then 16 hours. I dont care if those are emergencies, transfers, etc. At that point, the crew should no longer be driving, responsible for patient care, etc.

    I will note that the company that I work for does maintain 2 ALS trucks on 24 hour shifts, and they may have a high call volume during the day, but they then have very few or no calls during the night and appropriate accommodations for sleep.

    I am also a part of a college EMS corps. We also maintain 24 hour shifts "on call", but allow our on-call members to maintain their daily activities, sleep in their dorm, go to class, etc, as long as they stay on campus. We also average ~1 call/shift. I am in the middle of a ~3 day shift right now, but dont mind...
  13. Mountain Res-Q

    Mountain Res-Q Forum Deputy Chief

    I've never worked more than 19 hours straight on Ambulance, and that was my own doing; Worked a 12 and then agreed to take 3 football standbys that lasted another 7 hours. The company I worked for did 10's and 12's only, unless we braught it on ourselves; and few did because our call volume was a little on the high side. On SAR last fall, I spent 36 hours straight in the middle of the wilderness on a search for a missing hiker during a storm, only to be air-lifted out and replaced so that I could wring out my clothing, get a hot meal, and rejoin for another 12 hours. Now that was HELL!
  14. 46Young

    46Young Level 25 EMS Wizard

    Charleston County EMS in SC uses a 24/48, or 12 hour 3 on/2 off/2 on/3 off. The 24/48 would frequently become a 36/36, or a 48/24, due to forced overtime. Absolutely miserable, as their 24 hour rigs can be as busy as their 12 hour ones. 100mph with your hair on fire for two days straight.

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