Beatrice Fire and Rescue Trying Scheduling Experiment

BEATRICE – Beatrice Fire and Rescue staff will be trying a new work schedule, aimed at addressing job stress and burnout.

It involves rearranging shifts, and by a vote of the Beatrice City Council after approval by the firefighter’s union, the arrangement will undergo a one-year experiment.

Firefighters currently work a 24-hour shift, then have 48 hours off. City Administrator Tobias Tempelmeyer says the new arrangement would have firefighters working 24 hours, having 24 hours off over a ten-day period…then have six days off, before the cycle begins again.

Firefighter and EMT Nick Koch says the change wasn’t unanimous among firefighters…initially 13 in favor, 9 against among union and non-union members.

The vote to try the system, however, was 10-to-2.

:34                  “give you a break”

Beatrice Firefighters who are off-duty are frequently called back on-duty, when fire and rescue call volume increases.  Koch says Lincoln, Omaha and Papillion are among departments already using the system.

:13                  “another ten days”

City officials say conducting the experiment doesn’t change the overall number of hours firefighters will work.   Chief Brian Daake says the department will be staffed at the same level……just a new arrangement in shifts, being tried.

The new system will begins a one-year experiment, starting January 7th.