DUTY SYSTEMS

 

There are three main Duty Systems in the Fire Brigade, Wholetime Duty System (WDS), Retained Duty System (RDS) and Volunteers. Grampian and Lothian and Borders also have a Day Manning Duty System.

 

Wholetime Duty Systems

 

FIVE GROUP DUTY SYSTEM

Strathclyde Fire and Rescue have a new Five Group system on trial. The trial will start in January 2009 and run for a year with a six month review. It will take place in all stations in South Glasgow and South Lanarkshire areas. The new system will give hopefully the right number of staff on duty to crew appliances five, five and two as under the present four watch system there are either too many staff on duty or not enough and sometimes not enough to crew appliances five, four and two. This means that you have staff on duty and no work for them or you have to bring in staff on overtime to bring crewing levels up to the minimum requirement. The system works on a ten week cycle with the groups working the normal 2 day, 2 nights, 4 off for eight weeks then two weeks Annual Leave, so the whole group will be on Annual Leave for eighteen days. That's the easy part explained. Personnel are required to work 1806 hours each year and they won't have worked enough so now we bring in "In Pattern" and "Out of Pattern" Rostered Reserve. Out of Pattern Rostered Reserve days will occur when an individual would normally be on rota off days but can be called into duty if required. In Pattern Rostered Reserve days will occur when an individual can be instructed not to report for duty within their normal two dayshifts and two nightshifts. This means in a year crew members will be placed on In Pattern Rostered Reserve for a single tour of four shifts (2 days - 2 nights). They will also be placed on Out of Pattern Rostered Reserve for a total of twelve days. These will consist of six periods, each of two days. Five of these periods will occur on days two and three of a four day rota period, and the sixth will occur on days sixteen and seventeen of an eighteen day rota period. The dates they are on Rostered Reserve will be scheduled before the start of the year and cannot be changed without the agreement of the individual. As a result all crew members will get an individual duty chart showing their In and Out Pattern Rostered Reserve days. If personnel are required to work on Rostered Reserve days every effort will be made to notify them while they are on duty and if they have to be notified when on Rota they will be given at least 48 hours notice. It is anticipated that a crew member would be placed on Short Notice call four times a year. This entails personnel being informed at least 48 hours before commencement of the shift that will be placed on Short Notice call to duty if required, which means the call to duty would occur in the two hour period of 90 minutes before or 30 minutes after the start of a shift.

The Fifth Group will be made up by reducing each of the present Four Watches to the minimum crewing level and the surplus will be put into Group Five. This will involve promoting personnel to Watch and Crew Commanders.

The trial in Strathclyde Fire and Rescue was deemed successful and on 1st January 2010 East and West Dunbartonshire, Argyll & Bute and North & South Ayrshire went onto the five group system. The remaining five areas and and control will move to the five group system on the 1st January 2011. Not all areas actually moved on the 1st January but move in the vicinity of the 1st.

The remaining seven Brigades in Scotland still work the four watch system.

The above is my personal interpretation of how the five group system works and is hopefully correct.

In the tables below I have not put in the rostered on and rostered off days as they different for each individual.

 

Group       Week 1             Week 2             Week 3      
1 AL AL AL AL D D N N         D D N N         D
2 N N         D D N N         D D N N      
3 D D N N         D D N N         D D N N  
4     D D N N         D D N N AL AL AL AL AL AL AL
5 AL AL AL AL AL AL AL AL AL AL AL AL AL AL AL AL AL AL D D N

 

Group       Week 4             Week 5             Week 6      
1 D N N         D D N N         D D N N    
2   D D N N         D D N N         D D N N
3       D D N N AL AL AL AL AL AL AL AL AL AL AL AL AL AL
4 AL AL AL AL AL AL AL AL AL AL AL D D N N         D D
5 N         D D N N         D D N N        

 

Group       Week 7             Week 8             Week 9      
1     D D N N         D D N N AL AL AL AL AL AL AL
2 AL AL AL AL AL AL AL AL AL AL AL AL AL AL AL AL AL AL D D N
3 AL AL AL AL D D N N         D D N N         D
4 N N         D D N N         D D N N      
5 D D N N         D D N N         D D N N  

 

Group       Week 10      
1 AL AL AL AL AL AL AL
2 N         D D
3 D N N        
4   D D N N    
5       D D N N

 

Grampian Fire and Rescue Service 8 Team Trial

From 1st January 2004 until 9th January 2006, Grampian ran a trial of eight teams. This apparently was to try and break down the watch culture. They had four watches A, B, C & D and they split these in two, half of the watch would do a day shift with half of another watch, both halfs of the same watch would then do a day shift together, then half of them would do a day shift with half of another watch while the other half would do a night shift with half of another watch, then they would both do a night shift together, then one half did a night with half of another watch while the other half would be off. That is how I remember it being explained to me. I have a duty chart somewhere and when I find it I shall put it on this page. After the trial Grampian reverted to 4 watches White, Red, Blue and Green.

 

 

FOUR WATCH DUTY SYSTEM

With the introduction of the 42 hour week on the 1st of January 1979 at 0800 hours a fourth watch had to be created and this was called the Green Watch.
This is the present watch system used by all the Brigades and is one of 2 days day shift (8am to 6pm), 2 days night shift (6pm to 8am), 4 days off then back to 2 days day shift and so on. Some brigades have different shift start time and Strathclyde have the shift change at 10am on a Sunday, this was apparently so you could use Public Transport to get to work as there was no Public Transport on a Sunday to get you in for 8am. All the Brigades use the colour system of Red, White, Blue and Green watches although all the Scottish Brigades do not have the same colour on at the same time. For instance when Strathclyde have Green on their 2nd day and Blue on their 2nd night, Central Scotland have Green on their 1st day and Red on their 1st night and Lothian & Borders have Blue on their 2nd day and Red on their 2nd night.
 

 

 

D D N N         D D N N         D D N N        
    D D N N         D D N N         D D N N    
        D D N N         D D N N         D D N N
N N         D D N N         D D N N         D D

 

 

Back to three watches Red, White and Blue. Where you were paid 8 hours overtime per week.   DATE?

56 hour week, in 9 days you work 72 hours (which averages to 56 hours in seven days). This system has a 9 week cycle. This was really a basic 48 hour week but you had to work 8 hours overtime each week making it a 56 hour week.

  Mon Tues Wed Thur Fri Sat Sun Mon Tues Wed Thur Fri Sat Sun Mon Tues Wed Thur Fri Sat Sun
Red D D D N N N Off Off Off D D D N N N Off Off Off D D D
White Off Off Off D D D N N N Off Off Off D D D N N N Off Off Off
Blue N N N Off Off Off D D D N N N Off Off Off D D D N N N

 

 

Seven Groups with two on at a time.   DATE?

48 hour week

Groups 1, 3, 5, & 7 had a Sub Officer in charge at a 1 pump station and a Station Officer in charge at a 2 pump station. Groups 2, 4, & 6 had a Leading Fireman in charge at a 1 pump station and a Sub Officer in charge at a 2 pump station.

 

    MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT SUN
WEEK 1 Group 1 D/S D/S D/S N/S N/S R R
WEEK 1 Group 2 R D/S D/S D/S N/S N/S R
WEEK 1 Group 3 R R R D/S D/S N/S N/S
WEEK 1 Group 4 R R R R D/S D/S N/S
WEEK 1 Group 5 N/S R R R R D/S D/S
WEEK 1 Group 6 N/S N/S N/S R R R D/S
WEEK 1 Group 7 D/S N/S N/S N/S R R R
WEEK 2 Group 1 R D/S D/S D/S N/S N/S R
WEEK 2 Group 2 R R R D/S D/S N/S N/S
WEEK 2 Group 3 R R R R D/S D/S N/S
WEEK 2 Group 4 N/S R R R R D/S D/S
WEEK 2 Group 5 N/S N/S N/S R R R D/S
WEEK 2 Group 6 D/S N/S N/S N/S R R R
WEEK 2 Group 7 D/S D/S D/S N/S N/S R R
WEEK 3 Group 1 R R R D/S D/S N/S N/S
WEEK 3 Group 2 R R R R D/S D/S N/S
WEEK 3 Group 3 N/S R R R R D/S D/S
WEEK 3 Group 4 N/S N/S N/S R R R D/S
WEEK 3 Group 5 D/S N/S N/S N/S R R R
WEEK 3 Group 6 D/S D/S D/S N/S N/S R R
WEEK 3 Group 7 R D/S D/S D/S N/S N/S R
WEEK 4 Group 1 R R R R D/S D/S N/S
WEEK 4 Group 2 N/S R R R R D/S D/S
WEEK 4 Group 3 N/S N/S N/S R R R D/S
WEEK 4 Group 4 D/S N/S N/S N/S R R R
WEEK 4 Group 5 D/S D/S D/S N/S N/S R R
WEEK 4 Group 6 R D/S D/S D/S N/S N/S R
WEEK 4 Group 7 R R R D/S D/S N/S N/S
WEEK 5 Group 1 N/S R R R R D/S D/S
WEEK 5 Group 2 N/S N/S N/S R R R D/S
WEEK 5 Group 3 D/S N/S N/S N/S R R R
WEEK 5 Group 4 D/S D/S D/S N/S N/S R R
WEEK 5 Group 5 R D/S D/S D/S N/S N/S R
WEEK 5 Group 6 R R R D/S D/S N/S N/S
WEEK 5 Group 7 R R R R D/S D/S N/S
WEEK 6 Group 1 N/S N/S N/S R R R D/S
WEEK 6 Group 2 D/S N/S N/S N/S R R R
WEEK 6 Group 3 D/S D/S D/S N/S N/S R R
WEEK 6 Group 4 R D/S D/S D/S N/S N/S R
WEEK 6 Group 5 R R R D/S D/S N/S N/S
WEEK 6 Group 6 R R R R D/S D/S N/S
WEEK 6 Group 7 N/S R R R R D/S D/S
WEEK 7 Group 1 D/S N/S N/S N/S R R R
WEEK 7 Group 2 D/S D/S D/S N/S N/S R R
WEEK 7 Group 3 R D/S D/S D/S N/S N/S R
WEEK 7 Group 4 R R R D/S D/S N/S N/S
WEEK 7 Group 5 R R R R D/S D/S N/S
WEEK 7 Group 6 N/S R R R R D/S D/S
WEEK 7 Group 7 N/S N/S N/S R R R D/S

 

 

 

Three watches Red, White and Blue.   DATE?

56 hour week, in 9 days you work 72 hours (which averages to 56 hours in seven days). This system has a 9 week cycle.

  Mon Tues Wed Thur Fri Sat Sun Mon Tues Wed Thur Fri Sat Sun Mon Tues Wed Thur Fri Sat Sun
Red D D D N N N Off Off Off D D D N N N Off Off Off D D D
White Off Off Off D D D N N N Off Off Off D D D N N N Off Off Off
Blue N N N Off Off Off D D D N N N Off Off Off D D D N N N

 

Two Shift system   DATE?

60 hour week, in a 14 week cycle you work an average of 60 hours.

You work 5 days and get 2 off per week. The off days rotate Monday & Tuesday one week then Tuesday & Wednesday the next, Wednesday & Thursday the next and so on. Every ? weeks you have to work a 25 hour shift, following 10 hour days shifts you start at 8am on Saturday and do a day shift followed by a night shift until 9am on Sunday. You then have Sunday day shift off and start back at 6pm for a 14 hour night shift until 8am on Monday morning. On a 14 week cycle you work an average of 60 hours per week. I am trying to work out a shift table but without much success, I shall need to find an old hand and get it explained to me again.

 

Retained Duty System

Personnel are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and get 3 to 4 weeks holidays (I think). They are also required to attend for training  three hours each week. They are paid a retainer for being on call plus a payment each time they are turned out.
It used to be a set amount (dependant on your rank) for a Fire (if you got on the appliance), a lesser amount for a standby (if you turned up within five minutes of your pager going off but didn't get on the machine), a set amount for each additional hour after the first hour (an additional hour was if you broke the 15 minutes time after an hour, you got paid another hour) and this same amount was the hourly rate for drill nights and training.
This changed a few years ago and you now when your pager goes off you get a disturbance fee plus an hour's Firefighter's wage if you get on the machine and a disturbance fee plus half an hour's Firefighter's wage if you get a Standby. Overtime, drill nights and training are paid at Firefighter;s hourly rate. Watch Commanders and Crew Commanders get the hourly rate for that role.

On the ???????? a trial started at Cumnock, Gourock, Shotts electronically and at Troon on paper, it ended on the 2nd August, 2009 and the results are being analysed before a decision is made as whether to adopt it in this or another form.

In the trial each crew member was to be available for 120 hours per week and be off 48 hours per week. This would mean only minimum crewing would be available as eight people were to be off, leaving 10 to crew appliances 5 and 5 with 2 reserves in case someone didn't turn up. I can't quite get this to work out as eight off for days one and two, a different eight off for days three and four, that only leaves four to be off on days five and six (16 on call) and no one off on day seven (20 on call). The time off was not two complete days but 48 hours spread over a week but it still meant there were times when more than twelve were available. For a one pump station it would be 6 crew available and four off.

 

Volunteers

Personnel are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They don't get a retainer but are paid every time they are turned out.

 

 

 

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