Dear Mr. Mangiamelli,
Thank you for your great question. We posted your question on social me and we got some good responses. Below are the responses from Linkedin:
Other public safety agencies (police, sheriffs, etc) have to operate 24-7 but don't have 24-hour shifts for which the workers are paid to sleep and eat, etc. Why do firefighters? Historical traditions only based on their origins as volunteers or part-timers. It made complete and utter sense for firefighters to have 24-hour shifts when many firefighters were volunteers or on-call. They had other jobs and this allowed the municipality to get the most of the part-time firefighter. It is, however, now a misuse of taxpayers' funds that cannot be justified especially since the high majority of their calls for service are emergency medical services. I'm not saying that it is wrong to have such highly trained personnel for the rare fire, I'm saying that the reason to pay personnel to sleep and eat (as must be done on a 24-hour shift) is completely out of sync with good stewardship of public funds
Brian J. Valentino:
In the agencies where firefighters do not provide EMS, it is entirely laughable. We suffer terribly from it here. Plenty of time to dream up mischief and to breed discontent.
Richard J. Sheola -- ICMA-CM:
I managed one community with a career department and they fought through contract negotiations to go with a 24 HR shift versus the 10/14 prior. they did provide first response medical but not transport. We found greater all-around performance, less dependence on volunteer component and increased morale. It all depends on the local environment and keeping management involved.
Hope these help,
Research and Content Development Associate, ICMA