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Life of a Firefighter

Ebbetts Pass Fire District firefighters/paramedics work on a shift style duty schedule. There are three shifts, A – B – and C. Each shift works a “48-96” time block for each duty shift. This means they are on duty 48 hours and off duty for 96 hours. In addition to emergency response services, firefighter/paramedics continually train and take care of their stations and equipment.

Here’s a typical day (all this plus responding to emergency alarms at a moment’s notice):

  • Start the morning at 0800 with a status/situation meeting. Update of daily events, exchange of information from the shift going off duty or special activities or duties.
  • Perform equipment and apparatus checks.
  • Attend to station duties, such as cleaning and maintenance of equipment and stations.
  • Lunch. The firefighters pool their money and buy groceries for lunch and dinner. Some shifts have certain firefighters who usually do all the cooking because they enjoy it; other shifts rotate the cooking duties.
  • Afternoons could be spent in training, doing fire inspections of local businesses, apartments and manufacturing facilities, or participating in community events.
  • Dinner.
  • Evening and night stand-by time. Some firefighters use this time to complete incident reports, training or special projects, watch television, study or workout. Each paid station has a workout room. Firefighters try to sleep as time allows.
  • The shift is relieved at 0800 by the oncoming shift 48 hours later.

Ebbetts Pass personnel will vary this “typical day” to fit specialized needs activities, weather related needs such as snow removal from station grounds or hot summer days when training is done as early in the day as possible, and of course emergency response duties. There have been times where EPFD personnel have been awake their entire 48 hours.

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