Mehlville Fire Protection District looks at changing employee work schedules

Different schedule may help attract and retain employees

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By Lucas Irizarry, Staff Reporter

A work schedule shake up may be coming to the Mehlville Fire Protection after the Board of Directors decided to investigate a change June 8.

The investigation is part of requested changes to the district’s Employee Manuel of Polices and Procedures, or EMoPP. The changes are requested by employees who are seeking to change the EMS schedule to a 3/4 schedule and the fire schedule to 48/96. 

A 3/4 schedule features a 24-hour shift every other day for five days, followed by four days off. The 48/96 schedule features a 48-hour shift followed by four days off.

Captain Ty Cardona, shop steward of Mehlville Local 2665 of the International Association of Fire Fighters, said MFPD would likely increase its retention rate with a change, since some people will favor the new schedules.

Fire Chief Brian Hendricks said while he does see issues with the changes, he would be open to a yearlong trial while tracking several factors, including sick leave, amount of times a pumper was run with two personnel, how many times unscheduled overtime wasn’t filled, accidents due to fatigue, job performance and mandated 72-hour shifts. 

Hendricks said changes to sick leave and trade time policy would have to precede a work schedule change.

“I feel strongly, that with those caveats in place, this should go to the membership for a vote,” Hendricks said. “I am concerned about a wide variety of things. I’m concerned about crew camaraderie, I’m concerned about resentment between the EMS division being a 3/4 and the fire division being a 48/96.”

Board member Bonnie Stegman said she isn’t “wild about” the 48/96 schedule, but the board directed Hendricks to get a preliminary plan together for the next meeting to review any changes.