Excerpts from the DailyHerald.com:

Four firefighter/paramedics in Naperville started working eight-hour shifts this week as part of a staffing plan designed to get more people on duty when they’re needed most.

The typical firefighter’s schedule is 24 hours on the job and 48 hours off. That’s not changing at the Naperville department, which operates 10 stations with a daily minimum of 42 firefighter/paramedics.

But now four members are working 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday in what Chief Mark Puknaitis calls a power shifting program. The shift transfers personnel into the daytime, when Naperville’s population spikes with workers the department fields 54 percent of its 14,600 annual calls.

With more than half of all calls coming during one eight-hour span, Puknaitis said it makes sense to increase the staff, while still keeping the union-negotiated minimum of 42 on hand during the other 16 hours of each day.

On Monday, the first day three senior firefighters and one new hire worked from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., the department fielded an unusually busy 50 calls. The new staffing allowed the department to run two additional ambulances.

On the first day the power shift was in place, Puknaitis said he got three voicemails from other departments looking to learn about the approach. Especially because he was named president of the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association, Puknaitis thinks the idea will have legs.

John Sergeant of the Naperville Professional Firefighters Local 4302 said members may want the 40-hour workweek to attend more kids’ events or family holidays, or to take a break from the bodily demands of working 24 hours straight.

Those accepting the eight-hour shifts will make a one-year commitment. Those with most seniority will be given priority each year during a union bidding process for who will fill the spots. The new staffing plan is not designed to cut costs but to keep them stable. The four firefighters switching to the shifted hours will continue to be paid their regular salaries.

thanks Dan