Taking the Load Off
By Steven Knight, PhD
Many fire departments that have traditionally used 24-hour shifts to staff response units have begun looking to alternative staffing models, recognizing that call volume does not remain constant throughout the day. Long shifts can be especially grueling for providers on ambulances because of an increasing demand for medical services in many communities over the past several decades. The increased demand has also made it difficult to meet response time goals or even respond to some calls. Hoping to find more efficient ways to decrease the wear and tear on providers and ambulances, as well as to avoid mutual-aid assistance, some fire departments have turned to peak load units as the answer.