Illinois City Unveils Alternative Fire Schedule – Enhanced Services for Less Money

On Monday October 23, 2018, the City of Naperville, Illinois, implemented a new “power shifting” schedule for some city firefighters. This schedule assigns four full-time firefighters to a 40-hour, Monday thru Friday schedule, as opposed to the traditional 24-hour firefighter schedule. This new innovative data-driven schedule is designed to “enhance services and increase efficiencies while holding the line on [overtime] costs” for the city’s fire department.

The city will continue the current practice of assigning at least 42 firefighters to each of the city’s three platoons of firefighters. However, the city will now assign an additional 4 firefighters to a “power shift.” The power shift works a straight 40-hour workweek, during week days. Historically, this is the time the city sees the most calls for service.

According to Naperville Fire Chief Mark Puknaitis, the “power shift” is a “triple win” for the city, firefighters, and the community. He was quoted as saying: “We know that having the same number of employees on the clock for 24 hours straight isn’t optimal, and we also know service cuts or increasing overtime isn’t right for our community. By having four employees transition to this schedule, we meet our need for service when it is greatest without incurring additional costs. I’m pleased the department and its members could embrace this level of innovation for the benefit of Naperville.”

Chief Puknaitis is not the only fan of the new “power shift.” John Sergeant, president of the Naperville Professional Firefighters IAFF Local 4302, is also supportive of this new schedule. President Sergeant was quoted as saying: “[o]n behalf of our union firefighters, we shared a goal with department management and City leadership to negotiate a unique agreement that brings a long-needed increase in service levels to meet the City’s demand for ambulance service.”

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