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Q:

Why do firefighters stay and sleep at the station on long shifts? Why not work 8 hour shifts like the police?

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The police can get a lot of their business done during day and evening hours and rely on having just a few people working during the quieter times. While a lot of the more glamorous policework can happen at any time, there are significant components of investigation, like examining evidence and interviewing witnesses and suspects, that are well-suited to a normal 8-hour day. Police are also generally capable of working alone or in pairs if they need to, with groups like SWAT teams being the exception to the rule. Firefighting, on the other hand, can't be scheduled. While people who investigate the fires after the fact can choose their hours, firefighters do all their work at whatever time the fire happens to break out. It's very team-based, as well, and requires a full or nearly-full crew to function properly - it's the same way with ambulance crews, which also work the same kinds of shifts. Ahh, but why not just schedule full crews on each eight-hour shift? Simply put, because no ... more
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