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Consideration of 5 Canadian Forces Fire Fighter Shift Schedules and Recommendations for Which of These is the Optimum Schedule

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Technical rept.

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DRDC Toronto received a BL 2 tasking from the CF Fire Marshall to assess 5 different fire fighter schedules, along with a request for DRDC Toronto to recommend which of the 5 schedules is optimum . Any skilled performance or safety critical performance should occur when personnel are operating at their best. Best performance is normally considered to mean between 100 and 90 cognitive effectiveness. When performance declines to 90, it is time to cease skilled operations and get some rest. METHODS. The duty times, and the sleep times for each of the 5 shift schedules were used as inputs to the FAST Fatigue Avoidance Scheduling Tool Program a modelling program which calculates cognitive effectiveness as a function of duty and rest cycles. Each of the 5 shift schedules was modelled in 2 ways 1 first with no firesemergencies, and 2 subsequently with nocturnal alarms occurring at 0200 hrs and the fire fighters returning to the fire hall at 0500 hrs. RESULTS. With no firesemergencies all 5 schedules resulted in similar small impacts on cognitive effectiveness from 84 to 88 just before retiring for bed around 2300 hrs. The nocturnal alarms caused some attrition of cognitive effectiveness on the subsequent day which ranged from 82 to 79, and after several days for schedules 1, 2, and 3 cognitive effectiveness declined further to the 72 to 68 range. Schedules 4 and 5 did not involve successive duty days. During the first duty night, an alarm on either schedule 4 or schedule 5 resulted in similar impacts on cognitive effectiveness as schedules 1 to 3. However, since there was no duty the subsequent day, cognitive effectiveness recovered somewhat the next day. In the case of schedule 5, since the 24 hr shift was followed by 72 hours off, cognitive effectiveness was fully recovered before the next shift.

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  • Administration and Management
  • Psychology
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Military Forces and Organizations

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