Whether you work a 24-hour shift, a 12-hour shift, an 8-hour shift or an overnight tour on duty crew; taking advantage of your downtime at the firehouse is important. We aren't talking about playing video games, chatting on the phone, or holding court. This post is specifically about using downtime to your advantage within your profession. There's plenty you can do when not performing station chores, checking trucks, running calls or working on assigned projects.
Read a Book
If you enjoy reading, it's best to use your downtime on the job to read up on the latest in the fire service industry. Talk to the rest of your platoon and find out what they've read and what they recommend. If you are just starting a collection of books about the fire service, consider looking into a few of Lt. Hunter's favorite books. It's best that you read something related to your profession instead of a book or magazine you can read at home. This is an excellent way to take advantage of your firehouse downtime.
A good number of firehouses have a gym, or at least some type of workout room. This can include a treadmill, weights, rowing machines and more. When free time is provided on the job, hit the gym. Working as a firefighter is one of the most stressful jobs you can have. You can get rid of some of your stress by hitting the gym. You don't have to exercise for an hour. Even just 30 minutes here and there can improve your health and lower your stress.
Even though downtime can be utilized personally, there's nothing wrong with using it for training. If you cannot train during the day because of high call volume or other items on the to-do list, using downtime to train is a great idea. You don't have to do anything crazy, but every little bit of training helps when it comes to staying safe on the job and at fire or accident scenes.
Downtime can also be used to complete projects at the firehouse. Each platoon is usually assigned a major project that is then divided among the members of the platoon. Downtime is a great time to complete your assigned projects. You might not like the idea of spending downtime on a project, but it's one less thing you will have to do when you return for your next tour.
Interact with the Community
If your downtime falls in the afternoon, this is a great time of day to interact with the community. Take the firetruck to a high school sporting event or an in-town game. Set up a first aid station for children to explore or give tours of the truck to anyone interested. Not only are you able to respond in the event someone is injured at the game, you are also connecting with the community by providing a learning experience.
Are you interested in learning more about the Hunter's Heroes Foundation? Contact us today to make a donation or find out more about our mission. Our 2nd Annual Beef and Beer to celebrate Lt. Hunter's birthday is rapidly approaching. Find out more in this blog post. Tickets are still available.