168 hours a week

I happened to glance at the paper the other day and noticed a letter written by a reader, responding in agreement to an earlier article, complaining about how in a certain city average public safety salaries were significantly higher than that of other city employees. That really irked me. Never mind, for a second, that the media gets most details wrong usually with lies, half-truths and omissions anyway. Most city services are open for business 40 hours a week, if you’re lucky. Public safety agencies – police, fire, EMS (not to mention hospitals, jails, etc.) – are open all 168 hours a week. That means nights, weekends, holidays, blizzards, etc.

A bit of basic mathematics: 168 hours divided by 40 hours is 4.2.

Roughly speaking, I would expect something that is operating 4.2 times longer to cost quite a bit more. But, that’s thinking that seems to have eluded many folks.

Anyway, I’m sure you’ve heard these silly questions before:

“Is the fire station open at night?”

“Who goes to the calls at night?”

“Do you need training for this type of work?”

“Can I call 911 after hours?”

“Do you sleep at night?”

“Do you go to calls if you’re sleeping?”

Amazingly, it’s the people who seem to have their shit together who ask these questions. Which is kind of funny until you remember that these folks are often asked to vote on issues that directly affect our operations. And then you remember that there are still people wondering about the President’s place of birth. Eventually at some point you start to wonder if Canada is still taking applications for residency.

3 thoughts on “168 hours a week”

  1. And this is why I am looking into Canada as well. Unfortunately, in my former city, this happened all the time. Some medics were making 120k a year…a medic. Then again, with these medics working 16’s…three days in a row if not more, if not having to throw a 24 in there, they deserved it. Blizzards were the same thing…the blizzard that rocked the Northeast this year netted some employees a huge paycheck, several thousand dollars worth.

    But the public just sees the dollar sign. Why should they vote to pay “Ambulance Drivers” 20$+ an hour when all they do is drive me to the hospital…

    Preach on, Brother, and I’ll help fill out the Canada App…

  2. You get the same kind of dumb people across the border too… most people here (as in the states) tend to base their votes on one frivolous issue mentioned in passing rather than the main points of the platform – or they base their votes on a referendum on what they heard in some opinion talk show.

    You can’t escape them, they’re everywhere.

  3. Personally, I think that EMTs get terrible salaries on average. Considering that they are generally the first ones on the scene of a medical emergency, what they do is really important. EMTs and paramedics save lives everyday. Its crazy that you might only make 24k or less a year as an EMT starting out. Phlebotomists (who only draw blood from patients), probably make more than that.

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