48-96 Shift Pattern | 24/7 Shift Coverage

The 48-96 work schedule has been gaining acceptance from fire departments and emergency medical services in the United States as a way to reduce the number of work days and the associated long commutes. This work schedule uses three teams (i.e. platoons) and three shifts to provide 24/7 coverage. It consists of a 6-day cycle where each team works two consecutive 24-hour shifts, followed by 4 consecutive days off duty.

Personnel work an average of 56 hours per week or 112 hours per two-week pay period, and work the same day of the week for 2 weeks in a row and then have that day off for 4 weeks in a row.

48-96 Shift Schedule

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Plan IDC3TF24-3
Name48-96 Shift Schedule
Applicability24/7 operations
Teams Required3
ShiftsA (24-hr), B (24-hr), C (24-hr)
Repeat Cycle6 days
RotationFixed plan, no rotation
Average Hours per Week56
Staffing FluctuationBalanced from shift to shift and day to day
  • 60 four-consecutive days off duty per year
  • Personnel only make 60 commuting trips per year
  • Long 4 day rest period reduces long term fatigue/sleep deprivation
  • Fewer transitions between shifts means more day to day continuity
  • Away from family for 48 hours
  • Potential for short term fatigue due to working 2 consecutive long shifts
Common UsagePopular with fire departments and emergency medical services.
Notes– The US Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA) compensation cycles are 28 days over which firefighters normally works either 216 hours or 240 hours. Hours worked beyond a base of 212 hours in a 28-day period are considered overtime. To avoid overtime, agencies typically use a rotating day off (Kelly day off) every 24 days.


-This plan requires living quarters for the employees to work and sleep during each 24-hr shift.