Hi everyone,

I want to start O3s for my firefighting team, but scheduling is a problem, because most days we send people out to cover shortages at other fire stations.

My team make-up is me in charge with 2 junior officers (one of whom is sent out more often than not - he's the one with the 'horns', the other one with the 'halo' stays with me) and 9 regular firefighters. Minimum crewing is me and one of the junior officers, and 6 firefighters. As you might imagine, the working relationship is (or at least should be) close with everyone, so for the purposes of O3s, I consider them all as direct reports.

Our shift pattern is 2 days and 2 nights. I was thinking trying to do O3s on 2nd day and 1st night, because 1st day is always too busy, and 2nd night has no margin of error.

We don't know who is going to be sent out until the beginning of each shift, so scheduled O3s are always going to slide. Also, certain days, like today, our 2nd day, are taken up with scheduled all-day training input on various topics.

Should I (1) simply re-schedule, (2) just grab someone whenever I can (firefighters may take to this more readily than most people), (3) schedule 'O3 slots' and meet with whoever is there, (4) have a really short meeting before a person leaves?

PS sometime I worry about using too many brackets.


bflynn's picture

Thats fine if they're going to slide. Schedule them early in the week and do the best you can. Given that you know they're going to slide, you probably want to create a method to make that if they're missed, its not the same person all the time.

And, this is the perfect opportunity to balance out your rotation so you're not sending the same people out all the time. I see the possibility that because certain people have horns, it would be natural to not be as diligent at keeping the O3 schedule. O3s are the solution, not the problem.


juliahhavener's picture
Licensee Badge

I think Brian summed it up quite well. I can sometimes face similar challenges in a call center environment. I make sure they know my goal, know that it may vary somewhat in actual implementation based on call volumes/service levels/etc, but that they WILL happen.

matt999's picture

Thanks guys,

I also forgot to say I'm new to MT and this is my first post. Big thanks to Mark and Mike for such practical guides to management.

I think I'm going to schedule (1) a couple of 30min slots in the afternoon of the 1st day, when the dust has settled and we know who's there. (2) as many slots as I can on 2nd day, and (3) 'catch-up' slots on first night duty for those who were sent out on days. (4) Further 'catch-ups' may be required on our 2nd (last) night duty. Failing that, if they're missed, then they're missed.

Thanks again,


bflynn's picture

[quote="matt999"]I also forgot to say I'm new to MT and this is my first post. Big thanks to Mark and Mike for such practical guides to management.[/quote]

Well then, welcome aboard as well! I hope you find this as productive and helpful as I think most of us have.


Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

I know you think it's harder, but give it some time. I'd suggest you're trying to find the perfect time. There isn't one.

Schedule them, and see what happens. First phase is you want to, and they know nothing. Schedule interrupts.

Phase two is you get a few done and you really want to make them happen, so you bend other things to make them happen.

Phase three is you and them both love them and both of you move lots of other stuff to make them happen.

By other stuff, I don't mean fires.

In 3 other municipalities, firefighters and police were the first to say that while they knew they were supposed to be rugged individualists, they wanted more than any other specialty to get guaranteed time with the boss.


I'm letting slide the horn and halo comment. I don't understand it, and afraid that if I did I wouldn't love it.