Hours of Service Questions Re: part-time firefighters, etc.

We recently had a HOS question from a client that we get fairly regularly in one form or another concerning hiring firemen as drivers so I figured I would post it for everyone to see.

QUESTION: We have a part time driver who is also a full time fireman. He works 24 hours on and 48 hours off. Can he be off-duty at the fire department at 7:00 AM after 24 hours of work and then report to us and start driving at 7:30 AM. I believe that he must take time off before he can get into a CMV and start driving. He would be on-duty for at least 8 hours driving and sometimes 10. If he has to produce a record of duty for the last 7 days, it will reflect that he worked either 24 or 48 hours at the fire department. Please let me know what you think.

ANSWER: We love firefighters… they normally take care of the equipment you provide them because they are trained to do so and generally are great to work with, but there are some trade-offs.

There is a special rule for firefighters that works like this: Even though he was on-duty for 24 hours, he actually spent around 8 to 10 hours training and maintaining. The remainder of the time at the fire station the firefighter is in readiness, but unless the bell rings he can later show himself as having been off-duty.

The following may help clarify 395.1: Although firefighters, emergency medical technicians, paramedics and other public safety professionals are often exempt from the hours-of-service (HOS) regulations under the governmental exception [49 CFR 390.3(f)(2)], they sometimes have second jobs with interstate motor carriers for which they are required to comply with the HOS rules. When one of these individuals has a second job with an interstate motor carrier and works a 24-hour shift for the fire/rescue/emergency services department, is all of the time spent during the shift considered on-duty time?

Guidance: No. Fire fighters and other public safety professionals working 24-hour shifts may record time during which they are required or permitted to rest as off-duty time. However, all time that the public safety specialist is required to perform work (e.g., administrative work, cleaning/repairing equipment, operating equipment, etc.) would be considered on-duty time.

One drawback to using firefighters in a local delivery operation: sometimes instead of a firefighter showing up at 7:30 AM, someone calls to say “Engine 48 got called out and they will not be back in time for shift-change” or some such. So you have to have a Plan B. 

The bottom line is if you can possibly make reasonable accommodations to work with the firefighter, I hope you do so. Firefighters are Great Americans who run into burning buildings when everyone else is running away. They are very similar to soldiers who risk their lives for their country and deserve our respect and admiration. And did we mention they take good care of your trucks?

About DOT Compliance Help Inc
Phone: 847-836-6063 web: www.dotcompliancehelp.com e-mail info@dotcompliancehelp.com DOT Compliance Help, Inc. is a full-service consulting firm specializing in the interpretation and execution of the regulations and guidelines set forth by the US Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. •Mission Statement• To assist our clients in establishing proper safety management controls in order to minimize accidents, injuries, and fatalities. The ultimate goals are safer roadways for the public and increased profits for our clients. Our core consulting competencies include FMCSA Assessments (mock audits), DOT compliance training (on-site and via webinar) and custom safety plans and policies. We also hold DOT compliance workshops and conferences all across the country. Utilizing a proprietary curriculum developed by our President, Mike England, our classes cover everything you need to know about the FMCSRs, how to survive your next DOT Compliance Review, and how Comprehensive safety Analysis (CSA 2010) will affect you. www.dotcompliancehelp.com

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