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Effects of Fire Department Shift Schedules on Sleep Quality

Effects of Fire Department Shift Schedules on Sleep Quality

Joel Billings

Political Science

The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence and severity of firefighter sleep quality across department shift schedules. Sleep quality was assessed using a Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index in a sample of 109 male career firefighters from six fire departments in three Southwestern US states. The three shift schedules studied were 24on/48off, 48on/96off, and Kelly. The results found seventy-three percent of firefighters have poor sleep quality. The 24on/48off shift schedule is associated with the best sleep quality and Kelly is associated with the worst sleep quality. Firefighters working second jobs report significantly poorer sleep quality than those who do not. Conclusion: Shift schedules that disrupt normal circadian rhythms more result in poorer sleep quality, which can lead to less effective emergency response and increased risk to firefighter health and safety.