Station Life

In most careers, the individual spends about eight hours per day at their work location and then goes home to their family in the evening, on weekends, and Holidays.  However the life of a Firefighter is somewhat different.  In the case of the Firefighters at the Panama City Fire Department, most spend approximately 1/3 of their lives at the Fire Station.  73/78 State Certified members of the department work 24 hour shifts with their day beginning at 7 a.m. on 1 morning and ending at 7 a.m. on the next morning.  After their 24 hour duty day is completed, the Firefighter is then off for 48 hours and then the cycle repeats.  This 3-day duty cycle repeats continuously throughout the year and includes weekends, holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, etc.  However, this work schedule also keeps Firefighters ready to respond to an emergency 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Working this unusual schedule keeps a Firefighter away from their families for extended periods of time and requires a special type of person and family to adapt to this schedule.

When a Firefighter reports for duty, there are a number of things that must be done on a daily basis in order to ensure readiness for response to emergency incidents.  Beginning with their arrival for duty at 7 a.m., their daily duty regiment kicks off and includes, but is not limited to: 
  • Assuring that their personal protective clothing and breathing equipment are in position on the apparatus, working properly, and ready for response to an incident
  • Checking and maintaining all equipment to make sure that it is functional and ready for immediate response
  • Maintaining the Fire Station and various other daily housekeeping duties around the station
  • Conducting and participating in continuing education training which includes both classroom and practical application activities designed to maintain current skill levels as well as introduction and learning of new skills
  • Participation in required fitness training programs
Firefighters also participate in numerous public education activities such as station tours, fire truck displays, and other activities in the community designed to promote Fire Safety Education.