04/26/09 301 W - + 16 - 15 Raleigh Fire Department Shift History

We've blogged before about the history of the Raleigh Fire Department shift schedule. The 24-hour shifts appeared as a trial at Station 5 on April 1, 1948. Maybe at other stations, too. But what was the schedule before then? In August 1914, personnel were organized into split shifts. Day shift worked 14 hours, and night shift worked 10 hours. Each fireman got one day off each week. Robert "B" Randolph, employed twice as a fireman, and later with the Police Department, recalled the shift schedule in a Raleigh Times article on November 9, 1967.

Speaking about the Yarborough House fire of 1928, he recalled numerous department details. "Four men were assigned to each truck, and they worked on two shifts. It was from 8 to 6, four days a week, then on the fourth day, a shift of 24 hours. Then it was switched, and on the eigth day, it was a full 24 hours." Translation:

Other details about working in the late 1920s? The salary for a starting fireman was $110 a month for the first year that you worked, then $115 a month in the second year, then $120 a month in the third year. Helmets weren't worn much. Job security did not exist. This was before Civil Service. "If you voted for the wrong person, you got fired," Randolph said. This is a reason many early Raleigh firemen were hired, released, hired, and released again, in those first decades.

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