Wildland Firefighter Foundation
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Home / WLF TheySaid / Meal break issues

  • 09/28/2017
  • Tablerock

It seems that everyone is ok with not being paid for 30 minutes a day assigned to a fire or even unassigned.

If you wearing ppe or are monitoring a radio or you should be paid.

Nffe-fsc.org page 55 meal breaks. Employees who are required to work during their scheduled  meal period shall be compensated at the appropriate rate. Bona fide meal periods 29-cfr-785.19.

I say if your on the staffing and rostered to respond to incidents you should be paid the hole time your on. Because you are able to respond at all times of the day. Then no meal period will apply. This will become a problem if people start leaving the fire line or stations with radios off. When asked dispatch said they will call anytime of day and in dispatch people are able to be completely removed from duties. As a responder it’s not so easy. The fix is have time run through the day. . I would love to hear another opinion on the matter or a like minded one please comment.

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  1. Dirtminer
    October 2, 2017 Reply

    It’s simple, show the break and add at the end. The break counts towards your work rest. So, for a standard 16 hour shift (0600-2200) you would show a lunch and end your time at 2230. This is the most common practice and gets timekeepers off your back.

    1. Dave
      October 10, 2017 Reply

      You need 8 consecutive hours off to be able to drive. So this is not a fix. You are breaking policy if you do not.

  2. lpfbc21
    October 6, 2017 Reply

    So we are suggesting that folks falsify their time to ensure they get paid for their time on a fire. Why not change the rules. I do not want to be a time cop, however I would like to be a Time Lord. If you get caught not making truthful statements on your time that is a real fire able offense. Be Careful when you follow the above. Hard to justify 16 hour days when there are only 11 hours of daylight.

    1. RANGEL
      October 7, 2017 Reply

      While I agree you need to be careful falsifying time something does need to be done and Dirtminer the 1/2 hour break does not count towards the work/rest guidelines. It has to be continuous time. This was a problem for my entire career and it looks like it continues after I retired. What I want to respond to is what lpfbc21 said at the end of his post. Hard to justify 16 hour days when there are only 11 hours of daylight. Either you’re not a firefighter or not a linepounder. Do you think you should attend briefing off the clock, or get your gear loaded up off the clock, or check your time off the clock, or restock at the end of shift off the clock. That’s not very smart. Why would you give the agency time out of your life for free? They won’t give you anything for free. HS crews automatically put down 16 hours even if they are asleep for half of it.

      1. DinoBrush
        October 7, 2017 Reply

        RANGEL, you obviosuly know nothing about “HS” Hotshots Crews. I’ve never seen or personally slept for anything close to half my shift, majority if the time we are walking out with our headlamps on. Your obviously very far removed from the real firefighting world. Keep internet thugging fire slayer.

        1. RANGEL
          October 7, 2017 Reply

          I know a little bit about shot crews Dino. I worked with many of them in my 34 years on fires. I always wondered how we could work together on the same section of line for the same amount of hours, head to camp together and they’d get 16 hours and we would get 13. This is about the 1/2 hour break that they screw normal firefighters with, or dispatchers, or others even if they work through it. I never got questioned about not showing it after I worked up to STL, Div, OPS or SOF. You’re right I am removed from firefighting since I retired in 2014. I thought when I fought nationally and got firefighters into the bargaining unit more would join the union and get some things changed, but I see there is still a lot of whining and nobody stepping up.

    2. Your name...
      October 7, 2017 Reply

      11 hours of daylight apply to those who work in trailers in camp. For the rest of us on the line there is the work day plus travel to and from camp. Then there is the work to be done once in camp (often time meeting with operations, dealing with supplies and tool rehab. If (and that’s a big if) we get to sleep by 2200, how are we meeting the work rest when we have to be at briefing by 0600. The 1/2 hour break with the 2230 end is what most time keepers recommend or even force upon us when we claim a justified “no” lunch break. I do not care for it, I would rather see a portal to portal system in place which is really what Wildland Firefighters deserve and wold get rid of this archaic policy. .

  3. Ralph Winkler
    October 7, 2017 Reply

    Integrity. If you have it,nothing else matters. If you don’t, nothing else matters.

  4. AK Old Timer
    October 7, 2017 Reply

    Another story from the AK Old Timer. Don’t complain about 1/2 hour meal breaks. Once upon a time it was much worse. Way back in the 60’s when I started, your daily work schedule was 0800 – 1700 with an hour for lunch. However, you were expected to show up for work at 0730 to load up your gear and then leave the office at 0800. You returned at 1700 and spent the next 1/2 hour gassing up the rig and turning in any paperwork you might have.

    If you bitched about the “donated” hour you were told to “be happy and thankful that you had the job”.

    Everyone probably donated several hundred hours each year and, yes, we were happy to have the job.

    1. AK Old Timer
      October 7, 2017 Reply

      I forgot to mention, in those days all overtime was straight time, no time and 1/2. Also, no hazard pay.

      You young whipper-snappers have it easy.

      (Also, STAY OFF MY LAWN!!!)

  5. 1ffcag
    October 11, 2017 Reply

    Solution leave and get paid 24 HR a Day on a fire!!!! I did i had 15 years with the Forest Service on a Hotshot Crew in So cal Cal. I left For DOD and when I go out on assignments I get paid 24/7. I loved the Forest Service, I was over not getting paid.

  6. Robert Moreno
    November 5, 2017 Reply

    So here is my suggestion,
    If you are out on the fireline, you should be paid for time monitoring radio and maintaining LCES. Do NOT ! And I repeat.. DO NOT add the break at the end becaust that would be falsifying times which IS a Fireable offense and you are not meeting 2/1 work rest. What i have done is simply find out who is ordering the 30 minute break and simply write this in the comments: LCES NOT IN PLACE FOR 30 MINUTES DUE TO MANDATORY MEAL BREAK ORDERED BY DIV X,Y, Z or OPERATIONS OR TIME UNIT.

    they will want this off the CTR ( which is legal documentation that goes in the DOC Box for the fire) So fast you will be astonished how fast their tune will change.

    trust me, i have done this before and was asked on several occasions to remove the comment and just claim the meal break. Remember, you have to write in the comments COMPENSIBLE MEAL BREAK OF 30 minutes. That is the language the time unit understands as it is in the IIBMH. Interagency Incident Business Management Hand Book.

    So do us all a favor and grow a set and lets all collectively put this injustice to our already underpaid firefighters TO BED !

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