Above / The Naperville Fire Department continues a long history of innovation that began in 1874 when the City purchased its first fire engine, now known as the Joe Naper Pumper and on permanent display at Naper Settlement; yet, occasionally featured at public safety events and in parades. Today the City announced that the NFD will implement “Power Shifting,” a data-driven program established to increase productivity of existing NFD personnel without overtime costs. 

NFD Chief Mark Puknaitis

NAPERVILLE, Ill. – As part of the City of Naperville’s continued efforts to make data-driven decisions while providing high-quality services to the community, starting today, Naperville’s Fire Department is implementing a “power shifting” program to enhance services and increase efficiencies while holding the line on costs.

Traditionally, the Illinois fire service schedules full-time employees on a 24-hours-on, 48-hours-off basis. This schedule has been used to offset overtime costs for maintaining an all day, every day service and provide coverage for the community. Much like other communities, the Fire Department experiences most of its service calls during daytime hours; in fact, data from the past five years indicates that 54 percent of calls occur between 8:30AM and 5PM, with the demand for service dropping considerably after that time.

‘Power shifting’ maintains minimum staff of 42 at all times

Power shifting will make use of existing Fire Department personnel to better serve Naperville during high-call volume times without incurring overtime or adding additional employees to the department. In Naperville’s case, the power shifting program will assign up to four current Fire Department employees to work a 40-hour schedule 8:30AM to 5PM. Monday through Friday versus the traditional 24-hours on, 48-hours off.

The Fire Department’s minimum staffing number of 42 will be maintained at all times; however, assigning four people to peak hours of operation and reducing the workforce during low impact times allows for an additional response vehicle during peak hours of operation without any increased costs, decreased response time to calls when power shifting is in place, increased productivity, additional training hours and less demand for mutual aid from neighboring departments.

“I like to think of the power shifting program as a triple win – a win for employees, for management and, most importantly, a win for the community,” Fire Chief Mark Puknaitis said in a written statement. “We know that having the same number of employees on the clock for 24 hours straight isn’t optimal, and we also know service cuts or increasing overtime isn’t right for our community.”

Puknaitis continued, “By having four employees transition to this schedule, we meet our need for service when it is greatest without incurring additional costs. I’m pleased the department and its members could embrace this level of innovation for the benefit of Naperville.”

Additional ‘power shifting’ benefits

Power shifting is also beneficial for supporting mandated Fire and EMS training that occurs during the daytime hours Monday through Friday and that, due to the nature of the training, often requires ambulance availability for trainees. Power shifting will help ensure this essential training can take place with adequate medical support while, most importantly, simultaneously meeting the public safety needs of the community.

“On behalf of our union firefighters, we shared a goal with department management and City leadership to negotiate a unique agreement that brings a long-needed increase in service levels to meet the City’s demand for ambulance service,” said John Sergeant, president of the Naperville Professional Firefighters IAFF Local 4302. “It is truly an example of labor and management coming together for a shared purpose – utilizing dynamic staffing to negotiate a win for our citizens.”

For more information regarding the Naperville Fire Department, visit www.naperville.il.us/nfd.