Many Kern County firefighters live outside the county they serve. Some even live out of state.
The County commissioned a $150,000 report to analyze the fire department looking for cost saving measures.
The report says our firefighters are on a “very unique schedule.”
KCFD firefighters are on duty for 48 hours straight and then off for 48 hours. They repeat this three times before having eight days off.
They can swap their shifts and work continuously for weeks. This also means their days off are continuous, too. Sometimes those days off last weeks at a time.
According to the union agreement, when a firefighter is off duty and called back to work in an emergency, overtime includes travel time. The amount is calculated on a formula that assumes the firefighter travels from his legal residence to and from the work site at an average speed of 45 MPH.
Of those who live outside the county, many live to our south and central coast. Some live in Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho and Texas.
Although the costs are not astronomical, public records show firefighters have been paid thousands of dollars for traveling back to the county during emergencies. Firefighters say this is not an uncommon practice.
Through public records, we also requested the zip code of every City of Bakersfield firefighter. The city fire department has a different schedule from the county. City firefighters work 24 hours and then get 24 hours off. They repeat this four times then have 10 days off. This is a schedule most fire departments in California use. Although this schedule allows swapping of schedules, it could make living out of Bakersfield more difficult. We found the farthest a Bakersfield firefighters lives is in Laguna Nigel, about a 3 hour drive south of Bakersfield.