LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Most of us work eight-hour shifts with maybe an hour or two of overtime but imagine having to work 24-hours straight of overtime. Well, firefighters know that schedule firsthand. Not only having to work a single 24-hour overtime shift but sometimes up to 72-hours.
"If you answer the phone, you are working 24-hours and we can do that to you for 72-hours before law says we have to let you off," said Chief Keith Murray with the Lake Charles Fire Dept.
A program called 'Trading Time and Trading Tours' would allow a fire department employee to split a 24-hour overtime shift with another employee of the same rank to allow for two 12-hour shifts, but before the department can begin practicing it, it must be voted on at tonight's city council meeting.
"This means I could turn down overtime during the day and work my second job, help my part-time boss out and be able to still come in, and make overtime hours with the fire department, help out crews by filling the trucks so we don't have to run the trucks without a hoseman," said hoseman Tylor Arsement. "Being away from your family for 72-hours straight, you miss a lot of birthday, dinners, being around watching nieces and nephews grow up."
Arsement has been with the department for two years and said during those long shifts you miss special moments, and this new policy would not only help them recuperate but ensure they can be there for their family and friends when it counts.
Chief Murray said this policy change would also secure the trucks would be filled with everyone that's needed.
Also being discussed at today's city council meeting.
A 66-unit townhome development project off Country Club Road. Many argued at the last meeting that the new expansion would only be adding to the already frustrating and congested traffic along their neighborhood and are hoping the roughly $20 million development will be denied.
The meeting will held at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 21, at Lake Charles City Hall Council Chambers located on 326 Pujo Street.
Take a look below at everything being discussed this afternoon.