Christmas is a time for families, but while many of the residents of Manchester are enjoying time off for the holidays, area first responders are still on duty every day providing fire, emergency and police protection.
“They work a normal day,” said Assistant Chief Adam Floied. “We try to make it where they can go home and spend some time with their family.
“But for the most part, they’re out their working, keeping us safe. Even on Christmas Day.”
The schedule of who is on duty depends on how the day falls.
“We just do a normal schedule,” he said. “If your day to work falls on the holiday, that’s your day to work.”
Manchester patrol officers work mainly 12-hour shifts. An 80-hour pay period consists of one eight-hour day to get to an even 80 hours. Day shift is 6 a.m. - 6 p.m. and the opposite for night shift.
“They work Monday, Tuesday, they’ll be off Wednesday and Thursday and work Friday, Saturday and Sunday one week, then alternate the following week,” Floied said.
“They’re off every other weekend. Twelve hours is a long shift, but everybody gets three-day weekends every other week.”
Floied said the schedule is good for moral and popular with the officers.
“We have to be there and be ready, on Christmas. People still get out and drive and we have to keep Manchester safe even on Christmas Day,” Floied said.
The MPD Christmas Day roster is Cpt. Devin Deford, Sgt. Keith Hendrix, patrolmen Jamie Newman, Antonio Frost Derek Jones, Cpt. Mitchell West, Sgt. Dale Robertson, patrolmen Ben Sneed, Josh Yates and Michael Wilder.
Chief George Chambers said that shifts are pretty much same as usual at Manchester Fire-Rescue.
“It’s really no different from a normal day. We change shifts at 7 o’clock in the morning. A new shift comes on Christmas Day. This year it’s C-shift,” Chambers said.
Firefighters’ family can come by during the day.
“They’re on duty like any other day,” he said.
Chambers said that for Thanksgiving, a member of the community cooked a turkey for the crew that worked.
“They break bread and have a good day,” he said.
Coffee County EMS Chief Michael Bonner said EMS crews work 24 hours on, then 48 hours off. Crews schedules cycle through Christmas like any other day.
“It rotates around each year. Leap years are a bummer, because you work two Christmases in a row,” Bonner said.
“Because you work 24 hours, you work all of Christmas day,” he said.
Some crews get up with their kids and have Christmas before their shift.
“The one thing you learn in this field long enough, the date isn’t important, it’s the day. It’s still a celebration, tomorrow,” he said.