The Baltimore City Fire Department is paying overtime to fill nearly a third of its firefighter and medic shifts every day, blowing through its overtime budget.
The department is relying heavily on volunteer “callbacks,” in which firefighters or medics who have just finished a shift are asked to work another, said a department spokeswoman.
It also is shuffling personnel around, moving firefighters who are also certified as medics from scheduled firefighting shifts to particularly short-staffed medical units.
On average, about 30 percent of the 371 fire and medical shifts the department must fill each day are going to personnel working for extra pay, confirmed Blair Adams, the spokeswoman.
Partly as a result, the department has used up its $11.2 million overtime budget for this year, despite there being more than three months left on the fiscal calendar, Adams confirmed.