I saw a Baytown fire truck at a local grocery store, and some of the firefighters were inside shopping. Why do firefighters use fire trucks for non-emergency purposes while they are on duty?
To ensure the most effective service at the time of an emergency, our crews must remain in their designated response territory with their fire trucks during their entire shift. Our crews work 24 hour shifts with no scheduled breaks, and meals are not provided by the City. Personnel on each shift must purchase their own food and prepare their own meals, so they may make a daily trip to the grocery store within their first due neighborhood to buy whatever they need to prepare their meals for the entire shift.
Fire and Medic crews do not have to be sitting in the fire station to be dispatched to a call. Since all City units maintain constant radio contact with Fire Dispatch and the entire crew must always be together with their truck, they are always ready to respond to any emergency, regardless of their current location or non-emergency assignment. Very often, our firefighters and paramedics spend long periods of their day running calls, without returning to the station or stopping to eat.