SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCBD) – Changes are being made to work schedules for some Summerville firefighters that could give them more time with family.

Traditionally, firefighters worked 24 hours in a row, and then they would get 48 hours off. So, you would work one day and then have two days off.

But a new plan would give them a better schedule and spend more time with their loved ones.

“We started off on this idea of giving our guys and gals and opportunity to go to an alternate schedule,” explained Summerville Fire and Rescue Chief Richard Waring.

They decided to test working 48 hours in a row, followed by four days off, about three months ago.

“Put it out for a vote again and over 80% of the department was in favor of keeping the schedules. So all-in-all, I think it will fit their needs and give them a better work/life balance which we’re all about,” said Chief Waring.

Since the department went from one day on, two days off, to two days on and four days off, it doesn’t really cost any more money to operate this way.

“Doesn’t change anything from a pay standpoint, income level, or cost to the town. It’s just a better schedule for them in the long run. They’ll have more consecutive days at home with their family.”

Chief Waring says he believes it will also help keep firefighters working for the town.

“That was the main purpose of this- for purposes of recruitment and retention of our personnel. You ask a young person these days what’s more appealing to you? It’s a flexible work schedule,” he explained.

Chief Waring said that as far as he knows, Summerville is the only agency in the Charleston area doing this schedule permanently.

After that three-month trial, this schedule change will become permanent for Summerville Fire and Rescue.