EMS Tips

Need Your Tips for Staying Awake, Alert, and Safe on 24+ Hour Shifts

After reading “3 Tips to Stay Mentally Alert During Long Shifts” an Everyday EMS Tips reader wrote:

“What do you suggest for crews that are running all night? How can we stay mentally alert after the 12th call? Or the 2oth hour?”

I would like your help and suggestions for this reader. I have made a conscious choice to rarely work shifts longer than 12 or 16 hours and rarely work overnight because I struggle with staying awake and safe when I am up for more than 20 hours. My other work does not lend itself to day sleeping before or after a shift so I have chosen to primarily work during the day.

If you work 24s, 48s, or even longer shifts what do you to stay awake, alert, and safe? I would like to compile your responses in a future blog post.

After you respond I suggest a quick safety nap.

By Greg Friese

Greg Friese, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, is an author, educator, paramedic, and marathon runner.

Greg was the co-host of the award winning EMSEduCast podcast, the only podcast by and for EMS educators. Greg has written for,, Wilderness Medical Associates, JEMS Magazine, and EMS World Magazine, and the NAEMSE Educator Newsletter.