A firefighter writes about the evolution of firehouse sleeping quarters and offers solutions to sleep deprivation in the occupation, reports Fire Chief.

We slept in large open dorms with poor ventilation, and the mattresses were often old and saggy, with pillows smelling of cigarette smoke and after shave. But asking for improvements in this area was futile and only led to being told, “We’re not paying you to sleep.”

Over the years things improved — new mattresses, better air circulation. Now many fire department dorms are being split up into separate sleeping cubicles, which depending on the design, may or may not improve the quality of the sleep experience.