Paramedics will work 12-hour shifts three or four days a week, under a one-year pilot project designed to help with staff shortages that have plagued the Department of Emergency Services in recent months. Some EMS Division stations were forced to shut down for certain weekend shifts because of the shortages. The plan came about because of an agreement between the City and the United Public Workers union. The new shifts begin August 31 and if the schedule works, it will become permanent.