Opinion: to help firefighters, help their spouses

On this blog I really try to keep it productive… useful tips, stuff that can be implemented. I try to see myself as part of the solution- not the problem. 

But sometimes, there are no tips to share about a topic.

Today I wanted to share an opinion, one that is becoming stronger and stronger the more I get involved in the firefighting arena. 

I’ve talked to many wives and spouses, even more so now that I have people contacting me because of this blog. 

We’ve talked about all kinds of things, and you’ll see it mentioned in some of the posts. How women firefighters have husbands who have to learn how to cope, and firefighter wives who have zero idea about cancer or PTSD. 

I’ve tried to be a part of the solution. 

But today, I’m angry, so I’m going to write this out. 

If you want to save Firefighters, you need to involve their spouses. 

Sure, it sounds like common sense. 

But is it applied? 

Ehhh, why don’t you ask the firefighter wife whose knee deep in household obligations and work because her husband has occupational cancer? 

Or the widow who didn’t even realize her firefighter was at risk? 

Or the husband who can’t understand why some male firefighters are so damn rude to his wife? 

Or the firefighter girlfriend who doesn’t understand why her boyfriend pushes her away, despite telling her that he loves her but this job is too dangerous? 

It’s a team affair people. 

Team. 

Brotherhood. 

Unity. 

Not the instagram, ‘we’ll take it from here’ BS.

We hear it all the time at training, and meetings and conferences. Yet how many times do we involve the family? 

How many times do we say to the husbands and wives, “hey, your firefighter may not want to talk about it, but they are at much higher risks for cancer and ptsd. While we’re talking, I know you must be lonely too- but theres resources available for the both of you!”

Even better are the people that stoke the fire. That say that firefighters divorce more than average. 

I’ve written an entire post about it but in a nut shell, the data just doesn’t support that assumption. In fact, firefighters divorce less than military. Firefighters are average. 

But how many people want to start drama and cause accusations to be made. Then we have spouses that have not only the wrong information, but damaging information. 

We know that marriage is a protective factor in preventing suicide– so why are people actively trying to break up marriages with drama and incorrect facts?

Listen, I’m not knocking the people that are making a difference. I see you. I applaud you. I know you’re out there trying to save lives. 

What drives me crazy is the other people that think that cancer is no big deal, or that PTSD just goes away on its own. 

That’s how you end up with not only dead firefighters but dead families. 

We know improperly cleaned bunker gear contributes to cancer, yet how many people bring it home? In the family car? To use for newborn pictures? 

Did we take pictures with our kids in bunker gear? Sure did. 

Had that bunker gear ever seen a fire? NO. Because we know the risks. 

These people out there, especially volunteers don’t know all the risks. 

Hell, we don’t even have medical coverage in all of the United States for cancer or behavioral health. 

Look here, we have more data now than ever before. 

If we want to help our firefighters, not only do we need to educate them, but we need to educate their spouses. 

Spouses are the frontline of defense. They can reach out when behavioral health needs assistance, they can help their firefighter establish good hygiene and cleaning habits in the effort to reduce cancer. 

Spouses are there with the firefighters every day- we need them to be on the same team. 

When we involve the spouses- we take this from a private work thing, to a much larger life event. 

And it’s so simple. 

Invite spouses to a yearly meeting to go over improvements at the station. 

Have a slideshow about health and prevention at the Christmas party. 

Send a packet of info to the address in file addressed to husband and wife. 

Encourage an auxiliary for the spouses to join. 

Have a meet and greet event for new hires where they bring their family. 

What else? What else can we do? Let’s collaborate. Let’s find ways that more people can be aware of the risks firefighters have, and some of the ways we know they can be prevented. If we don’t save our firefighters, who will save us when we need it? 

Find more help for Firefighter Wives here

Mental Health Resources for Firefighters

How to become a Volunteer Firefighter

become a volunteer firefighter

Post Preview: Learn how to become a Volunteer Firefighter. Get a brief view of the education and training requirements to see if being a Volunteer Fireman is right for you. 

 Volunteer Firefighting is so important to many communities across the United States. When time is literally the only thing between life and death, seconds matter.

Many communities are in areas that can take 15-30 minutes for a Career Firefighter to show up, which is why volunteer’s are still a needed part of a communities emergency action plan. They are essential to the safety of the people. 

volunteer firefighter

This post may contain affiliate links, which is no extra cost to you, check out my affiliate disclosure for more information. 

The Basics of a Volunteer Firefighter 

While every station has some different criteria, there are many steps that are the same across the nation. Generally you will want to have be in good health and physically able to do the demands of the job.

The Department will review your background and speak to you about your plans to become a volunteer. After being accepted, you will complete training programs before becoming an official Volunteer Firefighter. 

The Steps to become a Volunteer Firefighter 

Step 1: Make the Decision to Volunteer. 

You wont really know what you’ve gotten yourself into until you’ve been on the job for a few months, but I can assure you that it’s very unlike the TV shows you may have watched.

Being a volunteer means putting your opinions and needs to the side to help others- so you will be in situations that many find hard or difficult (dealing with danger, dealing with death, having to make hard decisions).

We want and need more volunteers- just know that it isn’t like serving cake at a nursing home.

There is a lot more to being a volunteer than some realize. 

Step 2: Once you’ve committed to being a volunteer firefighter, you need to contact your local fire service agency. 

You can call or visit your local volunteer department to ask about openings and specific requirements. There you can talk to other firefighters and officers to get a feel for the position. They can explain to you what’s required physically and mentally. 

Many of the volunteer stations will offer ride alongs so that you can get a feel for the job. I recommend this wherever it is offered.

Some people are thrilled to be a volunteer fireman, others realize it isn’t a good fit. 

Step 3: After all the talking, apply to be a volunteer Firefighter

Once you’ve made the commitment and spoken with the Fire Station, decide if this is the spot for you and apply! 

This could be the point that you go back to Step 2 and look for other stations as well. It’s very important to get a good fit as a volunteer, so don’t discount looking at all of your options. 

After you’ve applied you will go through a screening process. This could be similar to a job interview, where you speak with someone in management and get a physical from your doctor.

The Station could also look at your records to make sure that you don’t have anything that would interfere with you being a fireman ( You won’t be driving a firetruck with a DUI). 

Depending on the department you will have other qualifications as well. These can include (but not always) a high school diploma, a valid drivers license, and living within the Department’s Jurisdiction. Many stations also want volunteers that have their EMT license, so that they can assist with basic medical calls. 

Step 4: Get training! 

This is the most rewarding part! It’s also the hardest. 

Training to be a firefighter is a serious undertaking because you have to think about other people. When it comes to saving your life, or the life of someone else, you can never train enough! 

Everyone that is a volunteer firefighter will need to take a 110-hour NFPA certified course. 

Each Department will have their own training requirements. 

This youtube video provides some insight into the training you would be doing as a firefighter.

There are also many free and paid courses online that you can take to further your knowledge and skill set. They even have books on Amazon

Typically, Departments will have an outline for physical training, so make sure you stay current on your fitness routine! They will also cover things like proper equipment use, auto accidents, structure fires and basic medical care in classroom and hands on learning. If you’d like a headstart you can check out this book on Kindle Amazon, that covers all the basics of Firefighting. 

Examples of specific training could include things like:

Learning proper use of rescue tools like a halligan, ax, k12 saw, and other extrication equipment. 

Emergency rescue procedures. 

Proper use of PPE and turnout gear

Fire prevention

Hazardous material recognition and procedures 

Structure Fire Attack

Fire truck/Fire Apparatus Operation

Firefighters wear many hats, which is part of the reason that volunteer firefighting is so important! It can also lead to a career in firefighting, as many people get a leg up because they were volunteers first. 

Volunteer Firefighters are Badass

Volunteer Firefighter FAQ

But I have so many other questions! 

Do I have to go to school? 

No, Volunteer Firefighters do not have to go to school. However, it is encouraged for firefighters to take the job seriously. For many people, that means that they will go to training courses, some are only a day and some are several weeks.

It’s also important to consider that the majority of calls are medical calls. Many departments encourage you to get your basic EMT license, which can be anywhere from 6-30 weeks depending on the state requirements. This allows you to provide basic medical care to someone when they are injured. 

Can I get paid?

YES/KINDA! There are many Volunteer Departments that offer incentives. These can range from pay per call, to special events, to payment for training requirements.

Some other departments offer retirement pension plans. Almost all of the departments are involved in discount program, where you can receive a percentage off the purchase of many products. 

If you are interested in earning an income, Wildland Firefighters work seasonally. Could be a good option for some people! 

What if I’m in High School? Can I still Volunteer?

Please Do! There is a program for “Junior Firefighters” who don’t meet the traditional age requirements. There are over 2500 programs across the US. Check out NVFC National Junior Firefighter for more information. 

Will I work 40 hours a week?

Not quite. Typical volunteer call volume ranges from once a day to several times a day- most of the incidents are minor. Each station has a system for who is “on call”, so those are the volunteers that would be responding to the call. Many volunteers across the US get a few calls a week. 

Is being a volunteer worth it?

Absolutely! In fact, I wrote an entire post on the benefits of volunteering. It could be the most important thing you ever do in your life- you never know if you will be in the right place at the right time to save a life. 

Conclusion 

My husband made the decision to become a firefighter a few days after his mom was saved from a life and death situation. She was in an auto accident, and it took them 45 minutes to extricate her, then transport her by ambulance another 15 minutes to the nearest hospital. And she lived, from an accident that left her disabled, because of the training that these brave men and women had. 

When you become a volunteer firefighter, you are doing one of the most selfless jobs. You are not paid because you are worthless, you are priceless. This country was founded on volunteers, it is a great thing to do for yourself and your community! 

I hope you found these steps helpful. Please reach out if I can provide any help or more information. I also love to hear from firefighters in all stages of their journey, so drop a comment or shoot me a PM! 

become a volunteer firefighter

Thank you Firefighter Wife

Here’s to all the wives who are married to some of the bravest- this one is for you.

Thank you Fire Wife, for showing up even when it seems impossible.

For keeping the house together even when it feels like everything is falling apart. (and it always seems to be falling apart when your FF is gone)

It may not seem like a lot, but without your help, your Firefighter couldn’t make the difference that they make right now.

But it doesn’t feel like that right? It doesn’t feel like you are directly saving someone’s life. It doesn’t feel like you are truly appreciated.

Instead, it feels like you are losing your life- losing who you are as you try to be everything at home when your firefighter is away.

So over it when he comes home that you hand him the responsibilities as you walk out the door to take a break. Emotionally, mentally and physically beat from the time he’s been away on calls.

But then you find this inner strength you didn’t know you even had, and you go back in. Back to the proverbial fire- dealing with your Firefighter and all of his baggage from work (and the PTSD is no joke!)

Thank you Fire Wife.

Thank you for having grace and compassion when your Husband runs out the door to save a life.

Thank you for helping your Firefighter through the bad days. Because there will be bad days, horrible days, days that make you question everything. But you will find the help and support and be the one behind the scenes that makes an impact.

Thank you Fire Wife, for telling the neighbors to mind their business and for advocating for First Responders because you know all too well what it’s like. How you stay awake some nights worried and anxious. Then how you learn to deal with those thoughts and care for the next generation of Fire Wives.

Without you, Firefighters as we know it wouldn’t exist. Without the support at home, the job can’t be done to the fullest. You pull double duty with meals and laundry and the kids so that your spouse can save lives.

It is always glorious? No- sometimes it fun and sometimes it’s hard.

These words are for the hard times.

The times you want to quit.

The times where you feel like you’ve had enough and your Firefighter has had enough and everything needs to go away.

During these times, I want to thank you.

1000x over I want to thank you.

I see you struggling, I know you’re tired.

But you, you were forged in Fire. No matter if you are a fire wife for one day or 5000 days. This job will not beat you- you are not defined by the ‘firefighter wife’.

Because you are so much more. Never give up- just take a break. You’re so much more valuable then you realize. Thank you.

For the Firefighter Wives

What Firefighter Wives need to know about PTSD

What to do when your Firefighter doesn’t want to talk about it


Patriotic summer activities (and free Fourth Of July Printable)

The Fourth of July is one of the best holidays. We can celebrate our wonderful county, enjoy the summer time and spend time with our families!

I’m a big fan of cook outs and fireworks- they are so fun! Some of my fondest memories are spending time together around the fourth watching the fireworks and eating too much food!

So when it comes time to traditions to do with my own kids, there are so many options available!

For starters, you can grab this free fourth of July printable! Simply click the image, save it and print it out!

Next you can check out these other fun fourth of july activites !

Fun Patriotic Activities to do with your family

Shaving Cream Fireworks
Photo Credit: www.icanteachmychild.com

Shaving Cream Fireworks

Messy fun with only a few household activities, this is a great way to create patriotic art with basic supplies.

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4th of July Mason Jar Candles
Photo Credit: www.thisgrandmaisfun.com

4th of July Mason Jar Candles

Fun and easy patriotic craft that the whole family can get involved with!

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American Cannons - 4th of July Outdoor Game
Photo Credit: 4hatsandfrugal.com

American Cannons - 4th of July Outdoor Game

Get outside with this inventive and fun game, perfect for summer and patriotic holidays.

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Patriotic Pinwheels Craft for Kids
Photo Credit: myhomebasedlife.com

Patriotic Pinwheels Craft for Kids

These adorable pinwheels take less than 15 minutes, and (BONUS) teach you the directions so you can make different types of pinwheels. Start with the fourth of july, and then make them for other spring and summer holidays.

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Star Spangled Slime
Photo Credit: www.icanteachmychild.com

Star Spangled Slime

Slime is always a fun activity for adults and kids alike! Make some star spangled slime for your next patriotic celebration.

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Sparkle Bottles
Photo Credit: jamonkey.com

Sparkle Bottles

Everyone needs some sparkle in their life! If you are looking for a NON-messy craft, this is it! Have fun with these sensory bottles.

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Glow in the Dark Sensory Bottles
Photo Credit: www.kcedventures.com

Glow in the Dark Sensory Bottles

Discover this fun sensory bottle, perfect for an evening filled with fireworks!

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Patriotic Party Slime
Photo Credit: thefarmgirlgabs.com

Patriotic Party Slime

Patriotic Suncatcher Kids Craft for Fourth of July & Memorial Day -
Photo Credit: alittlepinchofperfect.com

Patriotic Suncatcher Kids Craft for Fourth of July & Memorial Day -

A cute activity perfect for all ages. This suncatcher sparkles in the afternoon sun on your window- perfect for celebrating America!

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Red, White & Blue Jello Cups
Photo Credit: www.kouponkaren.com

Red, White & Blue Jello Cups

Have your jello and eat it too! This is the perfect food craft to get kids involved for the holidays.

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Fireworks Marble Painting Craft Easy and Fun Activity for Kids
Photo Credit: kidfriendlythingstodo.com

Fireworks Marble Painting Craft Easy and Fun Activity for Kids

Remember marbles? Yep, they are still just as fun! Break out the set and see who can make a better firework art piece- the kids? or the adults?

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The Best Fire Hose Gifts and Do-It-Yourself Crafts

Post Preview: Fire hose has a shelf life. Once it’s reached it’s useful end on the Firefighting side, it gets turned into unique and memorable items, which are perfect gifts for Firefighters!

Not only is Fire Hose amazing for it’s life saving water power, but it also turns into some hot up-cycled items, many of which are perfect gifts for Firefighters.

And that’s not even the best part!

When you make crafts or purchase used fire hose gifts, you are recycling the hose and keeping it out of the landfill!

Obviously, being recycled wasn’t what fire hose was intended for- so finding specific colors is dependent on what gets retired at the time.

>>>>20 secrets the perfect Firefighter doesn’t want you to know<<<<

The items that can be created are truly endless, from belts and wallets to bags and notebooks. Hammocks, chairs and wall art also top the list of creative firehose recyclables.

The creativity doesn’t stop there though. Decommissioned Fire Hose has been in the media lately because of its versatility and strength in keeping doors closed, should an incident occur in a school. And animal habitats have been known to use decommisioned fire hose for play toys and bedding.

Basically, Fire hose is useful from the beginning to the end of it’s life. The real question now is, do you want to DIY your fire hose master piece or purchase an up-cycled firehose piece from a talented artist?

Table of Contents

What’s all the hoopla with recycled fire hose?

Firefighters are a pretty handy bunch. They can also be pretty resourceful too- give them some decommissioned fire hose and you might be surprised what they will make.

I’m thinking that one of them decided to cut up some hose and make something back in the day. Of course, this would be hard to track down- I’m sure it was before the advent of the internet when some hose lover made a bench or some wall art with some old firehose. 

Fire hose is very unique though, so thats why it makes such a fun project. It’s durable, tough and comes in a variety of colors. It also makes an excellent Firefighter gift idea, especially because Firefighters love to have memorabilia.

It’s also super flexible- just imagine all the water a used hose has had to deal with. Those funny videos of firefighters losing control of their fire hose aren’t just for show- they really happen!

Personally, I think it’s a great use of resources that have failed testing or reached their limit. Much better than a landfill or them going to a third world country where they might fail in action.

This post may contain affiliate links at no extra cost to you, please read my affiliate disclosure for more information.

First, Where do you get used Fire Hose?

This is the million dollar question.

Pro tip- Don’t call 911 asking for fire hose…

The first logical answer is calling up your local fire department (non emergency number) and the surrounding stations within a reasonable drive. Ask them if they have any available and also offer to contribute a donation to the department. Chances are, they have some lying around.

Another great option is to look online! Amazon has some new hose, Ebay and Craigslist have used fire hose options, and there are other producers that sell wholesale and retail to the public. You should be able to find some fire hose for sale online.

It may take some hunting, but you can find some recycled fire hose for your DIY projects!

DIY SECTION 

Of course, if you are pretty handy, you could do a lot of these projects yourself. I’m a crafty and avid sewer (sewist? Whats the word when you make stuff with a sewing machine?) but I have yet to attempt playing with fire hose. 

Thankfully, there are some tutorials on how to cut and sew this stuff up! You can also use leather working material to create your design, which would require more of a hand sewn approach- looking at the videos online, it looks like it might be easier to do it hand sewn.

If I was starting out with a new fire hose project, I would probably go with a wall design, or a can holder. Those look like they would be the easiest to make!

Don’t forget about the new hose on amazon, so if you are sentimental about a roll of inch and three quarter line, you can experiment on the new roll from Amazon first. It’s always a good idea to have scrap material for the prototype.

Instructables has several project outlines for working with fire hose. They are look decently easy- working with fire hose has an element of common sense. Its tough like leather but still flexible- almost like a well loved rug.

There are some other really cool ideas that don’t involve sewing. Several options just require cutting and using something like a pin or staple to secure the hose. Others could be hanging hose, or weaving it. I have several really cool ideas saved on my Pinterest board, Fire Hose

Ideas for recycled fire hose with fire hose background

GIFT GUIDE 

Under 20 dollars

Can Coozies from BrotherhoodProducts on Etsy
Firefighter Coaster from American Fire Co

Fire Hose Coupling Pencil Holder from Axes and Hose Co

Fire Hose Wallets and Belts 

Wallets and Belts tend to be the most popular reclaimed fire hose item. If you wanted to purchase some there are several options! Many of these producers are also firefighters (double bonus!!). 

Some popular brands for wallets Recycled Firefighter and Gallo En Fuego. Etsy also has a large collection of independent makers making unique firehose wallets. Though if you want something guranteed, Recycled Firefighter has been making a name for himself in the US, particularly among the EDC crowd. I’ve never heard a bad review!

Belts seem to be easier (maybe?) to make since there are lots of options to choose from!

Ladder34 has some really cool collections to showcase their belt options, like the Hotshot collection and FDNY inspired belts. Personally I like the Attack belts, but my husband would be all over the truckie ones.

Another maker is FireHoze, which has some pretty cool standard colored fire hose belts.

Rustic Firehose has some traditional up cycled firehose belts as well… and I’d be lying if I said they were ugly. The ‘rustic red’ is right up my alley!

Recycled Fire Hose Dogs toys

Nothing screams ‘Fire Pup’ like a Fire Hose chew toy. Seriously, Fire hose makes great dog chew toys because it’s practically indestructible. These are great for aggressive chewers, we’ve tried a few different options for our puppy and the fire hose beats all the other ones hands down!

These 5 Star rated Fire Hose Chew Toys are a must have for any pup!

And dont forget about ones with squeakers! My dog is OBSESSED with squeezers!

Amazon has a great selection of dog toys to choose from for your furry friend!

Don’t forget about Etsy! They have some super cute dog collars and accessories.

Our Fire Dog with our son, sitting on the fire truck.
Our Fire Pup!

Bags and Notebooks 

These are some of my favorite items that have been made from upcycled Fire Hose. I think some of the color combinations are really stunning.  While you can find turnout gear bags everywhere, fire hose bags tend to be a little more exclusive.

On Etsy, this is listed as a Bag Truck Tarpaulin and Fire Hose ensemble made with some great 5 star reviews!

One of the most popular brands for these fire hose bags and notebooks is Recycled Firefighter. It looks like he mastered the creative part of fire hose and went to work making some cool items!

Then there are two options in Europe. FeuerWear and Elvis & Kresse. Both of them have some amazing fire hose bags and accesories (and shipping looks pretty reasonable to the US!).

Decor 

Etsy is my go to when I want to look at creative uses for Fire hose, and it does not disappoint! This is especially true for Firefighter gifts for a Fire Wall or a Firefighter Themed Man Cave.

You will find so many creative things on Etsy made from firehose, truly one of a kind pieces.

This item is both hilarious, yet useful. Male and Female Bathroom signs!

Some of my favorite firehose creations are an American Flag Fire Hose from AmericanFireCo,

The ever popular Fire Hose Bench from AxesandHoseCo

I love these absolutely original wall hangings from BrotherhoodProducts.

Conclusion 

So if you have some vintage fire hose, you’ve got two options. Chop it up yourself, or get someone else to make you a custom fire hose piece. 

If you don’t have firehose, because not many of us do, definitely consider some of these unique items available for purchase (many of these stores are owned by firefighters- double win!)

Did I inspire a new firefighter themed collection? Or did I miss your favorite firehose creation? Let me know in the comments! 

fire hose gift guide


Firefighter Maternity and Newborn Pictures

We’ve all seen those pictures that make you swoon, the ones you can’t get enough of, the ones that make you smile and tear up. You know, the ones of babies and bunker gear!

Seriously, they are so cute! I stalked the web (mainly Pinterest, you can check out my board here!) for all the cute firefighter baby pictures. And there are several!

So when our third was born, we knew we wanted to grab a few more pictures of him rocking the fire life. We had tried with our first two, but we had a lot of other stuff going on when they were born (health problems and allergies- I’m looking at you!!!) so we knew we had to make it happen with the third.

Because babies and bunkers are two things you need more of in your life!

This article may contain affiliate links at no additional cost to you, read the disclosure here.

Maternity Pictures and Fire Trucks

We decided to match each other with the navy blue- mostly because I felt like a whale in the Florida heat. Navy Blue is a very forgiving color!

Newborn with the thin red line

We found much of what we got online.

The thin red line flag we purchased from amazon, and the cloth diaper cover was purchased from Etsy. We ended up getting it handmade (our first ever custom!). We’ve been cloth diapering since our first was super allergic- so this was a fun twist on the photo shoot!

Etsy also has the adorable baby bunker gear sets too!

Fire Station Visit with an Infant


We had so much fun doing these, and we are so sad that he is getting bigger already. Little ham is about 15lbs at 2 months.

It certainly has been a lot of fun adding our third to the mix, especially with shift days 😬 but we wouldnt change it for the world!

You can check out advice for the new mom and fire wife if you need some helpful ideas!

9 ways you know she’s married to a firefighter

How do you know he’s a firefighter? —- You can tell by his shirt! Likewise, you can tell a firewife by how she approaches some things.

Not only is she a rockstar when her husband isn’t home (somebodies gotta do it!) but she keeps it together so that he can do his job.

Together they are a team, one that helps hold our country together, as Firefighters are an essential part of keeping everyone safe (and their spouses at home do a lot of work too!)

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How do you know she’s a Firefighter Wife? Here’s the top 9 ways it shows!

1. She likes her husband in Navy Blue, not only is it a good color, but he also wears it all the time!

Am I right? Or am I right?

No seriously, there’s a lot of navy blue going on. At least he looks cute in it!

2. She isn’t afraid of spending nights alone

Her firefighter could be gone for who knows how long if he volunteers and all night on a schedule when he is career.

So she can’t be scared. She’s got to keep the home together while he’s away.

3. She rocks it as a solo parent (or solo dog mom!)

Shift days can be long! Throw in some volunteer hours, some trainings, and maybe a natural disaster (or two!) and it’s a wonder she gets anything done.

But she does, because she’s amazing.

>>>10 cute firefighter books for little kids<<<

4. She’s used to smelling smoke, not the cigarette kind, the house kind.

From her husband needing to shower after a call, to dirty turnouts, she knows what smoke smells like.

And she knows how to wash it out of the laundry. And she reminds her husband about his cancer risk (and secondary exposure) so everyone can stay clean and safe.

5. Her Firefighter carries her heart with him whenever he is on shift

Firewives have a few different ways of coping when their firefighter is gone. Some stay super busy so they don’t think about it, some are anxious the entire time, some listen to the scanner and follow the word of mouth forums to see what’s happening.

Hell, some of us Fire wives are just happy to watch what we want on Netflix and get the bed to ourselves.

However you deal, we know that we want our firefighter to stay safe.

6. Holidays, events, and days off are scheduled around shift days, Kelly days and trainings

Sure he has vacation time, but he also has to work. Sometimes Christmas is rescheduled, and some birthday’s are celebrated at the station. Special trips may be saved for times when theirs a swap available or a Kelley day.

Which is actually kinda cool, because some Firefighters are able to work more than one shift, or rotate shifts with their wife to care for the kids!

>>>40 Texts to send your Firefighter on Shift <<<

7. When the tones drop, she has to stop and let her husband go save lives

And sometimes the tones drop at really really important times. Like during the middle of an important conversation or when they are trying to spend some time together.

But her husband made a commitment, and she made a commitment to him!

8. She has to constantly reassure her friends and family that yes, she is still married.

Because he isn’t always there. Heck, sometimes he’s never around, especially if he’s doing a special school (I’m looking at you, medic school)

And let’s not forget that if her FF does anything ‘wrong’ that she shares with others, then they will start to think the marriage is on the brink of disaster.

Yes, still married. Yes, husband works alot. Yes, we will make it through this just like police officers and military and other wives who are married to hard working men!

>>>10 easy meals for shift night <<<

9. And that, not only did she marry a firefighter, but she married the love of her life. She ain’t nobodies badge bunny!

This fire life is tough stuff. It’s not something that we want to do for glory or some sort of social media thing.

Firefighter wives married their husbands because of love, not a job title, not a paycheck and not for a thin red line.

They love the man inside the bunkers, it’s just a bonus that he’s a firefighter.

Let’s Remember

Firefighters couldn’t do what they do without their spouses. We are their friends, their confidents, the keepers of the home when they are away.

Fire Wives have such an important role, never forget that. What you do behind the scenes is valuable!

Do you have anything you’d add to the list?

Recommended Posts for Fire Wives

15 ways you can spice up your First Responder Marriage Today

Tips for the New Mom and the Fire Wife

12 pieces of advice for the New Firefighter Wife

PTSD- The basics for First Responders

It seems that PTSD is a hot topic among First Responders these days. From talking about it, to training courses and mentions in the news. But it can be hard to talk about something that you dont fully understand.

So First Responders, their spouses and their family need to get a basic understand of what PTSD is, and what it is not. Sometimes you just want a straight answer!

*** Please note- this is not medical advice, nor to I pretend to know everything about PTSD, mental health, or the education that medical professionals have. This is my personal experience with my family and the mental health professionals we have talked to over the years. I strongly encourage you to get help if you or a loved one is suffering from PTSD, suicidal thoughts, or you need help. For immediate issues, call 911.

Why do you need to Know about PTSD?

That’s the most important question- because if you don’t find this information valuable, then it won’t matter to you!

So why do you need to know about PTSD?

PTSD is something that can effect you, your family or people that you encounter as a result of a traumatic event.

You need to know about PTSD because it can have an impact on your life- either indirectly or directly. Especially if you are a first responder or connected to one.

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But you need to know that not everyone will experience PTSD

While the numbers are pretty high, not everyone experiences PTSD. Sometimes everyday stressors can seem like a lot to handle, but they aren’t impacting how you function day to day.

Other times, PTSD can sneak up on you, and you suppress it because you have too much going on. If you experience symptoms that last longer than a month it’s time to talk to a professional .

What’s the definition of PTSD

The American Psychatric Association defines PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a psychiatric disorder that can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event.

PTSD can occur in all people, in people of any ethnicity, nationality or culture, and any age.

People with PTSD have intense, disturbing thoughts and feelings related to their experience that last long after the traumatic event has ended. View the article here.

Quick Stats according to this study

-33% of EMT’s and Paramedics will experience PTSD

-Females are more likely than males to have PTSD

-Moreover, this study found that PTSD was also the strongest predictor of health-related problems— stronger than depression, anxiety or job strain.

-PTSD among these first responders is associated with biomarkers that indicate neuroendocrine changes (e.g. cortisol, blood pressure) that may contribute to disability.

Many ways that PTSD can present itself

PTSD can look like a lot of different things, and it can also look different for Firefighters, Police Officers and Dispatchers.

They can have different thoughts associated with PTSD based on what they experienced and how often it’s happened.

So lets cover some general things that PTSD can present itself as for many of the first responders.

For one, PTSD can be a result of HEARING about a trauma.

 It can also occur as a result of repeated exposure to horrible details of trauma such as police officers exposed to details of child abuse cases. (See source here)

For Two, it can take some time to present itself. This is called Delayed Onset PTSD- it’s why many believe there shouldn’t be a reporting time limit.

For three, gender does play a role. About 10 of every 100 women (or 10%) develop PTSD sometime in their lives compared with about 4 of every 100 men (or 4%). Learn more about women, trauma and PTSD.

Fourth, it can be something that is manageable, or something that becomes a severe disability. This is entirely a case by case basis that will require diagnosis to determine.

PTSD is NOT this

PTSD is not something to be ashamed about. Those with PTSD have been through a lot. It’s literally in the title- they have experienced something traumatic.

But It is not something that is just going to go away on its own either.

Having PTSD is a very real thing for many people, it can stem from childhood trauma, or a very stressful event. You can even get it from secondary sources (think 9/11- we all have some awareness of that day, some worse than others).

Many people think that having PTSD is a weakness, a flaw, and something that they should keep locked up and hidden away.

But PTSD can cause this

Those that have PTSD are at a higher risk of depression.

And being depressed can cause higher risks of Suicide.

And a large number of first responders take their life every year.

See the connection here?

The problems aren’t always concrete- those with PTSD won’t always have depression, and those with depression won’t always have PTSD.

BUT we do know that we need to be aware of the connections so we can work on preventative care, especially so that we can save our First Responder Family. You can read more about the PTSD and Depression connection.

Get some Help

I would encourage you to talk to someone- you can speak to your employment assistance program at work.

You can find resources online, most importantly Like the national suicide prevention hotline.

You should also consider talking to someone about PTSD, please check out this FREE app for managing PTSD.

Hotline for FIRE/EMS (from the website- they are 24/7 and first responders OR their family can call about issues like alcohol or drug addiction, depression, suicide prevention, stress or anxiety, critical incidents, PTSD, stress caused by financial management issues or legal problems, relationship issues, work-related concerns, or psychological issues)

First Responder Crisis Support Line

I also have a resource with many other helpful sites for Firefighter Mental Health (As well as occupational health etc)

Let’s Recap

PTSD can happen to anyone- but it does tend to compound with First Responders, and personal and work life can blend together.

You want to get help for PTSD, it doesn’t have to rule your life or the lives of your loved ones.

What Firefighter Wives need to know about PTSD

What to do when your Firefighter doesn’t want to talk about it


What to do when your Firefighter doesn’t want to talk about it

We’ve all been there. It doesnt matter if your married, dating or just friends- there are times when your firefighter has had a rough time and they don’t want to talk about it.

It’s tough.

It’s tough for them living with those thoughts and memories, and it’s tough for you, as you watch them suffer (in silence or by acting out in other ways) and you don’t know how to help.

Or maybe you are doing your best to help and you want some reassurance that you are doing the right thing.

Whatever you are feeling, just know that you aren’t alone. As we become more aware of behavioral and mental health, we begin to understand just how complex the brain really is!

Let’s take a look at a few things you can do when your Firefighter doesn’t feel like talking.

*** Please note- this is not medical advice, nor to I pretend to know everything about PTSD, mental health, or the education that medical professionals have. This is my personal experience with my family and the mental health professionals we have talked to over the years. I strongly encourage you to get help if you or a loved one is suffering from PTSD, suicidal thoughts, or you need help. For immediate issues, call 911.

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First things first, understand that it’s normal to have bad calls

It’s just a part of the job. People from all walks of emergency responders and trauma intervention will experience bad calls.

Some days will just be bad days. If one call isn’t enough to shake the strongest of people, a series of bad calls (or a larger tragic event) will bring event the top dogs to their knees.

So when we hear that our Firefighter had a bad call, we have to remember that other people experience this as well.

Which is good and bad. There is strength in numbers, but there is also a stigma around ‘being weak’. Even if the whole crew experienced the same thing, there are those that are willing to talk about it and those that aren’t.

It can be a very touchy subject at work depending on the type of culture for that Fire Station. Talk to your firefighter (hopefully ahead of time) and ask them about their experience with talking to their team mates about hard calls.

This will give you some insight into how they might process the call (if everyone ignores it, your FF might ignore it too!) and it will also tell you if you are one of the only ones your firefighter can talk to, or if they have other people that might be able to lend an ear.

Be there, even if they can’t tell you what’s wrong

This is likely the most important thing to remember. You just need to be there for them, even when they can’t talk about it. This can be a gentle touch, or just someone to watch TV with.

Try to remember that they need time to work through what they have experienced and it can be difficult to come to terms with what they have seen (and everything else they may be questioning at that point!)

It’s not you, it’s them

What else can you do?

You can contact someone, especially if things get serious. You can take care of yourself and learn how to love and care for yourself (fill your cup, so you can help them fill theirs).

You can learn more about the basic of PTSD for Firefighter wives and you can also learn how to help Firefighters cope with trauma.

Most importantly, you can help to break the stigma around what Firefighters, Police Officers, Military and other first responders experience- both on and off the job.

They see some really heavy stuff, and the world takes them for granted.

Learn the Triggers

You have so many resources available for you to learn more about PTSD, depression and suicide in first responders. Please don’t hesitate to reach out. Here’s some great places to start.

Mental Health Resources for Firefighters

The Basics of PTSD for First Responders

What Firefighter Wives need to know about PTSD

What Else Can you Do?

If you feel that you or your FireFighter needs help, reach out. There are so many resources available, both at your station, in your community and online.

The Statitics are there- Firefighters are taking their lives at numbers that, quite frankly, are too damn high.

While you can’t force your Firefighter to talk about it, you can be there and do what you can (while still filling your cup) so that you can help them in their time of need. Sometimes that means they will retire early, sometimes it means they need to get counseling.

At the end of the day, we hope that they know how valuable they are to their family, and that they can get through this!

First Responder Discounts in Orlando

Orlando is the number one tourist destination in the USA, and rightfully so, it has some pretty fun things to do (cough cough *disney* *universal* *seaworld*)

We all know that first responders don’t make nearly enough for what they do… I mean, who becomes a firefighter for the pay? But if your like my husband, then you don’t like asking for a discount.

I totally understand that too! Taking the kids to Disney World is no walk in the park when it comes to your checking account though, so hopefully you find something to ease the financial burden. 

If you are going to Disney World, check out this beginners guide and money saving tips for Disney on a Budget.

Here’s a compilation of some first responder discounts for Orlando and the neighboring areas. I will update as I find more (and I live in Orlando so I will keep my eyes pealed). Please note: Discounts and benefits are subject to change without notice. I am not affiliated with any of these discount programs.

Hotels and Lodging

Disney Springs 

Through September 15, 2018- Special room rates starting from $82/night at the Disney Springs® Resort Area Hotels

Westgate resorts- 

get 10% off rooms

Sheraton Orlando Airport- 

20% off standard rate rooms and other discounts

Marriot Orlando World Center- 

From now through December 30, 2018, Florida first responders are invited to escape to the amenity-laden Orlando World Center Marriott® for just $99 per night

VRBO part of Homeaway-

Offers rentals with no deposit for first responders 

Orlando Theme Parks

Seaworld- normally they do a special every September where first responders either get in free or at a discount 

Disney- GovX (unless you are a Florida resident, then the tickets are pretty comparable)

Universal- GovX – save up to 95 dollars on two day tickets (sometimes with extra discounts)

Everything Else 

Crayola Experience

First Responders (and teachers) are free with ID

Orlando Science Center

10% discount for first responders while valid ID

LegoLand Orlando

up to 35 % off on govx.com (They should also have a discount for first responders in September) 

Kennedy space 

Govx adult tickers are 41 dollars and children are 31 dollars. 

Blue Man group

check govx.com for current discounts

Wonderworks

generally offers free admission in September 

Food 

Golden Corral- most locations offer 10% off

Firehouse Subs- free drinks and other discounts 

4 Rivers Smokehouse http://www.orlandosentinel.com/food-restaurants/os-et-4-rivers-smokehouse-july-4-story.html