A letter to the Fire Wife and what she might not know about the Christmas season with her firefighter.
Are you a new fire wife with your first Christmas season? Maybe you’ve had a few firefighter holidays under your belt. Well, Buckle up, because its going to be a fun ride! It doesn’t matter if your firefighters is a volunteer, career, military or somewhere in between- the holidays are crazy for our first responders.
With all the extra holiday cheer, it also means that there will be more accidents, more weird calls and more fires (thanksgiving has a 400% increase!!!).
As if the increased call volume wasn’t enough, the schedules get changed up at the holidays no matter how old fashioned your department is.
Some people need time off for certain events and swaps and overtime cover the gaps. People get sick- yes the dreaded holiday colds are common among our firefighters who help strangers in their time of need.
You know what else comes with the holidays?? Crazy winter weather. Sure, everyone wants a white Christmas, until they are snowed in with an emergency. That’s where your firefighter comes in.
Even in warmer climates, weather causes a fuss. Have you seen Floridians when there is frost on the ground? It’s practically a state of emergency. And yes, they call the Fire Department because their door is frozen shut. Crazy weather also means more calls, more overtimes shifts and longer commutes.
It means that us Fire Wives end up staying at home by ourself or with the kids when the weather is bad while Firefighter runs into the station. Whose had a bad weather party by themselves? I know I have!
The good news is that other women know the struggle of the holiday season.
First things first Fire Wife, do you understand the fire service?
It’s certainly an obsession for your spouse, but do YOU understand it? I can admit, that when my new husband told me he was joining up with the fire department when we had a brand new baby I thought he was down right crazy!
We had just gone through some major life changes, and EMS was the reason that his mother was saved, so I could understand WHY. I just didn’t understand everything else about how important the fire service and our first responders are.
It’s a job that few people understand! Talk to your spouse and the others at the department. You might be surprised how life changing this career really is and how being a ‘Fire Wife’ comes with its own set of challenges.
Here’s the Plan
So what’s a spouse to do? Wether this is your first holiday season together or fifth, you learn to roll with the punches. That means that dates get changed and schedules rearranged.
Sometimes you end up going to work, city, or family events by yourself or just with the kids (and hopefully you can learn to enjoy it!). I know I’ve been there many times, the inevitable “where is your husband” questions come up. It’s only people being curious.
It means dinners late, and dinners early. And two dinners, one at home and one at the station and somehow you were convinced to help cook for both!
It also means nosy neighbors, fighting with decorations by yourself and upset feelings. Because the holidays are a special time for many people, and having to find a new groove with your firefighter can be exhausting. My family certainly didn’t understand the first few years, and neither did many of my friends. Its a completely different world if you haven’t been exposed to it before.
Unfortunately, there’s no quick fix. Your firefighter is a needed part of the team that helps other people have a fun and safe holiday. You and your firefighter CAN find a balance between work and home- even with the Christmas season craziness. You are ultimately a wife first and a fire wife second, don’t let this season be difficult.
Dear Fire Wife, Don’t get burned out by the Holiday Season
So get out the red marker, make sure your firefighter is aware of important dates and events and have fun with the crazy schedule you’ve been given. Communicate about what’s important to you and what your firefighter has in mind (because chances are they are two different things!)
The Holidays doesn’t have to be stressful- especially when you are thankful. No, it’s not like a hallmark movie, but that’s ok, because your firefighter is worth it! It’s time to celebrate what really matters and have grace on yourself because fire life holidays ARE DIFFERENT. They can be difficult too, but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the time you’ve been given.
Is Christmas Rescheduled? Check out this handy guide for rearranging things with the family here and a free printable letter from Santa here!
Firefighter couples know the Fire Life can make things hard. These tips for the Fireman and his Firefighter Wife are timeless and relevant to any marriage or intimate relationship.
Here’s one for all you Firefighter couples out there! From the Firefighter Wife, to the Firefighter girlfriend- and of course for the guys who need some straight forward direction!
Being in a relationship with a firefighter (or both of you being in a medical field/or both firefighters) comes with its own unique set of challenges.
So whats a couple to do?
Well, there a lot that both of you can do to make sure that the relationship stays intact and healthy. When you ask most people how they have a good relationship, they say things like “we truly love one another” and “ we communicate a lot”.
BOTH of those are great. But that doesn’t tell you how.
Just saying ‘communication’ doesn’t really give you a starting point. I know my husband and I struggled with this hardcore in the beginning.
Turns out, he and I have a completely different meaning of the definition of communication. So not only did we not communicate, but we thought the other person was completely wrong!
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Here’s 15 tips, habits and ways to make it work (and that will help the communication flow without being forced!) for all you firefighter couples out there!
15. Set some goals-
You need to know where you’re going in the next few years. And this isn’t one of those things where you just agree for the sake of agreeing. No. Its a real discussion, about real possibilities. Maybe you even see that the two of you aren’t on the same page, so it gives you a starting place for getting unified.
14. Prioritize the relationship-
I know this is a “duh” statement, but its also soooo important to remember. We all get caught up in things from time to time, so we need to make it a habit to prioritize the relationship. If you want some tips on how to balance your work life balance, check out this article I wrote about making it work with family and the fire life.
13. Set up a time once a week where you check in with each other-
This is another no brainer that often gets passed by. How many times have you started the week and then realized it was already Thursday or Friday?
In the hustle and bustle of life we can get caught up in the groove, only to realize we were too preoccupied with everything else.
Having a set time each week to check in can be helpful- but also hard in the fire service.
For my husband and I, we make it a priority to check in on the weekend and just have time to chat about whatever is going on in our lives. That way its not a set day, but we know that come the weekend, we’re going to catch up.
12. Practice gratitude-
Tell them why your thankful. Being thankful can have such a positive impact on a relationship. Instead of looking at everything your upset about, or wish you could change, look at what you do actually have. And your spouse will thank you too.
Sometimes (most times) they need and want someone to tell them they are doing something right. This can be a simple word of encouragement, a quick note or a surprise gift.
11. Apologize… and mean it.
No really, how many times have we said sorry just to end an argument. This is silly and petty behavior. If you are in a healthy relationship, you should be able to apologize and mean it- or put a pin in it for the two of you to come back to later.
10. Fight Fair.
Speaking of Apologizing- don’t say ‘sorry’ just to throw it back up in the other persons face. And don’t constantly bring up something that the other person has truly apologized for. Otherwise your just going around in circles about the past that can’t be changed.
Another thing- don’t fight on shift day. PLEASE.
Just don’t do it.
Our loved ones have some pretty risky jobs. They need to have their head in the game, and they need to be able to focus. If something is bad enough that it needs to come up at work, then they need to go home to deal with the problem.
9. Have good sex- and be honest about it.
Sure sure, good sex, yep, been there, checked that off my list, lets move on<<<< is that either one of you? It happens more often than you think, but people think sex is just… well, sex.
They don’t put too much effort into it, and they often times aren’t honest about it.
So lets talk about the weird, awkward position that you hate, or how there isn’t enough foreplay or how you loved the other night because it was passionate. Because a healthy sex life matters.
8. Make sure you have your own space-
Why? because it’s important for personal growth. You are still two completely different people. It is acceptable and totally normal to have your own separate hobbies and things you like to do.
Just make sure that when you are doing your own thing, that you don’t alienate your partner. Don’t go hang out with someone that flirts with you- that’s just asking for trouble.
Whats the point of communicating if it goes in one ear and out the other. Or even worse, if you’ve already made up your mind about something and will just offer advice without listening to what your significant other needs? I’ve been guilty of both of those- and its not pretty.
My husband and I both get in the habit when we are preoccupied with “Mm Hmm” or “Yep” or “That’s signs nice”
BECAUSE WE WEREN’T LISTENING. I could smack myself sometimes.
A relationship is a two way street, so put down the phone and actually engage with your partner. You will be surprised how much you actually care about what they say when you pay attention.
And don’t for a second think that your spouse can’t listen. Firefighters lives depend on their ability to follow instructions. And the wives… they can hear things from across the room, especially if its back talk. Utilize these listening skills on each other!
6. Support Change (even if your firefighter hates it!!!)
Change is the only constant in life and its bound to happen more often than you want! Change will also happen with your partner, and it’s not always favorable.
Some events can lead to a negative change and this is where you would want to have an honest conversation. Others will lead to good changes, and you want to support that.
If we hide under the covers and pretend like change doesn’t happen- it WILL bite you in the ass.
WOOOOOO. Family. The “extra baggage”. Can’t live with em and cant live with em.
One thing that you can do is change how you treat them. Going to family events just to leave sour is not pleasant for you or your spouse.
So do your best to be cordial or limit contact with toxic people. It will make your relationship that much sweeter.
Plus, once you’ve accepted that they are going to love you or hate you no matter what you do, you can be free to be yourself. Don’t let them cramp your style. Communicate with them and with your spouse about these things so you can reach a happy medium.
Most *normal* people can be reasoned with. And if you’ve got some crazy family, well then, welcome to the club!
4. Build Trust-
Yep, I went there. The old “build your trust and save your relationship” speech. It may seem cliche but its a really important part of your relationship.
Not too long ago I realized that I had a big area of my life that I didn’t trust my husband in. We’ve known each other since we were teens and have been married almost 5 years.
It really caught him off guard BUT we’ve been able to honestly and quickly move past it (and we built the trust that we ignored wasn’t there).
I was able to use some self help books to kind of get to the root of the matter. Mostly, it was how I talked and responded. This book about trust words was a good starting point for changing the way I approached trust with the way I talked.
Take a good honest look at some of the reasons behind your behaviors and you might be surprised by the lack of trust in certain areas.
3. Have realistic expectations-
Any one else set themselves up for failure because they had this grand plan in their head and instead of it turning out like an episode of MTV’s ‘Sweet Sixteen’ it was more of a ‘Redneck Wedding’?
Yeah, that used to be me.
From going out to eat to family vacations- I was royally screwing myself over by wanting the impossible (well behaved children all the time… yeah, that doesn’t exist!) If your interested in a more in depth look at expectations, check out this blog I wrote for the Fire Wife.
Basically, you need to set some realistic goals and expectations. Then make a plan to achieve them. You won’t loose 5 pounds if you keep ordering Chick-fil-a and you won’t have a neat house if you keep buying stuff everyday from Amazon.
This is another ‘piece to the puzzle’ in the adventure called life. See, when you love yourself, you can give to other people without needing any love in return, because you already feel complete.
It’s not quite that simple (you cant be in a one sided relationship) but it is useful when you have a spouse that is completely burnt out, stressed, overwhelmed, or having a bad day.
You can help them to the best of your ability, and then take care of the things you need to do, because you already have fulfillment in your life. It also allows you to not based your self worth on them, if they are frustrated with you, it doesn’t throw you to rock bottom and tank your set esteem.
Does this need explanation? Don’t let someone rent negative space in your head. Forgive and do better next time.
One of my favorite quotes is “He who angers you, conquers you”.
And, Damn, if that isn’t the truth! When you don’t forgive someone, the damage is mostly being done to yourself. Odds are they have forgotten, moved on, or strategically pissed you off just so they could ‘conquer’ you.
Forgiveness is the key to Marriage because you and your spouse aren’t perfect. I don’t even think you could be considered ‘normal’ (what’s normal anyway??) so by forgiving each other, you can love each other more.
These tips are ones that I use in my own marriage- not perfectly of course. They have helped my husband and I through the ups and downs of life, and life doesn’t have any plans to slow down (just when I feel caught up something new happens!).
Thankfully we have an arsenal of tips to fall back on.
So I want to know FireFighter Families, Do you have any useful tips for couples to survive this crazy adventure called life (especially with the fire service thrown in the mix!) Leave me a comment and let me know if you have any other great suggestions for keeping a healthy relationship with the fire life.
Maybe it’s your cat, your neighbor or a dear loved one; our first responders make the difference. So how do you say thank you for all that a first responder has done?
Firefighters do a lot. They run an amazing amount of medical calls, from lift assists to major emergencies. Then they fight fires.
Most of the time these are false alarms, but car fires and structure fires do happen (and some places get way too many fires!). Firefighters also do a lot of citizen calls, especially for our furry friends and other animals that need a helping hand.
The issue is that firefighters and other first responders aren’t supposed to accept gifts since it could be consider bribery.
They do what they do because they love their jobs, not for the flashy red truck (ok, maybe part of what they do is because they always wanted to drive a fire truck!) Firefighters don’t come to your aid because they want you to shower them with praise and throw money at them.
In Fact, around 70% of firefighters in the US are volunteers. Yep, that means over half of the firefighters that respond to emergency calls don’t make a single penny.
So maybe you just want to say thanks for being awesome and you want to teach your kids that firefighters are good people or firefighters saved you from a burning car.
Maybe you want to thank them for being there on your worst day, or you just really appreciate the work that they do.
Either way, this list is for you!
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Deliver a card
Firefighters often wonder about patients after they are done with their calls. It’s not uncommon for a firefighter to check at the local hospital on the well being of someone they rescued, but sometimes they don’t find out the whole story.
It’s a pretty natural reaction, Firefighters often see people when they are having a really bad day, sometimes this translates to PTSD- they wonder what happened or why the world works the way it does.
Delivering a card not only shows kindness to the men and women who helped, it also allows them to say hi, and to see you again. Not every story has a happy ending- thats ok too. It shouldn’t stop the family members from coming by to kindly talk- we all need the resolution that a kind word can bring in sad situations.
Kids of all ages love to see the firetrucks and have the opportunity to give the gift of kindness! Most fire stations (specifically the career ones, sometimes the volunteer ones) schedule events for the community, and can also schedule a station tour. Firefighters want kids to understand that they are their to save them and they also want to share life saving tips for the families. Who knows, you might end up bringing a card and leaving with a fire hat!
Make a donation to the station or firefighters organization in your city or county, the gift that keeps on giving.
This is one of my favorite gifts because it helps our firefighters get more equipment or whatever else they might need.
Believe it or not, some fire-station’s have so little equipment that the first responders are purchasing what they need out of their own pockets. So not only do we have lots of volunteers (close to 70% in the USA) but we also have many of them purchasing their own equipment or product to save the lives of others.
I’ll repeat that in case someone was scrolling to fast. There are first responders that frequently buy their own equipment. From tools to disposable medical equipment.
Help those that help you and give what you can. If you don’t have a lot, talk to the station and see if their is a fundraising event that you can help promote. You can also check to see how the firefighters are supported through taxes and donations and get the community involved if your station needs help. This is truly a gift that keeps on giving.
Recognize them on social media
Wether we want to admit it or maybe we wholeheartedly embrace it, social media is a big way we connect now. If a first responder made a difference in your life, share your story! Not only will the firefighters see it, but you’ll also show others how important it is to have a fully functional fire-station.
Who knows, you could have the next viral post! I love to see positive job well done posts in (what sometimes feels like) a sea of negative posts. Brighten up someones day and share good deeds when you can. It really does make a difference.
It can also do wonders for your community morale. Share it to some local community pages and let everyone see the job well done.
if you don’t use social media- write up a nice note and post it to local community boards (like the coffee shop, the library or the post office) You can also talk to the local newspaper and ask them to feature your kind words or even do an article on the awesome firefighters you have at your local station!
Bring them flowers. A plant. Plant a tree in their name.
Something is so peaceful about plants. They don’t require much but they are able to brighten up a space, without making it seem unnatural.
Firefighters would enjoy a beautiful arrangement or smaller plant. This is especially true for the receptionist at the fire station, he/she does a lot to keep the station running smoothly, and I’m sure they would appreciate flowers to brighten up their office space!
Another option is to plant a tree in their name. We have a tree that was dedicated to a war veteran in our town in the 1970’s, and as of 2018, it is a majestic oak!
I think planting trees in thanks or memoriam are a win win. They preserve nature and serve as a reminder to all those that visit. And unlike a bench, they don’t cost very much if they are planted while they are small. See if you can’t make it a community effort and dedicate a tree at the next local event where everyone can appreciate the gift.
Magazine subscription or a book
I say this one with a chuckle, most firefighters, contrary to popular belief, have very little down time. But when they do it can be nice to flip through a magazine to take their mind of the stresses of the job.
This can be a thoughtful gift to subscribe to every month, and some subscriptions offer packages of more than one magazine. A good example of a magazine could be National Geographic or Family Handyman.
Firefighters are also really good at cooking (cough cough, with exceptions).
So another great way to thank them would be with your favorite cook book! I know the guys at the station like to cook together a lot, but “taco night” can only get used so much before it gets boring!!! Do the firefighters a favor, bring them a cook book thats original yet easy, I’m sure it will get used!
I do want to say as a disclaimer though, firefighters do love their food! I know a lot of churches and organizations in our city give food to the first responders, especially on holidays.
Firefighters have to be careful when it comes to food donations because their are bad people in this world. If you really want to give the station some goodies, check with them first to find out their guidelines.
Share this post with someone that wants to recognize a firefighter! They are there when we need them, so I love to share ways we can make their day!
Firefighter wives know the truth- that this fire life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. And for some, they’re are more bad days than good days.
And as a firefighter wife, some days you are unhappy with your husband’s choice to be a firefighter.
So when times get hard, how do you stay happy?
Let me tell you a secret for being a happy firefighter wife.
What’s your Story?
Often times, we can tell if we are going to be happy by the things that have happened in the past- and the plans for the future.
When my Husband first talked about the fire service, we were already married. We had been together for years, So I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I had these dreams of spending days together when he was off, and enjoying the days by myself when he was at work. I thought it would be the perfect amount of together and alone time.
Little did I know that the fire life isn’t quite like everyone on TV portrays it to be.
Its a lot more mess (and a lot more fun) but way more lonely. And at the end of the day, while we love his job, he is so much more than a firefighter. So I knew there had to be more for me as I juggled his (sometimes insane) schedule.
So, The other shift day. It was a whirlwind for me at home with the kids. We attempted to go to target, and yes my three year old had a meltdown over the Tv screens at the back (he wanted the dog to come back on). It was now lunch time (bad planning on my part) and the Chickfila drive thru was packed and the kids were eating through a family sized bag of popcorn. So we tried another restaurant.
This one was a sit down one that was eerily empty. We waited 15 minutes before leaving (it was hibachi style and they wanted more guest to arrive). Finally, we show up at a little sandwich place, absolutely starving and my kids were complete angels! So we had this up and down morning while my husband was on a 24 hour shift, and then boom. Peaceful lunch after trying three different places. It was not my ideal day, but it worked for us.
Some shift days can be much more eventful. Back when my husband was new to his current job, we had just purchased a house. I was pregnant and staying home with our son while my husband was a few hours into his 24 hour shift. We had just laid down for a nap… And the craziest thing happen, a TREE fell on our HOUSE. I literally woke up screaming, grabbed the baby and fled the scene in my underwear at noon. Thankfully, no one was hurt, and we can look back now and laugh about it. But in the moment it felt like a really really really big deal.
So I want to talk about a little secret to enjoy this fire family, particularly enjoying being a fire wife. Because sometimes, I don’t enjoy it. This lifestyle can be a shocker to someone, especially if they never knew anyone who was a firefighter before. It was a shock for me, as my husband enrolled in Fire Standards when our son was barely three months old. From the moment our fire life adventure started, its been an adjustment.
I’m here to tell you that just because its an adjustment, doesn’t mean it cant also be enjoyable.
Do you let Murphy Win?
Have you heard of Murphy’s Law?
It talks about how, when something can go wrong, it does go wrong.
So as an example:
My Husband got a call back for mandatory overtime. That means our plans got changed (again), that means that the treasured alone time we sneak in after the kids are asleep is gone (again) and that also means that the pile of laundry is (probably) not going to get tackled for another day.
But Should I let Murphy win when the plans get changed (AGAIN!)
So you could look at it this way…
My husband got a call back for overtime. Surprise trip to grandmas! I’m going to get coffee while grandma spoils the kiddos. My husband loves his job so he’s excited to go back, and he can make some extra money while he’s at it!
So which one of those ways do you look at your fire life? Is it the day where you regret the fire life because it stole some time from you? Or is it a day where you make lemonade out of lemons and know that you’ll get more time together in the future? Sometimes it can be a combination of both days- because any honest fire wife will tell you that its happened to them, and it wasn’t always glamorous. Every one has a different definition of a bad day, and we all have different ways that we can cope with them.
Do you Enjoy Being a Fire Wife
So I want to ask you, ‘Do you enjoy being a fire wife’? I’m not talking about other parts of your life (although if you hate your job or your house it will absolutely effect the rest of your life). I’m asking if you enjoy your time as a fire wife.
Think long and hard about it. Do you actually enjoy that your husband is a firefighter?
It’s ok if you don’t.
But it is important to realize that if you don’t enjoy it, it will cause lots of tension in your relationship.
You are not forced to enjoyed it, I just want you to realize how your feelings about things effect your actions.
Are there particular things about your husband’s job that he could change? Like if the commute is too far, you could move or change jobs.
If the gear around the house is bothering you (uh cancer risk!) then you need to discuss with your firefighter about making some changes about where the gear is store.
Because if you don’t start looking at the root cause of the problem, it has more to do with how you look at things and your expectations than it has to do with the job itself.
The Secret isn’t hard
In fact, it’s pretty easy if you take the time to really look at it.
The secret to being a Happy Fire Wife is examining the way you look at things and then making the changes so that life can get better.
Simple right? In theory- but not always in application
For example, you may HATE that your spouse is a Firefighter- but he’s not willing to give up his job. So then you have to decide if you want to hold onto that Hate (and let it eat you up every day!) or work through it and try to find the positives.
This in no means suggests that you should settle for something that you don’t want, it simply means that expecting everything to go perfect on shift days and overtime only happening at the perfect time is unreasonable.
Yep. I said it. Expecting everything to go perfect on shift day is unreasonable.
You will drive yourself crazy if you think that.
The good news is that you can learn to make the most of your expectations. You can let go of these harmful beliefs that shift days (and non shift days) will be full of magazine worthy pictures, with behaved children, complete balanced meals and perfect communication with your husband. Even though we might think that going into the fire life (you can send me hate mail if you want, but you know its true!)
I think the biggest thing that keeps us from feeling happy in our lives is comparing our lives to other people. We think that firefighter wife so and so in the department never has bad days. But she does.
She might even have days that look like hurricanes compared to your april shower. We don’t know.
We also think that if we weren’t a firefighter family or if we had different jobs or a different house we would be happy. While those things can make a significant difference, the true test of happiness is how you let yourself feel.
What we do know, is that you can be the one to make YOUR life the very best it can be, and that you can absolutely enjoy being a Fire Wife.
If our husband’s have the very best job in the world- then the fire wife’s should feel the same about their life and their jobs. So take the good with the bad- seriously.
Some days will be absolutely phenomenal (yes, they DO exist! I promise) and other days will be less than we want (it’s ok if you end up eating ice cream and wine for dinner).
The joy in being a Fire Wife is making the most out of our crazy adventure called life! And once the Fire is gone (through job change or retirement) I hope that you can still be happy wherever life takes you.
Long list of firefighter movies (with family friendly options!)
Hey Fire Family!
Movies. We love em. We hate em. They make us cry, laugh and groan. Often times they are insanely inaccurate of how fire life really works. But we still watch them! Which leads me to this list. I wanted to make a list of movies so I can fall back on them whenever (especially the kids ones!) and though it would be nice to share. (since sharing is caring)
These movies are in no particular order- because how can you rate the awesomeness of some of these movies!
I tried not to list anything before 1940, because I’m not sure where you get get it at. I also did NOT LIST ANY TV SHOWS.
You can hate me for that, but they are so full of drama (and we have enough in our real lives) that I just couldn’t bare to list them. Maybe I’ll make another blog post about them one day, I’m sure more will come out, as the general public just eats them up!
So grab the popcorn, many of these can be streamed but some will require some preplanning to purchase online and have delivered.
We’ll start with the family friendly options
Commander Courage in the Fire Station
Elmo visits the Firehouse
FireMan Sam (Alien Alert and Ultimate Heroes)
Planes: Fire and rescue
Chugginton- the train show on Netflix, in later episodes one of the trains becomes a First Responder.
The Ultimate list of Movies (tv shows not included)
Fire! Trapped on the 37th floor.
Crash landing: the rescue of flight 232
The bells go down
City on Fire
False Alarms (FF)
The Towering Inferno
Only The Brave
Fire with Fire
I Now Pronounce you Chuck and Larry
Hallmark/Made for TV movies (watch for these around christmas time!)
A firefighter for christmas
The nine lives of christmas
A Firefighter Christmas
One True Love
Not in English
As the light goes out
A dangerous summer (??)
Out of inferno
Didn’t see one of your favorites listed? Leave me a comment!
I know that Netflix and Amazon are always adding new movies these days! So maybe we’ll see some more great additions to our collection of flicks.
Until then- watch the classics!
P.S. Want to know how you can help out Firefighters. Check out our LODD and Mental Health Resources here.