Occasionally I’ll hear from people that we don’t post enough relevant to volunteer firefighters on our site. Well first, let me start with this. Firefighters come in all shapes and sizes. Retired, Volunteer, Paid on call, federal, wildland, urban, rural, airport, male, female, moms, dads, gay, straight, officer, probie…. It’s tough to serve all types with every post and article and graphic. But there are a few things every firefighter has in common and that the ones who love them experience
- They all agreed to put their life on the line in some way in order to save others and protect property
- They all see tragedy to varying degrees through their years
- They all must train the same way. Fire doesn’t discriminate.
- I don’t know a single FF that doesn’t put in long hours on odd schedules.
- You can almost pick a FF out of a crowd in public. Sure the stickers on the cars are one giveaway. But there is instantly a connection. They “know” what this life takes.
This is why we never on this site debate the most ridiculous question ever posted on social media (and sadly thrown in people’s faces in real life).
“Are volunteer firefighters “real” firefighters?”
Whatever. Don’t even go there. My answer is the above list. Anyone who knows that list, whether paid or not for what they do, is a “real” firefighter.
But I have to be fair and say that maybe I’m a little extra relatable for career firefighters on shift work since this is what my husband does. Please know that the point is not lost on us here at FirefighterWife.com that 70% of firefighters in the US are volunteer. And a very large percentage of our membership community is married to a volunteer firefighter. Oh, and that most every career firefighter that I know, seems to serve also in a volunteer capacity at a local fire department.
Volunteers hold a special place in my heart, starting way back to my youth when I can remember my great uncle and cousins responding to the scanner in the middle of the night and tip toeing around all us kids were sleeping on the blankets on the floor when we went to visit. I remember my aunt’s efforts in putting together their fire department auxiliary cook book. And I’ll never forget the magnificent procession of fire trucks and the last call at my great uncle’s funeral. He had been chief of his volunteer fire department for countless years.
I was not yet married to a firefighter (nor even considering it a possibilty) when the fire family culture first touched my heart. So when the NVFC approached me about creating a resource guide for families of volunteer firefighters I jumped at the chance. Especially after hearing the struggles and challenges faced by volunteer families in our Fire Wife Sisterhood community. These ladies were earning mega gold stars for the erratic, unpredictable schedules and long hours away. On top of their husbands working “regular jobs” to provide for their family. The Volunteer Fire Family Resource Guide is free for anyone via the form below. In it you will find….
- Understanding the “new normal” for new volunteer families
- How to keep your relationship strong
- Physical and Mental Fitness
- Being a part of your fire department family
- Lists of free resources available to volunteer firefighters and their families
A big shout out to the volunteer fire families who contributed to this guide: Joe and Sarah Riviera, Sabrina Henson, Robyn Sweet, Lisa Joslin and Candace McDonald.
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