What Retirement Looks Like for a Fire Family

by | Everyday, Fire Family Life, For the Firefighter Making the Transition

So what happens when he’s not a firefighter anymore?

I mean, let me correct myself because recently I was quickly reminded by many that they never stop being firefighters 😉   What happens when he stops being on shift, on call, at the station, taking runs, otherwise known as retirement?

For many lucky firefighters, this comes at an age a lot younger than others retire.   In the corporate world, I’ve worked with people well into their mid to late sixties.  Same goes for teachers and doctors and many other professions.

But professions like firefighting, which take more physical wear on the body, retirement comes a little sooner.  And then what?   Especially when there are still kiddos at home and many years of life left to live to their fullest.

It’s a major life adjustment that’s for sure.   Here’s a view from one of the newest retired firefighter wives on day one of retirement.  (Let’s ask her again at day 100!)


This picture is pretty much how I feel today. I survived fire life!! Yes fellow fire wives you can survive this crazy life and live to tell the stories!

Almost 19 years with my fire fighter, 4 kids, special needs diagnosis for 3 of our kids, losing my dad to cancer, both of us in college, more surgeries than I can count between the 6 of us, on duty injuries, wildland fire assignments, a wildland fire in our “backyard” that I ended up evacuating me and the kids for, so many Christmas parties and pancake breakfasts.

It sure had it’s ups and downs but we held close to each other and made it to the other side. I don’t know if there is a wife out there that needs to hear this today or maybe this post will be found later by a struggling wife, BUT you can survive. YES it won’t always be easy but hey you found this group (the Fire Wife Sisterhood) right?? I sure wish I had found something like this years ago, I don’t think those early years would have been such a struggle!!!

So now it’s my turn to get to sit back and cheer on those younger fire wives.


Thanks for that inspirational message for the day Rhonda!

I asked Rhonda how she was feeling heading into this new world and here’s what she shared

It’s day one, it’s been a roller coaster of emotions. Excited to move on, scared of the unknown, sad that we’re leaving our “family”.  Oh and scared of life with him home EVERY SINGLE NIGHT, only a fire wife would get that LOL.   And of course he’s not fully retiring, he starts his new job Monday morning at the hospital doing IT

We’re checking back to get some tips Rhonda!   And just because he’s retired, doesn’t disqualify you from the Fire Wife Sisterhood.  We have to make up for all those years when it didn’t exist 🙂

Congratulations Ret. Captain Dan Shearer and his supportive family!

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Join us in the Sisterhood!


What Is The Fire Wife Sisterhood?

We are a community of wives, fiancees and girlfriends of Firefighters on a mission to do good in our marriage and personal lives while supporting the fire service and our firefighter’s passion for the job. We offer:

  • Online communities
  • Local Meet Ups and Events
  • Free Resources in articles, posts, videos and webinars
  • Interactive activities that keep us connected such as “Friday Faces”and our “Rescue Pack” program
  • Small group support for marriages
  • Other specialty groups such as fertility support, homeschooling, fire wife auxiliary support and more

If this interests you, sign up for a FREE level membership today!  Supporting levels also available for those who like added bonuses, benefits and special participating offers.  Learn more today!

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On a mission to be and inspire us all to be better humans, to strengthen fire families & marriages, to nurture and encourage fire wives, do "good business" in all areas of my life and of course, love on my 4 kids.

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  1. Ranae Altman

    Thanks for sharing the retirement comments. My husband retires may 1
    And we have sold
    Our home
    In Ohio and bought one in Florida. Somewhat changes. He will be
    Looking for his 20th or so part- time/ full- time
    Job there. I completely understand the home every night thing- the kids and I especially love the left over
    And getting the tv remote. Lol. I sure it will be awesome. Would love to
    Follow her story though. Encourage her to share. Thanks again!

    • Lori Mercer - WifeOnFire

      Congratulations Ranae!!! (We’re hoping to move to a warmer climate when we hit retirement too!)

  2. Amy Disney

    No one but a Fire Wife gets the home every single night thing. My hubby is on shift right now and I’m looking forward to having the bed to myself tonight. 😉

    There are many things that make this lifestyle difficult but there are also many thing that are awesome too.
    Leftover night or just plain not cooking. I do not cook a meal for just me and my two boys. They get hot dogs or raviolo or chicken nuggets.
    My husband works for our city so my boys get to have him come and do the presentation for Fire Prevention month. Course I organize with the school to make sure they schedule it on his duty day.
    My boys get loved on and special treatment by every single Fire Fighter in the Dept. If they see them at school while doing routine inspections or we run into them out in the community.
    My boys get to play on Fire Trucks all the time and occationally get to ride in parades in the Fire Trucks.
    They will in the future get the play “patient” during training sessions. Just this week the Dept did a Bus wreak drill and kids on the bus were all FF kids. Unfortunitly my boys were too young to play this time.
    I am so thankful my boys get to grow up in this “fire family” My Grandfather was a Fire Chief as was my Uncle. I currently have two cousins one a captian and one an Engineer. and am a very proud Engineer’s wife.
    But I do look forward to his retirement. We are both getting jobs at Walt Disney World.

  3. Karen Louton

    My husband has now been retired for 13 years! Ad yes it was an adjustment. I was really used to that every third day off (for me not him) I could clean house, wash clothes, meet the girls for drinks etc. etc. Now he wants to go…..to have quality time and get to know all our friends and our children again! Then he starts the projects around the house…..lets redo the bedroom, the kitchen, the dining room….13 years later we are almost finished!!!! lol Believe it or not we have survived it and even gotten to where we have enjoyed it. But trust me ladies, it takes work to adjust to it. It just so happens that my husband loves being retired. Unlike some firefighters who it drives crazy. They go by the station constantly. My husband never goes by unless someone is retiring. He said he does not want to hear someone yell “Louton alert” He says I miss the department more then he does…..and that is probably true!

    • Lori Mercer - WifeOnFire

      What an inspiration Karen! 13 years until it’s almost finished? LOL! Good to know for future planning 😉

    • Stacy

      I appreciate reading your comment Karen. My husband retired after 32 yrs in the fire service. His retirement happened 8wks in to the COVID shutdown. We have 8 year old twins who moved to virtual school. Now in the fall, kids are still at virtual school. My husband seems frustrated, stuck in many unfinished renovation projects around the house, and not sure what to do next. The adjustment to retirement has been our biggest shift in the 21 years we’ve been together.

  4. Susan Linville

    my husband retired now two years and we are living it as he said it is now our time and it is wonderful and we moved to Texas a much warmer place

  5. Cynthia

    it has been 4 years since my Captain retired, he isn’t a Happy person. I’m drilled like a rookie, and expected to answer like a report to the cheif’s office!
    I have cried my eyes out because he just keep yelling at me, I’ve been in a constant state of upset.
    He disrespects our marriage and accuses me of stealing his money( I have my own), this past Christmas he gave me a dog bone charm.
    He eats in the living room and leaves dishes in the sink for days , not one day has this been plesant! I am getting my son ready for his wedding on May 1, 2015.
    Then I’m leaving , to have my Happiness back. Sorry to say that he never planned his career would be over.

    • Shilah

      oh,my goodness, your post is sooo sad, I had to read it twice; I’m in shock to read it. So sad. Today is March 24th so it has been a few days since you posted, I dunno if you will get this Reply or not, but if you do, I hope you call the folks at Serve & Protect, even if it’s only you calling & the retired firefighter won’t, still you need support. Even if your plans don’t change, you need & deserve support in this time of your life. Serve & Protect is in support of all first responders, LE and Fire & EMS, AND their families…. 1-615 – 373 – 8000. <>

  6. Michelle

    My fire captain husband is planning to retire in 5 years and tells me all the time that I need to get ready now! By then, our youngest son will be a sophomore in college. I, too, enjoy having the remote every other day, time for lunch with the girls, goofy time with my sons, not cooking, and the bed to myself. The biggest adjustment will be living without occasional overtime pay and having to budget better because here, retirees get paid only once a month! We sincerely love each other but I do worry about having so much “togetherness”. Luckily, we each have our own interests and hobbies. More stories from retirees, please! Also, Cynthia, your story broke my heart. I hope you get some support, regardless of whatever path you choose!

  7. Leslie

    I was afraid of having my husband home all the time also, because I value my own time. I’m so happy to report that it’s been great having him home. I never knew how much I worried about him until he wasn’t having to drive so far, and when I knew he wouldn’t ever be injured on a fire-fighting job again. My stress level is down now, even though I still work, because I don’t worry about him anymore. He keeps himself very busy every day, and finds time to cook for me at night.

    Cynthia, your story is so sad, and I feel terrible for you. Please utilize every resource you can for emotional and financial well-being. You’ve worked too hard all of your life to end up being so sad. I am praying for you!

  8. Ron

    I’m a 61 year old firefighter with 37 years of paid service. I have 27 shifts left to retirement. I am ready to begone Plan B. Small businesses owner home every night. I truly expect the transition to be smooth. Most of all I want to say something to my brothers wives and to remind everyone who reads this page how important, how hard, how everything the “Firefighters Wife” life is. God Bless everyone of you and thank you for putting up with our $&@! And helping us come out the other side.

  9. Melissa

    my husband will retire dec 31st after 33 years in the fire service. He was all set to retire dec 31 2013 but was offered a promotion from a BC to a DC, which meant a lot more money. I said take it….more money now, more in retirement and it would give us a chance to get used to him being home every night and every weekend. I had become accustomed to Being alone for weeks at a time and actually enjoyed that time. He did take the promotion and he has only missed a couple of weeks at home in the past 2 years due to fires.
    We are starting to talk about where to live after retirement, where our money will go the furtherest, and making travel plans .
    I am sure there will be bumps in the road ahead, but we will take it one day at time!

  10. Rhonda

    Wow so it’s been 110 days now since retirement. We love this new life! My retired firefighter loves his new career! It’s so nice having a hubby who loves his job & enjoys going to work everyday. Yes it was an adjustment for a while but we have found our new “normal”. It was just a crazy start to 2015 with both of us starting new career paths.


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