Fire Wife Wisdom {On Duty Communication Plan}

by | Communication, Everyday, Firefighter Marriage


Do you have a plan about how and when you contact your firefighter?  We often get the question, “I have a problem (insert a long list of possible issues from mild to important ), should I call my firefighter, or wait until he gets off duty?”


“I have this problem, should I call my firefighter, or wait until he gets off duty?”

The problem could be anything from something minor to something major.  I think it’s a given that emergencies are a green light to call, even if you have to call the firehouse to reach them.  Other problems might be interpreted differently, that is why you both need to sit down and come up with an on duty communication plan.

  • Is it ok to text at any given time?
  • What about calling? When is it acceptable to call the firehouse phone?
  • What constitutes an “emergency” for us?
  • What if there is a problem and your firefighter can’t be reached?
  • Would the best plan be for him to call you with a goodnight call at a certain time if possible?
  • I’m having a terrible day and just want to hear your voice,  is that ok?

This will look different for some of you since communicating while on duty varies so much by couple preference,  location and even department policies. 

Having a plan eliminates fights because it sets expectations.  Discussing what is ok to call about will vary couple to couple, there are no right and wrong answers so don’t compare your communication plan to someone else’s.  We can’t set a standard for you but we can share how we handle things. Shift schedule, call/text volume, station policies and other factors have to be taken into consideration.

I personally don’t normally call my husband at work unless I need an immediate response, but I do text freely. I know my husband is ok with that and he will respond later if he is unavailable at the time.  If something breaks that I can’t fix and it needs immediate attention, I call him or the station phone.  Luckily he’s never been on a call during an emergency type situation… yet, but it’s good to have a backup plan for that also.  Build a list of people to call in case of vehicle trouble, plumbing, electric or other professional services you may need.



Firefighters: have this conversation with your spouses! Be clear about what you would like to be notified of while on duty, and what you think could wait until you are home.  Having set and clear expectations from both sides is really the best game plan when it comes to all communication.

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Jessie -

Just a small town girl married to a firefighter since 2008, but she's so much more than a Fire Wife. She's been a member of the FirefighterWife family since 2012 and knows marriage takes a lot of work, even when it's in the best seasons.


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