Families and marriages are under stress in the fire service. Many departments are stepping up to offer behavioral services through their Employee Assistance Programs, but many times it is too late.
When surrounded by supportive resources, marriages thrive. Although statistical numbers vary, they all show an increase in the effectiveness of receiving help, especially early on prior to relationship issues becoming insurmountable.
One goal as a department is to develop a strong family support network from the beginning. By doing this, families have access to have the right resources for the small stuff, before it turns into the big stuff. Sometimes an understanding ear and a different perspective will help a couple through the little things before they pile up into damaging conversations, spilling over into the firefighter’s job.
Personally, our family struggled to make the fire life fit into the Monday through Friday, 9-5 world the kind-hearted friends from church, school, the neighborhood, and even extended family were a part of. Having another fire family to receive support and have fellowship with fills the void that comes with being a part of the fire life.
Healthy marriages and supportive families also keep your firefighters focused on the job, not on issues at home. A fire department who supports those families is one who is appreciated, not resented, for all the time away from family and loved ones a firefighter spends while working.
FirefighterWife is on a mission with 247Commitment.org to honor, strengthen and support marriage and family for first responders and the best way for us to do that is when you share these resources in your department.
A Chief or Officer who understands the stress of the fire life, is a well loved chief by his crew and their families.