A line of duty death is when a firefighter’s emergency response duties, including things like fire calls, emergency medical calls, hazmat incidents, natural disasters, training activities, technical and search and rescues, etc., result in their death. A line of duty death can also be considered a deadly heart attack or stroke that happens up to 24 hours after the emergency incident or training activity.
Being a firefighter is a dangerous job. They risk their lives every time they respond to the bells.
We all know what it feels like to go from laughing one minute to holding back tears the next. Firefighters deal with more life and death situations on a daily basis than most other people. Fire wives, in turn, are exposed to much more life and death than their colleagues outside of the fire life.
We may sometimes feel as if we were in a bubble while business went on as usual around us. Emotional roller coasters are well-known and frequent in the fire life. The heartbreak can be felt throughout the compassionate hearts of the Fire Wife Sisterhood whenever a Line of Duty Death (LODD) happens.
We all have thought – What if it happened to us?
There is no denying that every time a LODD happens, we ask ourselves this very question. The possibility of death is a natural to reflect on in this line of work and life.
What must the widow be feeling and going through? How on earth will she be able to plan the funeral, let alone attend it?
Running these questions and so many more through our heads for the days and weeks that follow a LODD can be emotionally straining and physically exhausting. It is important to recognize how LODDs affect you, even when you are putting on a strong face for your husband and kids. Set aside some time for yourself to grieve over what has happened, and what your emotions have gone through. Cry. Talk with your friends. Lean on the Fire Wife Sisterhood for support from those who are also feeling the pain. Let out as much as you need to, then pray for the strength to go on and live each best day you have fully and with an open heart.
Love your firefighter with everything you have, at every chance you have. Be thankful for all the times, good and bad, you have together.