Family comes first on our shift.
-My awesome husband.
This may or may not sound right to you.
Are you in shock? Are you shaking your head like it’s a crock of bull because “that isn’t how my husband’s department is”? Are you a firefighter and thinking that’s just plain crazy because “my job comes first”? If you’re lucky, you’re saying… yep…that’s awesome, that’s how we roll too! I would hope it’s the last option, even though I know that it likely is one of the first few…
To be honest, that is sad. <— solely the opinion of me and me only. The fire service harps on the brotherhood, you would think ALL family is important. Even the brotherhood isn't thriving like I would expect. For 7 years I've wondered if it really even exists… I know now that it does. It really saddens me to hear how some departments are within the department, much less with families.
I love my hometown department. My husband has been a volunteer with them since 2006, then went on part-time status for a while a few years ago and at the end of 2012, he went full-time on the best shift they've probably ever had. Again, solely my fire wife, uneducated, opinionated opinion. There may be several things that I do not like going on with things over the department, but for the most part, my husband's shift is my ideal. I like everyone on his shift. The Captain. The Lieutenant. The other two firefighters. They are all married, they all have children, they all love their family and they all have family visit them fairly regularly at the station. It's not a huge deal for kids to be running around, being loud and silly. They play with the kids. They treat each other… like family. They razz each other. Prank each other. Have meals with each other. Recently my husband had a birthday and I pretty much fell in love when they surprised him. I don't think outside of blood family, anyone has ever done anything like that for him. He deserved it, like they all do, and he was surely surprised. Family comes first and they are each others family too. I have no doubt of their capabilities in having each other's backs, they'd bend over backwards to protect each other in and out of a fire. If I needed him to come home, right now, for any reason… it would be no big deal. Family comes first.
Family also knows when it's time to be first and when it's time to let your firefighter do his (or her) job. I know what is worth of calling him home for. I think in 7 years I've had him come home twice. Once was because I had a major water issue and the other I really needed a mental health day, seriously. In 7 years, twice. We know when it is appropriate to visit the station, how long to stay and what we do while we're there. We know that the station is their HOME away from home, other people live there and we know to respect that too. To us it is a station, to them, it's a house. Family has to know when they come first, they don't demand it for unnecessary reasons. Don't be that family, be the family they need you to be.
What is your department like?