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  • Fiance worried constantly

    My Fiance just came and told me that she worries about me when I go out on a call. She worries so bad she doesn't sleep and her life basicially just stops. Is there anything I can do to help her? I know she's worried only because she loves me and I love her and I don't know how I got so lucky, but hearing this it breaks my heart. She knows I have to do this, she just can't stand the thought of loosing me. Is there anyway I can help her? Any wives out there that can help me?

  • #2
    My wife was like that when we first married, especially before we had our first child and she was home alone when I had runs. At first she listened to the scanner until I got back, then got where she'd drift off while listening, and now she doesn't even wake up to the pager sometimes.

    She'll get used to it, especially by learning to differentiate between high-danger scenes and low(er)-danger scenes.
    “I am more than just a serious basketball fan. I am a life-long addict. I was addicted from birth, in fact, because I was born in Kentucky.”
    ― Hunter S. Thompson


    • #3
      It sounds like she is new to the Fire service and pictures every call as something out of Backdraft. We all know that's not usually the case. Take the time to explain 1) that most calls are not life-threatening. 2) For those that could be, that's why you take all those fire classes and training.

      Finally, if you have the ability, show her how to listen to the calls on the scanner and explain what she is hearing. It may help reinforce the points above. Be careful with that though, she'll know when you go available from a call and you'd damn well better be home 5 minutes later! No hanging out gabbing with your friends!
      So you call this your free country
      Tell me why it costs so much to live


      • #4
        Originally posted by voyager9 View Post
        Be careful with that though, she'll know when you go available from a call and you'd damn well better be home 5 minutes later! No hanging out gabbing with your friends!
        "But honey, we had to clean the trucks, and service the scba, and blah blah blah"..... plenty of excuses to come up with.

        She will get used to it after time. As long as she doesn't start bugging you about quitting and such, everything should work out with time.


        • #5
          Here is a great excerpt from Chief Lepore's book on the topic. Plus I highly recommend the book.
          Originally posted by BCLepore View Post
          Here is an article that my wife wrote. I think you will enjoy it.....

          Firefighting: A Wife’s Perspective
          By Marian Lepore
          From the beginning of our relationship, I knew this would be different. We
          could only see each other on red and green days and I could only call him at
          work after 9 a.m. or before 9 p.m. and never at mealtime. No one warned me
          what it would be like to date a firefighter.

          After I met his family, I was introduced to his firefighter family – the three
          crewmembers he spent ten 24-hour shifts with each month. They knew
          everything about me. I came to realize that I would have to be willing to share
          him with his coworkers, both on and off duty.

          It didn’t take long for me to learn the peculiarities of fire department
          etiquette. When I visited the fire station for the first time, I had to bring a pie.
          In fact, whenever a firefighter does something for the first time, whether it’s
          buying a house, being mentioned in the news, or having a child, he or she
          must bring ice cream for the crew.

          On birthdays, firefighters bring in their own cake. When they get promoted
          or reassigned to a new station, they cook their own farewell meal for their
          coworkers. It became evident to me that firefighters are more comfortable
          serving others than being served.

          When we became more serious in our relationship and eventually married,
          the church and reception hall were filled with firefighters and their families.
          The happiness of one was celebrated joyously with the rest (of course, after
          all the jokes of bringing running shoes for the groom). The birth of children,
          purchase of a home, or completion of a college degree is all celebrated as if
          it were close family members achieving these successes.

          I could see that firefighters are bonded in a special way. They spend 24
          hours at a time together, which is much more time than most family members
          spend with each other. They work together for a single purpose, whether it’s
          to save a life, put out the flames in a burning building, or educate children
          in fire safety. They must be willing to risk their lives for each other without

          Firefighters take care of each other. If one is going through a divorce, tives
          he or she is counseled, supported and encouraged. If another is having
          difficulties with a rebellious teenager, many others can offer advice from their
          own experiences as parents. When a firefighter is trying to promote, he or
          she may carefully choose the next station assignment knowing that a certain
          crewmember will help with oral interviews or fire simulator problems.

          When I first started dating my husband, I couldn’t believe that a 23-year-old
          could own a home. He later explained that when he first started on the fire
          department, an older firefighter sat down with him and educated him on the
          importance of saving for and purchasing a home. He also taught him about
          deferred compensation and how important it is to maximize his contributions
          from the very beginning. Thanks to the wisdom and caring of this older
          firefighter and the magic of compounded interest for investments, my husband
          and I both maximized our retirement savings (his deferred comp, my 401K)
          and we will retire comfortably.

          My husband has carried on this tradition of helping new recruits by educating
          them on financial investments and deferred compensation. Firefighters look
          out for each other in every way.

          Everything in the fire service is done in a big way. The Long Beach Fire
          Department has the biggest grill I have ever seen. It is built on wheels and is
          towed behind a truck. I would have thought it was ridiculous if I hadn’t seen
          that every spot on the grill was being used. This grill is used for graduation
          ceremonies, department picnics, fund-raisers and all types of community
          events. Only a firefighter could have dreamed up that grill!

          When a firefighter cooks, he or she cooks in a big way. It doesn’t seem
          to matter if it is a large station with several engine companies and rigs, or a
          station with a single engine company and a crew of four. There are always at
          least two refrigerators at the station to hold all the leftovers. When my husband
          is at home, he carries on the tradition and cooks enough to feed an army. I
          also have two refrigerators in my home.

          Maybe firefighters are just trained to think in a big way. But along with big
          ladders and big trucks come big responsibilities. When I was dating my future husband, I was a student in the physical therapy program at California State University, Long Beach. I was taking anatomy and physiology classes and was interested in the medical side of his job. He was still a paramedic at that time and had not yet promoted to captain. He suggested that I ride along with him to see what he did. The television
          show ER didn’t hold a candle to the real life drama I witnessed.

          It was pretty slow (he thought) and I accompanied him on calls responding
          to SOB (shortness of breath) and a drug overdose. We were just sitting down
          to an elaborate Mexican dinner, when another call came in. It was reported as
          a man down, gunshots heard. The crew responded immediately to the call.
          When the paramedic rig and the fire engine arrived, there was a large,
          angry crowd gathered. The police had not yet arrived, so it was not known
          whether the assailant was still present in the crowd or had left. The victim was
          not even visible through the crowd. The captain, who always looks out for his
          crew, ensured that the police arrived to control the crowd and clear the area.
          The victim was a teenage boy with a gunshot wound to the chest.
          He was hooked up to an EKG machine, given an IV for fluid and other
          medications and the bleeding controlled as well as possible in the field. They
          kept in constant communication with doctors in the ER, so the medical staff
          could give further instructions and was fully prepared for him when he arrived.
          Every crewmember was needed, whether it was to take vital signs, control
          bleeding, administer medication, fetch equipment, use the radio, or interview
          family members. I was in awe of how efficiently this team could work, with a
          critical victim in the field, poor lighting, a large, noisy crowd and possibly an
          assailant who did not want this victim to survive.

          The victim was rapidly transported to the ER, where the paramedic team
          was integrated into the hospital’s response and they worked together to try
          to save this boy’s life. Within minutes his chest was cracked open and there
          was the largest pool of blood I could imagine beneath the gurney. Even with
          CPR, repeated administration of cardiac medications, defibrillation, IV fluids,
          intubation and other intensive efforts, they could not save his life. The bullet
          had nicked his aorta and he had lost too much blood.

          His family was in the waiting room. His mother became hysterical and his
          brother vowed revenge for this gang-related shooting. The crew returned to the
          station to finish dinner and prepare for the next call. This experience will remain
          vivid in my memory for the rest of my life. For the crew, it was just another day
          on the job. They felt compassion for the victim and his family, but they could
          not be overwhelmed by it, or they would not be able to continue working.
          Along with the intensity of responding to critical emergencies and the
          danger of entering burning buildings, there can be unexpected dangers. In
          1992, after the verdict in the Rodney King beating was announced, Los Angeles
          County went crazy. There was rioting throughout the streets. People were
          burning down buildings, beating total strangers and looting stores. It was out
          of control.

          People were so angry that they were shooting at anyone in authority,
          including firefighters. As if the job were not dangerous enough! There was
          one incident that my husband only told me about years later and it was only
          after a coworker casually referred to it. A call came into the station that a strip
          mall was on fire. Due to reports of firefighters being shot at and threatened by
          crowds, they were supposed to wait for the police to show up and accompany
          them to the scene. The police were busy elsewhere, as you can imagine, so
          the fire department responded anyway. Just as they were finishing, they were
          shot at and had to take cover behind the fire truck. They managed to get into
          the truck safely and quickly left the scene. As they left, they could see the
          arsonists leaving their hiding place to prepare to burn the buildings again.
          The Los Angeles riots put the fire service to the test.
          Sure enough, shortly after returning to the station they were called out
          again to the strip mall. This time they put on their flak jackets and waited for
          the police to accompany them on the call. They put out the fire in what was
          left of the mall. That was the longest night of my life and I didn’t even know
          how truly bad it was until later.
          Spouses of firefighters also support each other. Whether it is by getting
          together for Bunco monthly, taking care of each other’s kids, or just chatting
          over a cup of coffee, it is important to share any concerns with others who
          understand. Marriage can be challenging enough for couples who work
          Monday through Friday from nine to five. Add the stress of dealing with an
          always changing work schedule, a dangerous environment and the need to
          be completely self-sufficient, and it can be disastrous for a marriage. The best
          way to cope is to maintain your sense of humor.

          Humor and laughter is an integral part of fire station life. My husband brings
          home stories of outrageous deeds and unbelievable wit nearly every shift. If
          late night talk show hosts need new material or writers, they could do no better
          than some of the creative minds on the fire department. Especially funny
          stories of practical jokes or extreme composure after being water-dropped
          become urban legends.

          When I was dating my husband and planning to visit him at the fire station
          for the first time, he warned me to look up before I entered the station. He
          said that sometimes first-time visitors were water-dropped when they entered
          the station house. I had no idea what he was talking about. These were
          adults. He must be joking. Well, I was lucky that my ignorance did not get me
          into trouble. I remained dry throughout that first visit. It was only later that I
          realized he was not joking.

          I realized immediately that it is not only the firefighters who have to have a
          good sense of humor. During our wedding ceremony, our exchange of vows
          was delayed by several minutes as the blaring of a siren just outside the church
          doors drowned out the minister’s words. Later at the reception, one of the
          layers of cake looked odd to me. When I investigated, I found the inside of
          the cake had been hollowed out, filled with paper towels and then recovered
          with frosting. When I turned to my new husband in shock, he just shrugged
          as if to say, “Of course they cored the cake.”
          The practical jokes continued at home. Our children learned the hard way
          that they had to learn to laugh in the face of disaster. Of course, a child’s idea
          of disaster is not exactly the same as an adult’s. When our oldest daughter
          was in elementary school, she worked hard to complete a ‘book float,’ which
          is a visual book report built on the top of a shoebox. Her book float was
          elaborate, with trees made of broccoli tops glued to the shoebox. When she
          was getting ready to go to school the next morning, she found that all of her
          ‘trees’ had been chopped down! Her father had eaten the tops of the broccoli
          that morning before he left for work. He thought it was a hilarious joke. She
          did not feel that way. After many tears and an emergency session with a glue
          gun, she finally began to see the humor in the situation.

          Our youngest daughter found that she had to be on guard at all times. One
          day when she was watching her favorite TV show, she became frantic because
          the TV kept changing channels all by itself. Her father finally confessed that
          he was using the master remote control from a distance. Now I find that I
          am the one who needs to stay on her toes in our house. Our children have
          learned the hard way to give as well as they got.

          Without a sense of humor, a ready joke and the ability to see the bright side
          of things, the tragedy firefighters encounter every shift would soon overwhelm
          them. It is a coping mechanism to help deal with the seriousness of the job.
          If a firefighter candidate cannot laugh easily and often at him or herself, the
          candidate will either not succeed, or will not be happy on the job. He or she
          will never understand the culture of the fire service.

          After my husband was in a terrible head-on collision between the engine
          he was on and a police cruiser, he was out of work for several months. He
          fought to return to work full duty. I think the fire service must be one of the
          only professions in which its members enjoy the job so much they will not
          consider an alternative.

          My husband shows up at the station 45 minutes before the start of his
          shift, just in case he can take a call for the captain coming off duty and allow
          him to leave work on time. When my husband is going off duty, he stays to
          share a cup of coffee and some laughs with the oncoming crew. I know of no
          other profession in which its members are not in a hurry to leave after their
          shift is over.
          So why do so many people dream of becoming firefighters?
          The fire department schedule is one of the biggest draws to the job. There
          is no other job in which you can work only ten days a month, with either six or
          four days off at a time. The problem is that when my husband wants to go on
          vacation, he doesn’t understand that I can’t match his schedule and just take off
          four or six days at a time. At least I know his schedule a year in advance!
          Because their schedules are so different from everyone else’s, firefighters
          like to vacation together. It is common to see large groups of firefighter families
          on vacation in Hawaii, Baja, or Lake Havasu. It’s also convenient to share the
          childcare duties with other parents.

          Firefighters generally enjoy their work schedule, but it can be hard on a
          family and marriage. Spouses must be self-sufficient and prepared to take
          care of crises on their own. If a firefighter’s child is sick, he or she cannot just
          leave the station to pick up the child from school. It is critical that the firefighter
          remain at work to keep the station fully staffed for emergencies. If a firefighter
          goes home, it must be for a serious injury or illness.

          The firefighter schedule can also be inconvenient on holidays. Most people
          are used to spending holidays with their family. Firefighters don’t have a choice.
          If they are scheduled to work on a holiday, they work. Unless they are going out
          of town, they do not request the day off. Everyone would love to have holidays
          off to spend with his or her family, but someone must work. If they were to call
          in sick and no one was signed up to work overtime, another firefighter would
          be force hired and pulled out of a family gathering. A firefighter spouse must
          be flexible enough to be prepared to cook and entertain all by him or herself
          at a moment’s notice.

          It is expected that the younger firefighters without families offer to work on
          major holidays. As they get older and have their own families, the favor will
          be repaid by the next generation of firefighters.

          When a firefighter is scheduled to work on a major holiday, the family
          members are often invited into the station for a holiday meal. The crew will
          go all out and prepare a lavish feast. Sometimes the family members end up
          eating all by themselves as the crew is called out on an emergency. The kids
          don’t mind. They feel that the more time in the station, the better. Again, it
          just goes with the job.
          Because they work a set schedule regardless of holidays, firefighters get
          time off which includes both vacation and holidays. When they take time off, it
          is usually for several weeks at a time. I have found that having your husband
          on vacation can be worse than having your kids out of school for the summer.
          A firefighter with too much time on his hands can get into much more trouble
          than your kids.

          Firefighters are generally do-it-yourselfers. This is why you will often
          see them in Home Depot. They are mechanically inclined and are used to
          improvising to solve problems quickly. You may come home from work one
          day and find that you have a new laundry chute or the washing machine is
          being rebuilt. If you are someone who likes things done a certain way, then
          for the sake of marital harmony, I suggest you call a professional out to build,
          repair, or replace whatever it is before your husband’s next vacation, four or
          six day.

          Most of us go on vacation to get away from our jobs. When my husband
          is on vacation, he seeks out fire stations. I have gotten used to losing my
          husband for a few hours during a vacation while he rides along with the local
          fire department. Of course he is hoping to go on a really ‘good’ call (which to
          the rest of us means ‘bad’).

          My husband has T-shirts from fire departments in Alaska, Illinois, Louisiana,
          Nevada, Texas, Washington, Washington, D.C., Utah and many more. I’m
          almost embarrassed to say that I even visited a fire station on my own when I
          recently went to New York City. When my husband sees someone wearing a
          fire department T-shirt, he will always ask that person if he or she is on the job.
          There is an instant bond between them, to the point that two total strangers
          can joke and tease each other about their respective departments.
          Another advantage about the fire department is the benefits. There are
          usually many options for medical and dental plans, so you can pick the plan
          that is right for you whether you are single or married with a family. The credit
          union can’t be beat. They give personalized service and actually know your
          name when you call.

          One of the biggest benefits is the retirement package. It is negotiated
          as part of the firefighters’ contract. Unfortunately, the life expectancy of a
          firefighter after retirement is not as long as that of a person who has not been
          exposed to smoke, chemicals, stress, blood, injury and interrupted sleep for
          their entire professional career.

          Depending on their age when they were hired, firefighters usually retire in
          their fifties. However, they will not be bored after retirement. Most firefighters
          have hobbies which take up a great deal of their time, such as skiing, fishing,
          boating, fishing, traveling, fishing, or biking. When I was dating my future
          husband, he said he liked to fish. I was thinking that in Southern California,
          it’s only fishing season in the summer. No big deal, maybe I would even go
          with him sometimes. It was only later that I realized that it is always fishing
          season somewhere in the world. I should have been forewarned when he had
          to check his fishing tide book before committing to a wedding date.
          Every firefighter has a side business. This business is not reserved
          for after retirement. They conduct this business throughout their fire
          service career. Since they work only ten days a month, there is plenty of
          time off to do carpentry, plumbing, concrete, tile setting, painting, roofing,
          CPR instruction, writing, or manage whatever business they have invested
          in. The advantage to other firefighters (and their wives) is that whenever
          something needs to be fixed at home, there is always a firefighter with
          the skills to do it. Forget paying full price to a plumber, electrician, or
          drywaller! By trading skills and services, most firefighters are able to remodel
          and upgrade their homes.

          Firefighters earn a good salary and are rarely ever laid off. Overtime
          shifts also help immensely. However, I don’t know if you can truly compensate
          someone for the long-term effects of a chemical fire, or the emotional
          scars from being first on scene at a horrendous child abuse incident. Firefighters
          seldom talk about the really terrible things they witness, but we all know
          we can count on them when we’re in trouble.

          People love firefighters. Children and even some adults wave at them
          as they drive by on their big trucks. When others accompany a firefighter,
          even off duty, the benefits often extend to them. After the Southern
          California wildfires, Disneyland in Anaheim was offering free admission for
          firefighters and their families as a thank you. We invited our neighbors to
          go with us. I am a physical therapist, my neighbor is a teacher and her
          husband is a computer consultant. None of us has ever been admitted toerspectives
          an amusement park for free just because of our profession. Firefighters,
          however, are universally loved, appreciated and welcomed.
          It may seem to outside observers that firefighters all look similar: tall,
          lean, dark hair and a moustache. Well, departments have changed over
          the years as they seek greater diversity, skills and strengths. They try to
          hire firefighters who can relate to and speak the languages of the people in
          the community. They hire female firefighters who can contribute their abilities
          and perspective to the department. They even hired my husband despite
          the fact that he cannot grow a decent moustache.

          Maybe one reason that firefighters seem so alike is that they have the
          same attitudes. They are honest, brave (you wouldn’t catch me running
          into a burning building) and exceedingly generous with their time and talents.
          When they take the time to tutor children, fix up a dilapidated house in
          the neighborhood, or collect and hand out Christmas gifts to disadvantaged
          children, it is all on their own time. Their spirit of public service is an example
          that should humble the rest of us. I can’t resent the time my husband
          takes to help others, because it is part of who he is. Our youngest daughter
          had a wonderful time one Christmas when she was able to help hand out
          donated gifts and ride with Santa in his sleigh atop a fire truck.
          I have wondered how the fire department manages to hire so many
          people with the same attitudes. I guess it is because they know what they
          are looking for. The selflessness and willingness to sacrifice can’t be taught.
          It must be an integral part of their makeup. When a firefighter or family member
          is seriously ill, others will line up to cover his or her shifts with no expectation
          of being repaid for their time.

          As a spouse, I will never understand my husband’s excitement when he
          is called on to spend days fighting a raging wildfire, or enthusiastically
          describes in vivid detail the fire that ripped through the chemical warehouse.
          But his coworkers understand. They will always be there for him, working
          towards the same goal and watching his back. I count on them to do that.
          The fire service is a very large, caring, fun-loving family, of which I am proud
          to be an extended member. I know that even if my husband is lost at sea during
          one of his many Baja fishing trips, or something unthinkable happens during
          one of his calls at work, my children and I will always be taken care of.

          Paul Lepore
          Division Chief


          • #6

            Is it necessary to go out on a call? I think if it is necessary, you can try to reduce to go out on a call. You can pick up the call at the face of your fiance.
            Ms. Mandy Lu



            • #7
              Thank you guys. I'll try to teach her how to listen to the scanner. It was her birthday last night. I got her a cake, some rare coke bottles (she collects that kind of stuff) and a necklace.


              • #8
                Originally posted by Thunderbuck View Post
                Thank you guys. I'll try to teach her how to listen to the scanner. It was her birthday last night. I got her a cake, some rare coke bottles (she collects that kind of stuff) and a necklace.
                Get rid of the scanner when you are not at home. Don't teach her to listen to it.

                I had one and the wife said she kept it off as she didn't want to hear all the crap that is on it nor did she have time too!


                • #9
                  Figure out how much of a life insurance windfall would get her thinking. Then buy 80% of that amount with her as a beneficiary. Then she will be of "no opinion". After you marry her.

                  If you're not married to her obviously none of this is a relevant issue.


                  • #10
                    Would she be up all night worrying if you were a logger, a truck driver or drove a taxi? All are statistically more dangerous.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by fire extinguisher 12 View Post
                      Is it necessary to go out on a call? I think if it is necessary, you can try to reduce to go out on a call. You can pick up the call at the face of your fiance.
                      “I am more than just a serious basketball fan. I am a life-long addict. I was addicted from birth, in fact, because I was born in Kentucky.”
                      ― Hunter S. Thompson


                      • #12
                        It's normal for them to feel like that, it'll go away after high school.
                        ‎"I was always taught..." Four words impacting fire service education in the most negative of ways. -Bill Carey


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Thunderbuck View Post
                          My Fiance just came and told me that she worries about me when I go out on a call. She worries so bad she doesn't sleep and her life basicially just stops. Is there anything I can do to help her? I know she's worried only because she loves me and I love her and I don't know how I got so lucky, but hearing this it breaks my heart. She knows I have to do this, she just can't stand the thought of loosing me. Is there anyway I can help her? Any wives out there that can help me?
                          Yes.....tell her to hit the road.
                          cell #901-494-9437

                          Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

                          "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.

                          Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.


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