Housewives of the LAFD: What Did I Sign Up For?

March 31, 2019

Disclaimer: I do not speak on behalf of any firefighter, fire department or fire family member, but that of an honest housewife of a firefighter/paramedic with 19 years seniority. I’m overjoyed to see the recent hiring of so many new recruits and the Department finally meeting the critical need for staffing. It is wonderful to see our fire family growing, along with the increases in resources and social media outlets for us to have a voice.

Guess what? I have yet to find a fire wives’ handbook. Many times I’ve cried, “What did I sign up for?” All I know was that this was my husband’s dream, and I chose to live it with him. Through the years I have learned to juggle it alone on his working days, and with great pride I can say I have survived the kids’ busy schedule of school, sports, and ER visits. I have managed to attend to household emergencies, such as replacing a water heater and shutting off the main water line due to a water leak. I’ve also dealt with the car problems, like a dead battery as I attempted to head out to pick up the kids from school, and I have also attended to a broken transmission on our way to a soccer game.

Yup, and I even brew my own coffee—the kids also know it’s an emergency if mom does not have her coffee. On my husband’s day off, I am spoiled and am very lucky to get my coffee served in bed.

Personally, I have struggled to make fire life fit into the Monday through Friday, 9 to 5 world of the kids’ schedules and extended family events. Holidays and dinners without dad at the table are particularly hard. I am always asked at gatherings why it is so hard for him to attend if he only works ten days out of the month. I find it almost impossible to explain his schedule to someone that works a regular work week. People outside the fire family just don’t understand.

Here are some ideas that may help soften your load if an emergency arises while your spouse is at work. Know where and how to shut off all utilities and have quick access to important phone numbers, such as the fire station’s business phone number or a close neighbor. In an event of a natural disaster, such as an earthquake, have a plan to be on your own for days. Have enough supplies, such as food, water, flashlights, and batteries to make it through the time alone. Lastly, don’t forget to always have a little cash on hand and your AAA card in your possession.

It’s important to find support and connect with other fire wives. (This applies to other spouses and significant others, too.) If possible, connect with other fire family couples. It may help you and your spouse stay and feel connected to the job/station. Make opportunities to visit the station while they are working 48, 72, or more hours. Something about the visit is always so re-energizing for the kids, myself, and my husband. Being a fire wife/spouse is not for the faint of heart. Wear your title as a badge of honor! One connection is through Instagram @housewivesoflafd.

I cannot stress enough with all that you are juggling to make sure to invest time taking care of you and to find a positive outlet. Most important, make sure you make time alone with your firefighter!

Keep the flame alive!
G. Lopez
Housewives of the LAFD

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