Straight from the heart of a career firefighter’s spouse

My husband and I met fifteen years ago and he is now a SSO with decades of experience behind him.

Here’s what it’s like to be married to a firefighter. Honestly. It’s hard.

The impact on the organization we know as FENZ has had life changing detrimental effects on not only our relationship but also our family life. I don’t even know where to start.

It’s the nonstop overtime. Constant texts day and night, red alerts. Trucks are off the run, they’re desperate. Suddenly family life takes a back seat.

I’ve had to cancel or change plans more times that I can remember. Hundreds of times over the years. It creates animosity and resentment. Days with family and friends creating memories gone.

It started off as an overtime here and there to literally having to do at least 2 OTs per week to keep trucks on the run. My husband takes it on his shoulders, it should never ever be this way. I tell him he can say no, but he feels a responsibility as a dedicated firefighter.

He is beyond exhausted and disillusioned in a job he once loved. It’s heart-breaking to see him this way.

It’s a double edged sword, without the overtime we find it harder financially with the rising costs of food and living. His wages don’t reflect the cost of living whatsoever. He is underpaid undervalued and overworked and something has to change.

We can’t continue this way.

The trauma: this keeps me awake at night, the things he must have seen and had to deal with except he’s probably Not dealt with it, because there is no counselling no support no focus on mental health. They have a physical test that MUST pass every 2 years. Where is the mental health assessment?

My husband lost a crew member to suicide 2 years ago, my husband and his crew were devastated how could this happen? His watch received no counselling or support afterwards. I find this alarming and beyond belief but as his wife what can I do??

In their every day jobs they are exposed to the effects of murders, suicides, infant deaths, Injuries and car accidents. This is NOT ok to pile this on real human beings and expect it to have no ill effect. They have no closure on medical events just left wondering did that person survive?

Our fire service family has been just that, a family of fellow men and women and their kids who we can call on for support but that’s where it ends there’s nothing from above.

I fully support the strike and as scary as it is, I hope this bring about the change that must happen for all of our sakes.