I've been extremely fortunate. I met my wife because of the volunteering. My wife and I build much of our life around the department. Also, when I accepted my full-time job I asked my employer up front if they favored my participation in the department. When they said, "yes," I took that as implied consent to leave work once in a while for major incidents. I don't overdo it, though. Our chief asks everyone to remember the following priorities: 1.) family, 2.) school, 3.) work, 4.) the department.
My wife and I met through the fire service.I was captain at my dept. at the time and she was a captain at a MA dept.So I GUESS it turned out OK.(Just kidding,sometimes.)It has also caused us to be divroced a time or two.I have a very good friend of mine who joined the same time I did who's wife was fooling around with the chief at the time.Needless to say they aren't married anymore and the chief is now an ex chief and ex member.
My parents have 4 children
All 4 children were in fire/rescue in the same (or multiple departments)
Those 4 children had 4 spouses who were also in fire rescue...
All 8 were on the FD for years prior to this incident - so the families were up to speed, right?
My mom made an expansive Thanksgiving Dinner one year
All 8 fire/rescue providers and their 7 toddlers were invited...
Mid-Thanksgiving dinner (which is a big freakin deal for my mom)... Multi-Department giant structure fire
7 of us left Thanksgiving Dinner to go to the fire... and did not return until the next day...
This left my mom and her beautiful dinner that she slaved over for days with 1 Pregnant rescue/FF wife... and 7 toddlers... and my high-maintenance, low-usefulness-at-dinner-parties-and-babysitting father...
My mom was SOOOOOOOOOO hurt...
FOREVER my mom has shared that wounded story with people - even though she was endlessly supportive of all of us - this time was over-the-top for her.
We kids NEVER let that happen again at a holiday meal - we always send most of us and have 1 or 2 of us stay to finish dinner then go to the call and/or stay to help with the kids and obviously clean-up
So far I have been lucky on the job end of it. My employers have been very understanding. Since I am currently single and have been for over a year it hasnt had a chance to put a strain on a relationship if its going to. My parents, however, have had some issues. Well my mother anyways. My father loves that I am a firefighter and he 110% supports it. My mother tries to be supportive, but sometimes she doesnt seem to understand the dedication that I have for it. She also doesnt understand the stress that it can put on me when I respond to a bad scene (fatalities ect..) In all though it hasnt been too bad on that end.
my wife is very supportive, there are times i leave my pager so she can hear what goes on, she gets excited for me as well as my kids. my kids love to hear my voice on the radio they get excited as well. my dad was a volunteer 25 yrs ago, former chief so my mother under stands. so when my wife calls her and says davey's on a call can you come get me for work or can i get a ride, she's cool with it. i'm lucky my family is so supportive. fire fighting is in my families blood. great grand fathers, uncle's dads, family friends... it's in the blood.
My family is pretty supportive and so is my day job. My day job says so long as I get my work done.... OK.... My husband from time to time tells me you don't have to go on every call and that is when I am really tired. That is his way of asking me to step back and re-evaluate if I would be an asset or a hinderance. I do kow of other volunteers who families are not happy that they go to drills or on calls.
My husband of 6 years and I have never lived together in the same house, besides the same state. He is a firefighter in MD, and I live in Iowa. We have 6 beautiful children between the 2 of us and 3 where here in the first 4 years of our marriage. He visits as often as possible, but computer keys and telephones get their workout.
I am so proud of what he does, that he always has 100% of my support. If he is not at work he is at the volunteer station were he started over 20 years ago. Inconvient at times, but never an issue! Not every holiday is spent together, but the time we do get is cherished.