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Being A Firefighter's Wife Is Hard

July 1, 2013 - Liz Skoczylas
I've joked that Newton's Law of being a firefighter's wife is: If you have just cooked or are in the process of cooking a hot meal, the tones can and will go off.

This was the case last Thursday, when I had no sooner put dinner on the table than Nick was out the door, responding to an EMS call. He came home, managed to eat his dinner, and was toned out for another call.

Such is the life sometimes.

Thursday, I handled the calls pretty well, if I do say so myself. But, there are times, like this weekend, where I wasn't handling them quite as well.

Nick works at his full time job every other weekend. So, the weekends he is home are our time to get projects done and spend time together. However, this weekend the fire department needed my husband more than I needed him.

We had some painting projects to do, errands to run and a basement to clean out in preparation of an upcoming garage sale. Some of the things I could do myself, but picking out paint colors requires both of our opinions. And, I certainly can't just decide which of his items are getting put into our garage sale (I'm not saying I didn't WANT to just put his stuff in the garage sale. But I was being nice and not just selling everything!). Then, in the middle of everything -- one of two weekends a month I get with my husband -- the tones went off. And, with those tones, he was out the door, our lives put on hold to attend to someone else's.

I know I am being selfish when my husband and other members of the fire department are being completely selfless. But, as a newer addition to the "firefighter's wives" club, I'm finding it to be a hard adjustment to make.

It's not easy waking up in the middle of the night when the tones go off, and knowing I might be spending the rest of the night alone, as he goes into a fire. It's not easy hearing the words "possible overdose" come across the scanner, knowing he will be dealing with someone who has been possibly using drugs, potentially a dangerous situation. It's not easy to be sitting at home listening to the scanner for my husband's voice to know he is ok. But, it's the life I chose as a firefighter's wife.

After a frustrating weekend of calls, news broke last night that 19 firefighters had lost their lives in the Arizona wildfires. According to CNN, the tragedy killed about 20 percent of the Prescott Fire Department.

Although I've only been around the fire service for a little more than two years now, I have learned how firefighters come together in a tragedy. When a department loses a member, neighboring departments are there to show their support. With the tragedy in Webster in December, again, firefighters came together to show their support. And now, with the Arizona firefighters, I have already seen and heard prayers for "the lost brothers."

I cannot imagine being the wives, girlfriends, mothers, sisters, friends, loved ones of those 19. It is hard enough to put your life on hold when those tones go off, but those 19 went selflessly to do what they could. And while my thoughts and prayers go to those 19, I am also thinking of their loved ones who will be eating and sleeping alone, because those tones went off one final time.

I know that emergency personnel don't always get the recognition they deserve. It makes me angry when I see something negative about volunteer departments. But, I encourage you to thank the emergency responders, because, they are out doing the best they can in what can sometimes be a very bad situation. And they are often putting their own lives on hold to do it.


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