Coping with the Challenges of Forced Retirement

Issue 8 and Volume 160.

MANY FIREFIGHTERS ENTER THE FIRE SERVICE with a majestic plan of working hard, doing their job, and training to be the very best with the end result of a solid retirement. Normally, the retirement comes after a long career path when the firefighter decides to retire. A forced retirement is when the choice to retire is made by someone other than the firefighter. This is sometimes called an involuntary retirement: The fire department submits the employee to the retirement system based on an injury or illness. It has been reported that more than 1,500 firefighters and police officers are forced into retirement annually as a result of a line-of-duty injury or illness. What makes a normal retirement different from a forced retirement is who decides to terminate the employment relationship. This action most often is a career-ending decision, and the effects can be devastating to the firefighter and the firefighter’s…

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