Becoming a volunteer responder can be one of the most rewarding experiences. You’re able to help others in need, you learn valuable skill sets that can help you both personally and professionally, and you build a special bond with your brothers and sisters in the service that can forge lifelong friendships.
However, becoming a volunteer responder also means constant trainings, department functions, and unexpected time away from your family. On top of that, you routinely face difficult and dangerous situations. The fire service life can be hard for even the toughest, most resilient families.
To help families adjust to the volunteer lifestyle, the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) teamed up with FirefighterWife.com to create the new online training What to Expect: Helping Your Family Adapt to the Volunteer Fire Service. This training is intended for spouses, children, parents, siblings, or significant others of volunteer and paid-on-call responders and introduces family members to the basics of the volunteer firefighter life and provides guidance for keeping your relationships strong.
The new training is an extension of previously released publication What to Expect: A Guide for Family Members of Volunteer Firefighters.
“The family plays a critical part in an individual’s life as a firefighter,” said NVFC Chairman Kevin D. Quinn. “Having the support of their loved ones often makes the difference between a volunteer responder deciding to stay in the fire service or leave. Strong family bonds can also help a firefighter through difficult times they may face as a first responder. Yet for most families, the adjustment to the fire service lifestyle is challenging at best. We created the ‘What to Expect’ program to help families make this adjustment and access the tools they need to keep those family bonds strong.”
Help your family navigate the volunteer fire service life by encouraging them to take this new online course. It is free for a limited time. Departments should also consider using the ‘What to Expect’ program for all new recruits and their families who are just starting out in the fire service.
Access this course through the NVFC’s Virtual Classroom.