My Husband Wants to Become a Firefighter........

Updated on February 01, 2011
C.R. asks from Fort Worth, TX
22 answers

We had our first son almost 4 years ago and my husband not only fell in love with our son but also a dream to become a firefighter. He says that our son just inspires him more and more everyday and he's ready to make a career change in his life. We are both 30 and have been married going on 6 years and have since had a daughter (18 mos) and I have a daughter previous to my marriage. I have never spent a night without my husband and love that he is home with us everynight. I have heard all the crazy shifts, hours, and the duties of a firefighter and I just cant bear the thought of him being gone days at a time. I am a grown woman and I will eventually have to adapt if he persues this. I have not looked into the pay of firefighters but my husband says it doesnt matter. He is physically fit and this is what he wants to do. Are there any firefighter wives out there or anyone that knows of someone that can relate or give me some advice?

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answers from Spokane on

My hubby made a major career change at 36. He is not a firefighter, but he does have similar shift issues, job danger, etc. He works for the County Sheriff's Dept.
I will not lie ~ it's not easy. BUT it is worth it!! My hubby now loves his job and is therefore an all around happier person. If its something he really wants to do, support him.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

All I know is that I have two male friends who have made total career changes in their adult lives: One from pastor to policeman, and one from salesman to financial planner. They are the two of the happiest people I know!

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answers from Washington DC on

You'll adjust. Let him follow his dream. Get with the other firefighter wives and become their friend.
He will be your children's hero.
I am a military wife. We do what we have to do. At least he will be in your city, not in some he%$ hole in a foreign country.
And he'll be happy.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I definitely think it's a is police work, military, nursing, etc. I think he should go for it. Yes, the hours/schedule may be crazy, but you'll adjust. My husband is active duty Army and deployed (again). I know about the nights alone, but I couldn't imagine him doing anything else. It takes a very special person to go into a career like firefighting...sounds like your DH is just the guy!

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answers from Boston on

My DH is a Firefighter/Paramedic: I call him a Hero. He doesn't believe he is! That's what he's been since I've known him. In my phone to this day (almost 6 years later) he's still labeled "fireman" LOL he jokes I only started dating him because he was a FF :-) Not True!
It will be hard for you at first, because your used to having him home at night and "normal" hours with You and the family. BUT just think about how HAPPY he will be - doing something he feels very passionate about! Also, he's gotta make it through the academy first (A lot of guys cant handle it) then he's gotta apply and be hired on a dept ( could take a Long time) SO dont freak out just yet, I know you have concerns..... Please send me a PM and I'll answer any questions the best I can :-)

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answers from Seattle on

I have several friends who are firefighters. In most areas they work 1 or 2 24 hour shifts and then are HOME 5 or 6 days a week. (Smoke Jumpers excluded)

For my girlfriends who are married to firefighters ONE of those nights is usually a "girls night in". Chick flicks, margaritas, dish sessions, spa-at-home nights, cards, etc. The other one tends to me "mommy nights" where they and their kids have a special routine. (2 of my friends are men married to firefighters. They tend to make less of a regular 'occasion' about their spouse being gone, but we'll still get together some nights their wives are at work to play pool, or bbq, or whatever.) It's funny, though. The women tend to revel in their alone time, and the men sort of mope.

Now... of course there are many 'worse' jobs out there; military, long haul truckers, musicians, doctors, lawyers, restaurant workers, pilots, flight attendants, cops, sales reps... people who work 80-100+ hour work weeks (only home to sleep for 5 or 6 hours and then are back at work), people who are "on call" 24/6, people whose jobs keep them working from the time school lets out until 3am/4am, people who are only home 3 days a month, people who are only home 1 week a month, people who have to travel for work, people who are at the govts beck and call and after 1 years worth of schooling you're lucky to see 3 months a year, etc., so forth, and so on... to MY mind, thank your lucky stars your beloved's dream is one that gives you a girl's night in and a mommy night. But I'm biased. My point REALLY is to look at the upsides for your husband's passion, not to say "it could be worse". Because even all those other jobs have upsides. To my own mind, it's really just figuring out what those upsides ARE. :) When you can figure out the upsides, it's a lot easier to accentuate them / find joy in the "different" from the 8-7 M-F slog.

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answers from Columbus on

Happy parents make a happy family! Support him, it's a very honorable career! My husband is in the military and he's spent MANY nights and days away from us. It makes me feel like a stronger woman, and I'm proud to support my husband. I've learned that our time together is about quality, not quantity. Congratulations on having a husband that will pursue his dream, what a great example for your kids!

**One more thing... My dad wanted to join the Marines right after my parents got married and my mom said no way. He still talks about how he regrets not doing it, and it's 33 years later. My mom regrets not backing him. Would you want to have that thought for 30+ years? OUCH!

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answers from Washington DC on

That kind of thing gets in your blood and won't let go. I understand the feeling of having him home every night, but if you tell him he can't pursue this just so that you can have him home, isn't that going to bruise his manhood? If you tell him he can't pursue this, every time he hears a siren call he'll be thinking that could be him responding.

While having him gone will be stressful, keeping him home could be more so.

My vote is to let him try it. It could be that the grandness of it won't match the reality.


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answers from Houston on

My friend's husband is a firefighter. His shift is like, 3 days on, 3 days off or something along those lines. Sure, he's gone 3 nights a week, but then he's home 3 days straight. They have a great family life, and lots of downtime during the day when he is working so the family sometimes goes up to visit the firehouse, bring them dinner...

Also, look into where you live. Most cities now are requiring firefighters to also be paramedics, if it isn't required, their pay will increase and their chance of getting hired will be better with this qualification.

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answers from Topeka on

My hubby isn't a fireman but he comes from a background of firemen his own father is now a retired cheif his uncle is a cheif,he has a cousin on the dept. & knows several firemen.When I have called in the event of emergencies they walked right in helped me they knew who I was I felt I was getting the best service possible.I would have to say you just adapt to the lifestyle changes it's not like he's gone for months he will have his shifts then his off time,my hubbs has horrible hrs but with 3 kids I have other things to do than to worry when is he getting home from work I already knew what I got myself into a "workacoholic"besides that he can't just up & leave his job when ever he is done with his 8 hr shift his employment doesn't work like that.If he doesn't start now he may regret this for the rest of his life & hold it against you he is 30 now or in his 30's they won't accept a fireman the older you are I think if he is ready & willing to do this it is a great career but the schooling comes first & foremost while getting physical fit.I wished now my husband did go out to become a fireman but you can't do something when it was forced upon you at his age right out of high school

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answers from Dallas on

My husband went back to school a couple years ago (he is 31 now) for a career change. He was gone at school 5 nights a week and home on the weekends. Now he works pretty regular hours for the local power company, but when he's on-call, he works a regular 8 hour shift, plus anywhere from an extra hour to 30+ hours depending on the need that day. It leaves me home with 3 kids, which can be difficult, but I've just developed a routine for those days on my own. You will adjust to the change and surprise yourself with how much you can get done by yourself!

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answers from Dallas on

I have not read the other answers but I have been married to a firefirghter for 31 years. He loves his job and has been with the fire department for over 30 years so my girls and now my grand daughters grew up with the odd hours. My husband worked 24 on and 48 off so he was home all day with the kids for all but 9 days a month. Yes some times he worked overtime and would be gone for 2 days but that was not all the time. The girls were always proud of him and would often ask him to go to school for fire safety week and career days. My husband has also gone to many of the disasters in the state to help with rescue and recovery efforts. Not a lot of people can say they love the job they do but fire fighters do. You see many generations of firefighters in the family sometimes because the kids are so proud of what daddy does. The pay varies from city to city but we make a good living.
It is not easy to get into the fire department and often does require a good education but some of them will send your husband to fire fighting school once he is hired. Your husband is 30 now so he needs to get started soon it can take up to a year or more to get onto a department. Many departments also have a age requirement for new hires.
My husband has been able to attend school events and stay home with the kids when they are sick more so then if he were on a 40 hour a week schedule.
In my husbands department we are all part of the firefighting family. When there is a birth or death or illness in the famliy you have your extended family of other fire fighters to help you through.
I would say let him persue his passion. It is not easy to get in but he will never regret his career choice if he makes it in.

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answers from Dover on

My husband is a Security Forces Air Force Reservist as well as a civilian Sheriff's Deputy so I know all about nights, weeks, months on my own! Can you imagine if all your life the one thing you wanted your spouse told you he wouldn't back you once you were already married? What if the one thing you ever wanted was to be a mother & he said that just didn't fit in with his plan, that he needed you all to himself so he would really prefer it if you didn't have children? How heartbreaking would that be?!?!

I can tell you this with absolute certainty: if he KNOWS this is what he wants, what he needs, what he loves, then you need to back him.

OK, now that it's in perspective a little bit, full-time city firefighters make very nice salaries. Granted, it is blue-collar work, not white-collar executives, but all things considered, it'll pay the rent for sure. Also you need to know that although his job may have a 3 days on, 4 days off type of schedule, it's not as if you won't be able to talk to him on the phone or swing by to say hello if you want to.

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answers from Dallas on

How many people actually love their job?? Not many, so I say if your husband's heart is in this profession then I say have him volunteer first make sure it's all what he's expecting. If he still loves it, then who cares what it pays because most don't get a chance to actually do what they love. The health benefits will most likely be the best from the city then from a company. He will be happier at home because he loves his job. There's nothing worse then having a job you hate, no matter what the pay. I come from California and have lived in quite a few other states so let me tell you it doesn't take much here Dallas to live. If you can't make it here, then somethings wrong. Status's and keeping up with Jone's doesn't make one happy and only cause stress and frustration.



answers from Eau Claire on

If he's really passionate about it and will follow through then I'd say go for it. My husband has come up with multiple things that he wants to do. Now we are in debt for school he didn't finish because his dream changed. But when he came up with his next career dream I followed him. We still haven't found the right fit, but I encourage him to do whatever it is he thinks he wants to try because I'd want him to do the same for me. It may be hard to adjust but if he's happy with his job it helps for a happy marriage too. Good Luck!


answers from Stockton on

I think that you should tell him to go for it. I am not sure how it is in TX, but in CA, there are so many people in competition for the firefighter jobs that it is highly unlikely that he would make it in. There are young kids just out of college or still in college who volunteer for free that usually end up with the paid positions when they become available. Sssooo, that is what I form the basis of my opinion on. If it is the same in TX, you can be the loving supportive wife and tell him to go for it, and then if/when he realizes that most likely it will not work out for him, you will not be the bad guy. If it does work out for him then I guess it was meant to be and you still need to be the loving supportive wife. Plus, it may work out that you get to see each other more and spend more time together as a family when he works 3 days and has 4 days off......just a thought! Hope it all works out well for you ~



answers from Amarillo on

Let your husband follow his dream. It would be wrong for you to stop the what if I could have/should have and have him resent you.

Learning to do things for yourself if one of the greatest things a woman can do in her life. Being independent and taking care of things without having to lean on a man is great. He won't be gone like a military man (been there and done that) and he will be near by just not home to sleep in the family bed. Look at how you can make new friends that are wives of other firemen and spend the time together in a sisterhood as no one else will understand what you will/are going through.

Life is what you make it regardless of the job. If it does not turn out like hubby hoped you won't have the regret of not letting him do it. Life is a bucket list so don't sweat the small stuff. Expand your horizons.

The other S.

PS My hubby was a volunteer fireman when we first got married and we did all sorts of things as a group.



answers from Tyler on

My best friend's husband was a firefighter in a town just east of Dallas. He worked as a carpenter his off days. She was a music teacher. They barely got by and this was during the late 70s, 80s, and early 90s. He probably made more in construction, but his benefits came from the city. He loved it. She had to work to make ends even come close to meeting, and they weren't extravagant people. He was hurt while at a fire and had to quit before his retirement age. They had some conflict with the dept. over his injury, so their departure wasn't the best. He died this past year after years of taking pain meds for that injury.
This is a dismal story, but one of the sides of that particular profession. You have to look at all the sides. It's not all glory.



answers from Dallas on

At least he doesn't want to become a professional gambler! Things to think about with this specific choice:

Firefighter University - several months away and it also cost money.

Anybody hiring firefighters right now? Look for ads before you invest in the education to see if there's a market.

Work hours: Typically 24-on, 24-off. If there's a fire call at 22 hours, you're still on until the job's done. Many firefighters work a second job during the off period - doesn't bode well for the base pay.

It's a noble professional and it's cool, but I would check the pay scale just as well and compare it to your current income. It sounds like he's already made the decision with his heart, now get on board with the head. Passion is not an equal substitute for intelligence. But things are probably better all-around if a person is happy in their professional.



answers from Tampa on

I didn't read all your responses, but I am the daughter of a firefighter and wife of one also. I grew up around the fire dept. It'll be fine - don't worry about it. My dad and my husband both work for depts that do 24hr on, 48hr off. There is always the possibility of mandatory overtime as well, but it's only an additional 12hrs to the shift, so 36hrs total. Depending on the night they have, they may be more tired after coming off duty, but both enjoy what they do for the most part :) My dad is actually getting ready to retire in April. I don't know what your depts do for shifts in TX, but most here in our area do the shifts like my dad & hubby work. I do know of one that does 24hr on / 24hr off for like 4 shifts, but then they have 4 or 5 days off in a row. Here they also get a paid day off either every 3 or 6wks (my families are every 6wks, but I know another county nearby that does every 3wks). And a good way to look at it is that if they do the shifts like my dad and hubby, they only work 10days a month! I will let you know that most firefighters I know have a part time job too because they need something to do on their days off. Good luck and feel free to PM me if you have any more questions!



answers from Dallas on

I'm a firefighter's wife. He became a firefighter while I was pregnant with our child. It did take a little bit to get used to the schedule (24 hours on, 48 hours off) but now we love it. He really only works 9 days a month. I still don't sleep as well on his shift days but I think that is just because I'm more "on alert" in case our son wakes up. I'd say go for it!



answers from New York on

I can't speak from direct experience but my friend's dad was a fireman and it was great. Days away but then lots of days home, they could go all over the place and stay in fire stations for free, her father loved it bc it's such a tight night group, and the pension!! It'll also be easier to be on your own some nights when your kids are older so it's not forever that the night shifts will be tough. He won't get a job right away either... We live near a firestation now and I've thought "what a great job" I think it depends where you work - ie: inner city is much tougher - but a suburban fire station seems great.

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