If you live here in California, you are well aware of the fires throughout the state. This isn’t new; it happens around this time every year. Hello fire season.
When it comes up in conversation that my husband is a fireman, without a doubt whoever I am talking with (or whoever my husband is talking with) will inevitably bring up their personal connection to a firefighter they know. Why? Everyone is proud to know a firefighter! Am I right? Myself included. I am so proud of who my husband is and what he does for work. If you have ever needed the help of a firefighter or fire medic, you have an even greater appreciation for the work they do.
–> Want to learn more about Jonny’s journey to become a firefighter? Read our story here.
If you are a part of the fire family, you know the job is grueling. Not only on the firefighter but their family as well.
Jonny has not had the opportunity to fight any of the large wildfires this season, but he has been working like crazy in the station to fill in the holes of the guys who are missing. He has, however, been on some of the wildfires in the past, so I have an understanding of both situations.
When a friend texted a few weeks ago asking how she could support a friend whose husband is gone on one of the big fires, I quickly rewinded to my own experience. A few years ago Jonny was gone for a 17 day stretch on a wildfire. Yeah, it was rough.
With that in mind, here are a few simple ways to support fire families when their spouse is out for an unknown amount of time fighting a deadly fire:
- A text message. Never underestimate the power of a little note saying hey we are thinking and praying for you guys.
- Bring the family a meal! But if you can, stay and eat it with them. It can get lonely when your spouse is gone and you would just enjoy another adult in the house to share a meal with.
- Take the kids for a few hours. What mama doesn’t love a break? Single parenting can be tough. While we’re used to doing it often, when your partner is fighting a wildfire there isn’t a solid return date; that makes it more mentally challenging.
- Help with bedtime. Depending on the ages of the kids, dinner time and bedtime can be the hardest parts of our day. Offer to head on over to help with bathing and bedtime routine and then stay for a glass of wine with mama.
- Show up for their kids’ sports and activities. When dad is gone, fill in the place on the sidelines where he normally would be.
On the flip side, what about our men and women out fighting these fires day in and day out? What are some of their needs and how can we support them?
If you have firefighters lodging near you, here are some things you can do to serve them as they work.
- Drop off the essentials. Depending on how quickly they got called into the fire, they might be short on things like socks, underwear (yes, underwear), deodorant, laundry detergent, dental care, etc.
- Bring meals. On their resting days, the crew doesn’t have a family to go home to so they eat out or whatever is available to them.
- Provide healthy snacks & drinks. On their working days they are often provided sack lunches but could use additional nourishment to replenish all the calories they are burning.
- Notes and signs of appreciation. Gratitude is such a great way to boost morale and show these men and women they are appreciated for their hard work.
Are there any other ideas I missed?
So think about that person you always bring up when talking about a firefighter and reach out to offer some support during these times. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone who has been affected by the recent fires and devastation.