Fire Wives Meet at Firehouse World

Cynthia Mills shares her experiences from the Firefighter Wife program at Firehouse World.

This is such a powerful message.

Wednesday afternoon, Lori Mercer, Chief Fire Wife at, held two classes for any fire wives and firefighters who wanted to attend.  "Connecting with Fire Families Builds a Better Firefighter" was her first class, followed by "Becoming a Wife on Fire: Motivation and Lessons for the Family and Spouses of Firefighters."  These classes were wonderful and well-attended by women and firefighters alike. 

There are about a hundred other experiences that I could ramble on about, but I’ll just give you the bullet point version:

  • It must be a fire academy requirement that all firefighters learn the line, “You don’t want me to get hurt in a fire because you didn’t let me buy _______.”   (Fill in the blank with any coveted fire product.)  I’m convinced of this because while it’s simply a running joke between my FF and me, a random FF we’ve never met before stepped beside us in the Exhibit Hall and said this, on my FF’s behalf, as we stood there debating the merits of getting the handcrafted leather tool belt he wanted.  Nice.
  • A nice gentleman named John Hayes seems to look like someone everyone knows, yet no one has ever met him before.  Now I can’t ever say this again though.  Ha!
  • A local Fire Wife meet-up will quickly outgrow the space provided when so many women hear that there are others out there who love this life, just like they do.
  • Water-filled, glass orbs were an early form of fire extinguishers.  These fire bombs are still on display in places like the Firehouse Museum at the Pioneer Hook and Ladder Company in San Diego.  There was a ton of history there and I loved every second of it!
  • On the final shuttle ride back to the convention center from the museum night, I realized we must have recently edged into the “older” category of firefighter & wife, because everyone on that shuttle loved the song Paradise City and all of us remembered when it was new.  My younger friends at the department here ask, “What song?  I’ve never heard of it.”  Ugh!
  • The Firehouse team does an amazing job of busting their rears to always keep us up to date on the cutting edge news, resources, trends, and information.  They make it look so easy online, but they’re one of the hardest working and most down-to-earth teams I’ve ever met.
  • The fire family I so dearly love in our own small department is just a small piece of the much larger fire family that spans the country, and possibly the world. 

Hanging out at Firehouse was just like hanging out with people I’ve known personally for decades.  We speak the same language.  We face the same challenges.  We get the same jokes.  We can all sit around a dinner table and discuss gory topics without losing our appetite.  We’ve all rescheduled holidays, willingly listened to bagpipe music, and mourned losses as a group.  We’re all part of the same firefighting family puzzle.  We just need things like Firehouse World to bring us all together to see it.  

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