So, what can you do to make being on-call not as stressful on the people that you love? Here are five suggestions:
#1: Create a plan and share it with them.
One of the best ways to put your family at ease is to always have a plan ready in case you are tasked. That way they know exactly what is going to happen and they don't have to worry about “what to do if”. For instance, you've a daddy/daughter dinner date set up and you have to suddenly leave, make sure your daughter knows beforehand that you’ve got an alternate plan that will allow you to spend time with her - one that she will enjoy just as much. You're out with your partner - have they house keys, money, transport?
#2: Don’t share the details of your calls.
Although sharing your alternate plan is good, revealing the details of your call is not. When you get home from an incident, your family may be curious about what you saw on the scene. While this type of curiosity is natural, that doesn't mean that you should answer their questions with complete and total honesty. Remember that they aren't trained to handle the situations the way that you are, so you're better off keeping your answers short and sweet and sparing them any gory details. Also, put a positive spin on them when you can.
#3: Spend quality time with them when you are home.
There may be nothing you can do about the amount of times you are called out to respond to emergency situations, so the next best thing is to make the time that you are home worthwhile. Engage in conversations and activities with your family so that they know that you want to be a part of their lives, even if it isn't always easy to do so.
#4: Get away from home on your time off.
If you’ve got a week or so where you don't have to be on call, get your family out of town. They may correlate sitting around home with waiting for you to have to leave whereas if you put them in a new and different environment, that thought won't cross their mind, allowing them to feel relaxed and have a good time.
#5: Reassure them that you are in good hands.
A lot of your family’s angst may come from wondering whether or not you are okay at the call you are on. That’s part of the reason behind why we created our software. We want you to have the data you need to show them that you are going to be just fine. After all, having your family behind you to support you is just as critical, if not more so, than getting all of the training in the world.
Being on-call may be part of your job as an emergency responder, but there are definitely things you can do to make the notion of being available to your job 24/7 more appeasing to your family. Try these five suggestions and you'll be on the right track!
We've incorporated secure Emergency Contact Details into everyones profile in D4H™ Personnel & Training. This will allow leadership to make sure family are aware of any details in case of an emergency involving your crews.