Retirement from a lifelong career can be a stressful event, regardless of the field. However, retirement from a career in public safety can be more stressful than from the civilian workforce. This retirement might seem like a divorce. Getting into the fire service may seem easy compared to what it’s like to leave it.
If firefighters are prepared for what to expect it can help ease them into retirement. As the manager of a firefighting operation, you are in a position where you could potentially help your team members to ease into this transition.
Loss of Camaraderie
No matter how much they may have once complained, firefighters will miss their fire service family within a relatively short period of time. When returning to their former second home for a visit, they are likely to feel like an outsider, especially with new faces around. As a manager, you can help to facilitate open lines of communication between former and present team members. It is not uncommon for many businesses to treat employees who have left the company as though they have dropped off the face of the earth, but the nature of the firefighting profession is different. Make sure your team members know that you support them, even if they choose to leave.
Generally, retiring in our mid-50s means finding a new career to help pay for mortgages and other debt. Firefighters are trained to be dependable problem solvers. While on the job many firefighters and officers might gripe about certain calls, but it’s hard to beat the sense of satisfaction that comes after you and your crew handled the difficult fire or motor vehicle crash or complicated rescue. It’s tough to find that kind of satisfaction working in the non-fire service world.
Consider whether your operation could make use of desk workers, or other team members who are not necessarily going to be on the scene. This could be a great way to reassign your team members who can no longer respond to calls but are not yet ready to retire. As an additional bonus, they will already have a great understanding of the firefighting profession and your operation.
Sense of Self
The higher the rank, the greater the sense of loss of friendships, prestige, and self-esteem. Firefighters may find a significant relationship between the participants’ rank at the time of retirement and their perception of their personal and social relationships.
When progressing through the ranks, circles of friends and colleagues shrink, learning to maintain that delicate balance between being friendly on the job and lapsing into friendships that can be detrimental to the good of the order.
Fire officers probably had some significant roles and responsibilities managing people, physical resources and budgets. After a career of those kinds of duties, it can be difficult to wake up one day without them.
A Successful Retirement
A successful retirement is directly related to the level of planning that went into it.
The most satisfied retirees tended to be those who planned for their retirement several years in advance. Firefighters know the value target hazard pre-plans. There’s great value in applying that strategy for retirement. Consider these retirement target hazards and pre-plan accordingly:
- Personal characteristics
- Reasons for retirement
- Financial security
- Level of activity in retirement
- Social and personal relationships
- Physical and mental health
Everyone will have a unique response, but the key is to focus on your career expectations, long-range financial plans, and the importance of developing a career and retirement plan in general.
When making management decisions or dealing with employment-related issues, it is important that you protect yourself and your operation against these unique risk exposures. Contact us today to learn more about our Management Liability insurance program and what it can offer your operation.
About Provident FirePlus
At Provident FirePlus, we offer custom-tailored packages to best protect firefighters and volunteer firefighters. We understand the risks that emergency response teams are subjected to on a daily basis, and have worked to serve these dedicated professionals for over 87 years. For more information about our products and policies, we invite you to contact our experts today at (855) 201-8880.