Family Matters: First Responding to Your Marriage (The heroes behind the heroes).

On this episode, Bonnie and David speak with columnist / author Anne Gagliano and her spouse, retired Seattle Fire Captain Mike Gagliano. We discuss how firefighters and their spouses can build and maintain a strong, fulfilling, lasting and intimate marriage. We’ll also discuss the mission of the firefighter compared to the mission of the firefighter spouse, how the spouse is the “hero behind the hero” by helping their responder be effective on their job.

Mike and Anne explain how to keep your “first family” first, and how the responder’s spouse is essential and vital to the responder’s well-being, and to the fire service. They talk about how the number one catalyst for suicide is divorce.

Most responders would say they’re not willing to sacrifice their family, yet there are often tensions in many firefighter households- sometimes because the responder loves their job, while the spouse may hate their job. Mike and Anne show how important it is to build a committed life and write a story together.

Spouses are a vital part of a successful responder’s career, yet nobody talks about what they suffer and sacrifice. Handling the home front and child care while the responder is gone for long shifts and returning exhausted, sleep deprived and irritable, spouses are essential participants in a proud heroic mission. By supporting their responder spouse, they make the world a better place.

We talk about the impermanence of a career in emergency services, that every career is going to end someday, and how significant family and marriage is to having a fulfilling life after the fire service. When that part of a responder’s life is over, walking out of the firehouse for the last time, imagine going home to an empty house, or a divided family, or the kids have grown up and moved out… What’s left?

Anne Gagliano is an author, lecturer, and spouse of retired Seattle Fire Captain Mike Gagliano for over 35 years. Her Fire Engineering article “What Every Firefighter’s Spouse Should Know” and ongoing contributions to, have inspired couples all over the world to seek a fulfilling, lasting, and intimate marriage despite the challenges posed by the fire service.
She and Mike lecture across the country on building and maintaining a strong marriage, with principles derived specifically from her three decades- worth of experience as a fire/law enforcement/military wife. They are co-authors of the bestselling Fire Engineering book “Challenges of the Firefighter Marriage”, that highlights the many joys and challenges of love, fun, and passion in a first-responder marriage.

Mike Gagliano has over 33 years of fire/crash/rescue experience with the Seattle Fire Department and the United States Air Force. He retired as the Captain of Ladder 5 and remains a proud member of Fire Station 31.

Captain Gagliano has written numerous fire service articles, is co-author of the bestselling books Air Management for the Fire Service, Challenges of the Firefighter Marriage and the SCBA chapter of the Handbook for Firefighter 1 & 2 from Pennwell.
Mike co-hosts the popular Fire Engineering radio webcast “The Mikey G and Mikey D Show” and partners with his wife Anne ( to teach strategies for developing and maintaining a strong marriage/family.

YouTube: Responder Resilience
Facebook: @ResponderWellnessInc

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annegagliano, emergencyservices, family matters, fire engineering, first responder ptsd, first responders, mariage firefighter challenges, mike gagliano, relationships, Seattle Fire Department, Seattle Fire, Seattle Fire Rescue, Seattle Fire Medics, spirituality

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