Here's Why You See Firefighters Grocery Shopping in Uniform


Along with being one of the most deadly professions, firefighting is also a vocation. The brave men and woman who choose this occupation are so dedicated that they work 24-hour shifts.

As you might expect, this kind of arrangement calls for special kind of personality, and that is saying a lot, considering what risks firefighters experience on the job. This odd arrangement also calls for firefighters to do many things together, including everyday tasks like shopping.

Firefighters cook together, eat together, and do just about everything else together on their shift as they wait to respond to calls. They take the fire truck to the store and shop while in uniform in case a call comes in. If it does, they drop everything and rush to respond — even if they’re in the checkout line.

According to the Leander Fire Department in Texas, long shifts mean a firefighter’s company becomes his or her “surrogate family.”

When you stop and think about the work firefighters do, it makes sense that these brave men and women stay together as a group — not far from their vehicle — just in case they need to stop what they are doing and help someone in an emergency situation.

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While they are on their shift, they still must eat, as well as prepare their own meals. This means they must shop for those meals and pay for supplies, according to Firefighters Lifestyle.

In an article for Fire Engineering, Anne Gagliano, the wife of a career firefighter, discusses the “firefighter marriage” and all that entails.

Galliano wrote that firefighters connect with each other through routines, adding that this connection is like a family bond.

“Firefighting is a team occupation — one that cannot be accomplished alone. The 24-hour shift gives firefighters a unique opportunity to bond not only as a team but as a family,” Gagliano said.

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It is a bond that makes firefighters better at what they do because they come to know each other on a different level from most co-workers, and loyalty forms from that time together.

“And the family bond is sacred, as they will risk all for one another,” Gagliano explained.

“When firefighters ‘live together,’ they become as family with the deepest levels of devotion. This devotion makes firefighters safer and better at what they do,” she wrote.

The 24-hour shift may seem extreme to those who have never experienced it, but Gagliano said it was the best way for firefighters to work.

“The blessings of a 24-hour shift include cost-effective, around-the clock service to the community; tighter bonds with the crew; less time having to shift between worlds; and more precious, invaluable time at home,” she added.

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So the next time you see a group of firefighters shopping together, remember: Things are not always what they seem.

They may be shopping, but they would leave those groceries in a heartbeat to respond to an emergency call.

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