Honor & Commitment: Standard Life Operating Guidelines for Firefighters & Their Families


Your firefighter family is unique, but you’re not alone.

Among the unexpected Saturday morning calls, the washing machine full of fire T-shirts, the daily interrogation of whether daddy will be home tomorrow—you’re all living the fire life.

That means you all need a little extra grace, a big sense of humor, and a special type of support in order to thrive.

You need to be fully equipped to live with honor and commitment whether you’re the one at home or on the job.

This book is for you.

Honor & Commitment: Standard Life Operating Guidelines for Firefighters & Their Families

Firefighter Wives

You have to admit, your heart still skips a beat when you see his fire truck drive by.

You’re in love with someone who’s born to be a firefighter.

And that means you’re living around a firefighter schedule that can have you feeling out of step while the rest of the world runs 9-5, has predictable holidays, and can make—and keep—plans.

And yet, you love the small ways you stay connected—like when he calls from the station just to hear your voice, or lets the kids climb all over him when he gets home, even though he’s tired and seriously needs a shower.

The thing is, you don’t always know what’s going to come home with him at the end of his shift, but you want him to feel how much he’s loved.

Imagine finding a sisterhood of other women who know exactly how you feel. Feeling at peace when your husband walks out the door—and knowing how to get back to that peaceful place quickly when nagging worry starts to creep in.

Imagine sleeping well at night, whether your firefighter is at the station, on a call, or in your bed. Having a plan for holidays and special occasions that will make the day feel special, no matter what your family’s schedule is that day. Knowing exactly what to say to your firefighter to make him feel instantly supported and appreciated. Knowing the right things to tell your kids at any age about their dad’s job.

Imagine having a go-to guide for inspiration and celebration for the heroic job you’re doing.


Your firefighter crew is your brotherhood, and your family is your lifeblood.

The fact that you’ve felt the call to become a firefighter means you’re someone who doesn’t shy away from commitment. You’re not afraid to show up and work hard, whether that’s being a first responder when you get a call—or when the baby cries.

Sometimes you’re needed at the station and you have to walk out the front door knowing that you’re needed at home, too.

You hope your family knows how much you love them, even if you had to miss your son’s birthday party.

You want to feel connected to your family 24-7. And you want to bring honor and commitment to every area of your life.

Imagine having confidence that you can fully show up for your brotherhood without sacrificing your family commitment. And vice versa. Redefining “work-life balance” in a way that fits your firefighter lifestyle. Knowing exactly what to say to your wife to alleviate her worries about your work. Coming home after a difficult call and having that magic balance of space and TLC. Knowing what to do to show your family how much they matter, especially during the times you can’t be there in person.

Imagine going all in during your shift, knowing that your family totally has your back, and they know you have theirs.

Join the 'Honor & Commitment' Group Book Study!


‘Honor & Commitment: Standard Life Operating Guidelines for Firefighters & Their Families’ will help you get there.

Written by Lori Mercer, a firefighter wife and founder of 24-7 COMMITMENT, with encouragement from her husband Dan, this book goes beyond general self-help, relationship, or household tips and goes straight to the heart of the firefighter family.

In this book, you’ll find:

  • Real-life stories from firefighter families, that only someone like you can relate to.
  • Time-tested, realistic advice on everything from managing family schedules to what to do at home after a difficult call.
  • Discussion questions to open up communication with your first family or your firefighter family.
  • Support during the times when your marriage feels challenged by the fire life, and the encouragement and straightforward guidance you need to keep your connection strong.
  • Carefully-chosen resources to help your whole family thrive.

And you’ll realize you’re not alone. Not one bit.

Honor and commitment isn’t just a job duty. It’s a way of life.

Author Lori Mercer lives this reality every day. The stories, suggestions, and resources in this book come from her own life as the wife of a firefighter, and from her work with thousands of firefighter families since 2012.

Some of the stories are raw. But they’re real.

Some of the topics are tough. But no tougher than you are.

You’ll find strength, inspiration, along with practical guidance and resources you can use right away to thrive and live a life of inspiration and courage, rooted in strong family ties.


Frank Viscuso

Frank Viscuso is a career deputy chief, nationally recognized speaker, and author of six books, including the best-seller Step Up and Lead (PennWell, 2011) and the newly released follow-up book Step Up Your Teamwork. Frank is also co-creator of FireOpsOnline.com, a website that provides valuable free training, drills, and tips for firefighters who are serious about advancing their career.

As a speaker, Frank has the ability to move people to action. Over the past decade he has spoken to audiences in and outside the fire service on many topics that include leadership, team building, officer development, and customer service. His seminars are designed to introduce people to the top traits associated with leadership and to equip them with the skills needed to lead, inspire, and motivate their teams.

Frank works as a Tour Commander in Kearny, NJ. He and his wife reside in Toms River with their three boys.


John Salka

John is the author of the best-selling books “First In Last Out Lead- ership Lessons from the New York Fire Department” and “The Engine Company.” He received the 2001 FDIC Training Achievement Award for his Get Out Alive firefighter survival training program and travels extensively training firefighters throughout the 50 states and Canada in tactics, strategy, leadership and safety & survival. Chief Salka has also served as a volunteer firefighter for over 30 years. He has been married to his wife Dawn for 32 years and together they have 5 children.


Dan Mercer

Husband, Father and Firefighter for 15 years in an inner city urban department near Columbus, Ohio with qualifications as a certified rescue technician and instructor. Served in the United States Marine Corps from 1987 – 94 in the Fleet Anti-Terrorist Security Team before being deployed with 3rd Battalion 1st Marines for Operation Desert Storm, Desert Shield and Desert Sabre, leaving the corps as a Sergeant.


John Dixon

John is a career Fire Officer with an urban Fire Department in New Jersey  and has over 20 years in the fire service. John has a passion for the fire  service and for training, mentoring and inspiring up and coming officers and  firefighters. He also serves as an Instructor with the Bergen County Fire  Academy (NJ) and is an Advocate for the National Fallen Firefighters  Foundation.

John has served as a US Marine and during that time he believes, the traits  and principles such as discipline, education and servant leadership among  many others are the cornerstones of great company officers and firefighters  alike. He is passionate about helping others in seeking continuous  improvement, while providing cutting edge training, education, and spreading the message to others about the important role it plays in developing and refining great leaders within the fire service.


Andrew Starnes

Andy Starnes is a 20-year veteran of the fire service, currently serving as a captain with the Charlotte, NC, Fire Department. He is an instructor, member of the Kill The Flashover Project, writer, author, website contributor and founder of bringingbackbrotherhood.org.

Jason Brahm

Jason Brahm is a full time firefighter, Certified Nutrition Coach, and Certified Personal Trainer with a mission is to help reduce the number of Line of duty deaths caused from cardiovascular issues through educating with physical fitness programming as well as nutritional coaching.

Sarah Cooksey

Sarah Cooksey is a 37-year-old with 23 years in EMS/Fire Service and 14 years with the Tallahassee Fire Department, currently as an Engineer. Most importantly she’s a wife (of a firefighter) and mother of 2, who wrangles a small business as well as being President of the Tallahassee Chapter of Guardians of the Ribbon.

Ryan Pennington

Ryan Pennington is a Firefighter/Paramedic for the Charleston Fire Department in Charleston West Virginia. He is currently assigned to Station 8 and is part of the West Virginia Task Force 1 USAR team. He has over 15 years of combined Fire, Rescue and EMS experience. Ryan started with a local volunteer department and continued through EMS to spend five years as a Critical Care Paramedic. Ryan transferred to the career fire service in 2003 and has worked for the City of Charleston since 2007. Ryan is currently a WV State Instructor 2, Hazmat Technician, and Certified Fire Officer 2. He is very involved teaching EMS and firefighter safety around the country.


Benjamin Martin

Benjamin Martin is a lieutenant with the Henrico County Division of Fire (VA) and an 12-year veteran of emergency services. He is a graduate of and former Deputy Curriculum Chief with the Virginia Fire Officers Academy. He is passionate about not only  empowering aspiring leaders, but also supporting and promoting resiliency in existing leadership. He writes and speaks under the banner, Conscious and Intentional: The opportunity of leadership. He has two bachelor’s degrees, Allied-Health (Pre-**Med) and Fire Science, and is currently working on a Master’s in Public Administration.

Heather Baker

Heather Baker is a fire wife who experienced a justifiable near death experience with her firefighter. In Honor and Commitment, Heather shares with us the emotions that accompanied this difficult time, as well as her advice to other fire families.

Finally: the resource you need to live with honor & commitment both at home and on the job.

About the Author

As founder of the non-profit 24-7 COMMITMENT, Lori Mercer has helped thousands of firefighter families thrive in the sometimes thrilling, sometimes challenging world of firefighting.

The organization grew from the grass roots via social media when Lori (with the permission and support of her firefighter husband Dan) shared a blog post in July 2012 about the challenges of their marriage and her struggles to understand the fire life.The emails that flooded in were filled with emotion.  Many were struggling and needed to hear this message.  They were not alone.

Since that first blog post, the mission grew to create safe, encouraging communities for spouses of firefighters (the Fire Wife Sisterhood), Marriage Weekends and the Honor Guard, a private community for men who are devoted to their marriages and the fire service.

The organization has created resources specifically for marriage and family of first responders that never existed before.  And brought together a community of peer support and accountability to keep our marriages strong and our firefighters focused on safely and skillfully doing what they love as a firefighter.

Lori now brings you the first printed resource available from 24-7 COMMITMENT, for you to keep handy as a day-to-day reference, and to share with your department or other firefighter families.

Proceeds Benefit 24-7 COMMITMENT

A 501(c)3 organization on a mission to bring marriage and family support to first responders.

The stress of the job, the schedules and more have resulted in a significantly high divorce rate amongst first responders.  Our goal is to change that trend and bring the specific resources and community support needed to give fire families encouragement, tools and peers to help them be their best in all facets of the 24-7 COMMITMENT lifestyle:  marriage, family, health and their purpose / career.