Myrtle Beach Fire Department hosts first Companion Fire Academy for spouses

Grand Strand

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – The Myrtle Beach Fire Department hosted its first companion fire academy on Sunday to show the people closest to them what they do everyday on the job.

The wives and significant others of 14 different firefighters suited up in their own turnout gear, went through the agility training course, climbed up the ladder on the engine, and even drove a fire engine at Sunday’s academy.

Chief of the Myrtle Beach Fire Department, Tom Gwyer says it’s important to show the people who support the firefighters at home what they do on the job.

“We try to disassociate our personal lives from our professional life, but some of the things that that we see, some of the things that we experience on the job, inevitably, we take home. Without the support of our family to be there it would make the job much more difficult,” Chief Gwyer said.

Mikayla Moskov was one of the women who participated in Sunday’s event. She works for the Horry County Police Department but is married to a Myrtle Beach firefighter. Moksov says the fire academy gave her a taste of what her husband does during his 24-hour shifts.

“Sometimes it is very difficult for them to come home, and they may not be able to talk about what they’ve been through, you may not know exactly what’s going on, but you just know you need to be there for them, and that’s both similar and different because I’m used to knowing what’s going on with Horry County Police, but I don’t always have the benefit of knowing what’s going on in Myrtle Beach,” Moskov said.

While some parts of the fire academy were physically challenging, some say being married to a firefighter can be even more difficult at times.

“It’s a little bit more challenging than I think some people believe. They work 24-hour shifts and then they’re off for 48 hours, and a lot of times depending on how busy they are, they’re exhausted if they’ve been up a lot,” Leslie Oleszkowicz, who is married to Lt. Oleszkowicz with MBFD said.

“Having gone through this today, it definitely feels like I’ll have a better understanding of what he’s going through on a day to day basis, what his training entails and how I can better be there for him when he comes home from the station,” Moskov said.

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