The experience of being a live-in firefighter is one that most who have ever done it would not trade for anything. “Living the dream,” it is called by many, particularly those who never had the opportunity, and they are not wrong.
A few things do change, arguably for the better, after you move out and on. Language is one. Fire stations are not kind to the vocabulary. The F-word is not only a noun, verb, and adjective, but in skilled firehouse hands, can be used as punctuation. I remember having to consciously restrict myself when outside the station in “normal” company to avoid saying things like “pass the f@^*ing potatoes.” As time passes, so does the propensity to use the F-word in every sentence. Once or twice a paragraph suffices.
Sleep improves as well. When living in the station, I think I slept eight straight hours once a week, maybe. Between calls, staying up late bullshitting, and calls, three to five hours was a normal night’s sleep. This experience is excellent practice for the period following the birth of your first and subsequent children. That amount of sleep would now leave me on a continuous coffee intravenous.
The live-in opportunity is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Thankfully, it is one you only get to do when you’re young.