In the first of a new series, focusing on valued members of the Dartford community, Kelly met Dave Lane, from Dartford Fire Station. Dave, lives in Stone, having grown up in Horton Kirby. He became an on-call (retained) firefighter in 2003 and later joined as a wholetime member of Kent Fire and Rescue Service. Dave explained he had wanted to be a firefighter as a child. “Firefighters were a big part of the community, and I liked that. I did some other jobs after leaving school, and became an on-call firefighter and was lucky enough that an opportunity to join wholetime came up.’
‘The child in you says, this is the best job in the world’ he added. ‘There are challenges, but you get to work with and meet great people. There aren’t many jobs where you work with your friends. People appreciate what we do. Living where you work, and serving the community is a big deal for me. It’s nice to give back. The fact I do a job that doesn’t feel like work is great. Even at the end of a difficult job, you know you have made a difference, and I have to say, nothing beats driving down the road with the blue lights flashing knowing you are going to help someone.’
‘The hardest part of our job for me is seeing elderly people, maybe with dementia, who have not got anyone. Seeing people alone, it’s not a nice thing. We have all received dementia training and we do a lot of work with vulnerable sections of the community, trying to help them stay safe.
Anyone with a heart would be affected by it’.
“We offer free safety advice and services to everyone but if you know someone who might struggle to get out of their home if there was a fire – your elderly mum, a parent with a baby or a neighbour with health or mobility issues – give us a call on 0800 923 7000 or email email@example.com We arrange to visit them to give them fire safety advice and talk about the things they can do to prevent a fire happening in their home and where necessary, fit smoke alarms. We can also fit alarms with special features such as strobe lighting and vibrating
alarms for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. You can also get also get advice on our website: www.kent.fire-uk.org
“Asked for his thoughts on Dartford, Dave replies ‘This is an area that is up and coming: with exciting plans for a theme park in the area. Dartford’s got positive things going on and it’s a community to be proud of.’
Discussing his future plans Dave said ‘I’d like to think I’ll always be on a fire engine! I also run a running group called Free Fit which is a free running club for everyone over 16. It grew out of me helping a mate get fit and people started to join us. It’s another opportunity for me to help the community. It’s for everyone regardless of fitness, and it directly crosses with my firefighter role, as fitness is a key part of the job.’ For more information on Free Fit see www.freefit888.co.uk