After six years as a retained firefighter, the local deli manager says ‘it’s made me a better person in terms of thinking of other people.’
Managing Dunkeld’s Scottish Deli and working as a retained firefighter is a balance but one worthwhile for Jane Saba.
She said: “It makes me think about the people I live in and actually I’m really happy in the community I live in.
“I know so many people now in the community, both from working in the fire service and working in the Deli.
“I’ve got to know lots and lots of people and that’s a really nice feeling.”
For Jane Saba, getting involved with the fire crew in Dunkeld started just by getting to know some of the team.
Soon after a ‘casual chat’, Jane Saba was gearing up and training up after making it through the beep test.
Keeping fit was one of the reasons why Saba decided to join the local firefighting team.
She explained: “I went along, and I had a really nice, casual chat, with our watch manager, and he told me a bit about it and the benefits of joining.
“You get very into the community work, so there are all sorts of variants to the job of being a retained firefighter.
“For me, one of the key areas was I knew it would keep me fit, fit, healthy and strong.
“You have to be able to carry quite a lot of weight if you’re in your breathing apparatus gear.”
Although Dunkeld is a peaceful town set against the highland countryside’s backdrop, it is not short of incidents that the fire service is crucial.
Jane Saba said: “In the six year’s I’ve been in, you can have two weeks where there are no call outs, it’s very quiet, which is great because that means people are safe and well.
“Or you can have four call outs in a day, you know, you have several call outs within the next few days.
“You can never tell, and you’ll never know when the next emergency is going be, so you have to be on your toes.”
Which is a commendable responsibility for anyone within the community, but it does not mean you have to take on another full-time job.
Retained firefighters have to make it clear what their commitments are so the service will understand and work out the best balance between the commitments.
‘I cannot be available all day everyday’, says Jane Saba, ‘I’ve got a deli to manage.’
“So when I’m in the Deli, and we don’t have an endless supply of staff, I can’t just drop everything and leave the Deli when I’m working.
“And the fire service understands that as well, you have to commit to the job your working and sometimes I can be working from home so that means I can be available, but that’s not always the case.” Says Jane Saba.
‘As and when I can be back on call, then I’ll do that’, she adds.
More information about becoming a retained firefighter in Highland Perthshire can be found on: https://www.myjobscotland.gov.uk/emergency-services/scottish-fire-and-rescue-service/jobs
Alternatively, Jane Saba recommends dropping by for a chat, much like the one she had, to hear from the crew themselves about what’s involved in being a local firefighter.
The Dunkeld crew have a drill night every Wednesday between 7 and 9 pm where they are practising, but people are welcome to visit to find out more.