All About Captain Holloway
Captain Dave Holloway has been a Canton Township firefighter for 20 years and he loves his job. This is readily apparent as he leaves the library to get back into his firetruck and two families with kids shyly approach. He gives them a huge, welcoming grin and invites them to sit in the fire truck while the delighted grown-ups snap photos of the giggling, excited youngsters.
Holloway is a native of the west side of Detroit, having grown up in Westland. During his time in Westland schools, he was heavily involved in team sports, an experience that shaped his life and led to him becoming a firefighter. Firefighters have to work as a team, and Holloway uses the skills he learned from sports every day as a team member here in the township.
In 2007, early on in his career, he was awarded Canton Firefighter of the Year. Holloway does many outreach events with the fire department including tours and school visits, and he has plenty planned in October for Fire Safety and Prevention Month. He’s also a reader and his favorite book is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.
A Day in the Life of a Firefighter
Spending every day with a group of firefighters is a lot like regular life. While the team gets along most of the time, they have their moments as well. However, the bond between the crew prevails whether they are fighting fire together, sharing dinner every night as a group, taking turns inspecting the trucks, going to classes, working EMS calls, or catching up with a previous shift crew to see where the day is at.
In Canton, firefighters work 24-hour shifts. At the start of each shift, Capt. Holloway changes into his uniform, checks in with the previous shift crew, has breakfast and attends classes. Holloway mentions that learning never stops for a firefighter, and they spend time in class every day doing various types of training. All firefighters are trained paramedics and there is a lot of studying to be done to stay up to date on all the protocols, especially since COVID, when many protocols changed.
The Toll on the Mental Health of First Responders
Mental health has become a much bigger issue in the lives of firefighters. Sadly, statistics show that one firefighter per day commits suicide. Being a firefighter can be both mentally and physically exhausting for the men and women who work in Canton Township.
Holloway says the worst day he has ever had as a firefighter was Thursday, August 24, 2023. On that day, he came into work to deal with massive flooding from the storms the night before and worked to carry people from their cars submerged in waist-deep water on Michigan Avenue. They dealt with severe storms, including a tornado, later in the day. In total, the department fielded 82 calls in 24 hours and Holloway had never been so mentally and physically exhausted as he was after that shift. Luckily, most days are not that intense for our firefighters.
Tips for Fire Safety & Prevention Month
October is Fire Safety and Prevention Month, and Capt. Holloway has some tips that every family should keep in mind to stay safe in case a fire starts in their home. He recommends always changing the batteries in your smoke detectors in the fall and spring to coincide with Daylight Savings Time, and to sleep with your bedroom doors closed. In the event of a fire, these tips can save you much-needed minutes and can be the difference between getting out of the home or not.
Once you have gotten out your home, you should always have a place for everyone in your household to meet and stick together. Make it someplace that will never change—like a tree in the backyard or your mailbox. The most important thing for the firefighters to know when they come on the scene is that everyone is out of the home and safe.
Creating a family safety plan can help get all of these things written down, and your family should periodically practice the plan, much like a fire drill in school, so that everyone knows how to get out of the home, where to meet, and to not leave that spot during an emergency. Holloway also emphasized the importance of working carbon monoxide detectors in your home and having one on each floor of your house.
Events in Canton
While each year the firehouse puts on lots of wonderful, free events for families in the area including Spray Day, Touch a Truck, Movie Night at the Fire Station, and National Night Out, in October they will host their big Open House on October 7, 2023 from 11:00 AM-2:00 PM at Fire Station #1 at 1100 S. Canton Center Road.
This event is free for everyone and will have demonstrations (including how the Jaws of Life work), snacks, gifts and giveaways for kids, and opportunities for kids to try on the gear firefighters wear on a call, experience the fire safety house, and put out their own fake fire.