A long-time member of the Bankstown Bushwalkers, the Sefton resident is looking forward to taking part in more of the club’s activities, and has also joined the Bankstown State Emergency Service (SES) as a volunteer.
He is also planning a “relaxed” 1,000 km bike ride from Adelaide to the Flinders Ranges with his brother who is a paramedic.
“We are just going to take our time and enjoy the trip,” he said with a laugh.
Originally trained as a nurse at St Joseph’s Hospital in Auburn where he met his wife Justine, he switched jobs to become a firefighter at the age of 25 and admits his family have put up with a lot to accomodate his career.
“It’s been a fantastic career and I have loved being part of a great team,” he said.
“In a nutshell you have to make positive memories out of confronting situations.”
A seminal event in his career was the response to the Thredbo landslide in 1997, which killed 18 and included the difficult rescue of Stuart Diver which tested FRNSW’s building rescue capability.
“I had done my course 12 months earlier and we were just building up our equipment level when the landslide occurred,” he said.
“It was good to be able to put that skill to work, and the network we had built up during that (earlier) multiagency training all came together.”
While the response to big incidents makes the news such as the fatal Glenbrook Train crash in 1999, the 2004 South East Asian tsunami and the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, he said some of the hardest work he had done was at smaller jobs.
“When you are the first crew at a house fire or a road crash rescue,” he said.
“Then it’s just you and your crew and that’s when you work the hardest.
“Your crew rely on each other and that’s the fabric of the fire brigades and that’s what makes great teamwork.”