Port Macquarie is experiencing a fiery changing of the red guard with a new fire captain, Rob Read blazing a trail at Port Macquarie Fire and Rescue NSW.
The former station deputy captain has spent over 30 years on the front lines of blazes in Australia and the United Kingdom before turning his efforts to manage the team of 20 retained part time firefighters in Port Macquarie.
Arriving in Australia during 2003 after serving as a firefighter overseas for 21 years, Mr Read then joined Fire Rescue in 2006.
He now takes over from former Port Macquarie retained firefighter captain Damian 'Damo' Buchtmann, who has moved into a full time role after eight and a half years of applying.
Read said he was settling into the new role since late last year, including dealing with the station's average 18 incidents a week.
"It's more management work and I've got a good team of 20 firefighters to coordinate," he said.
"We're working well together and looking out for each other, helping each other if anyone has a problem.
"I enjoy being able to help the community, the comradeship and working with the team.
"Being able to bring the team back up at their worst because we know the buck stops with us, we have deal with it and finish it."
As part of the new role, Read will be arranging training, leading teams as incident commander, arranging community activities and making sure the station is running efficiently to respond to about 900 incidents a year.
Former fire captain Buchtmann said the transition had been made easier by Read's efforts as deputy captain.
"Rob has been a deputy captain for about 12 to 18 months," he said.
"We've worked closely together, I was able to work with him and knew that he could perform the role as acting captain during away periods.
"It made the transition easier."
During time away from work, Mr Read said he enjoys fishing in Port Macquarie's waterways and going to the gym.
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