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‘A great loss’: Firies call in to farewell Shane Fitzsimmons

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It’s NSW RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons’ last day on the job, and his colleagues have called in to say goodbye.

Listener and Wallacia Fire Brigade captain Jody phoned in to wish Mr Fitzsimmons luck in his new job as Commissioner of Resilience NSW.

“I’ve seen Shane on a number of occasions,” Jody told Deborah Knight.

“He turns up out of the blue when you least expect it, he’s always had time for the volunteers.

“He’s never shied away from coming over and saying hello and listening to everyone’s opinions.”

Inspector Ben Shepherd told Deborah Mr Fitzsimmons’ retirement “will be a great loss to the organisation”.

“We hope to see him on a truck soon, Deb!”

But Mr Fitzsimmons doesn’t miss a beat: he moves into his new Martin Place office tomorrow, starting his new role as the head of NSW’s new disaster recovery agency.

He told Deborah Knight he originally planned to leave the RFS in the middle of last year, but says “it didn’t feel right” to leave as the unprecedentedly devastating bushfire crisis began.

Now he’s looking forward to continuing to protect NSW in the face of all kinds of disasters, including drought.

“Whilst there’s an obvious and natural focus on the bushfires, those bushfires came for many people on top of already devastating circumstances.

“We were running out of water in a lot of areas leading into the last fire season.

“There’s no doubt we’ve got a much greater … need to invest … in preparedness.”

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