Superintendent David Jones has stepped into the role of Blue Mountains Rural Fire District chief, pledging to bring stability to the organisation and continue the legacy of his predecessor.
Superintendent Jones took over as acting district manager at the beginning of last week following the departure of David Hoadley and will stay in the position at least until the Rural Fire Service (RFS) advertises for a permanent replacement in three months.
The 49-year-old has already been on the ground speaking to volunteers to get a feel for the challenges faced by the district.
“If I don’t know how the grass roots people are feeling then I really don’t know what’s happening in my district,” he said.
“I need to understand what the big picture is, I need to understand what the issues are. If people have specific issues we need to try to deal with those as fast as possible and solve that.”
With a number of leadership changes over the past decade, Superintendent Jones said it was important to establish greater stability in the district. He believed he was well placed to deliver with almost 30 years’ firefighting experience to go with management and development roles with the RFS.
Having come from the Conobolas Zone — the same as his predecessor — Superintendent Jones said he was in a good position to continue the work begun by Superintendent Hoadley.
With the Bureau of Meteorology predicting a harsher summer could be on the way, Superintendent Jones said that the army of volunteers at his disposal was in good stead to confront any bushfire emergency.
“We’re really lucky in this district that we have 1700-odd volunteers with hearts of gold who are ready to respond to assist the communtiy, we see that every day,” he said.
Regardless of the challenges ahead, Superintendent Jones said he was relishing his time in the Mountains.
“I enjoy it down here. I still smile every morning when I come to work,” he said. “So I reckon I’m a pretty lucky person.”