QUEANBEYAN Rural Fire Service's newly minted captain Wayne Dalton can rarely be found without his pager by his side. The little electronic device alerts him of any reported fires and even if it's 4am and pitch black, he's on his way and ready to go.
The 42-year-old hasn't been without his pager since he first joined the RFS back in 2000. He has previously been given the role of deputy captain and also performs additional roles as an air base manager helping to organise aerial response teams.
"A work colleague was part of the RFS and suggested I join. They were looking for drivers and I was looking for a hobby, so it was a good fit," he said.
"It's a good hobby although it can take up a lot of your time.
"I've got a lot of good friends that I've met through the RFS either in this brigade or in other fields. There's a lot of camaraderie, we're very accepting of new members. We've recently had another 15 join."
Mr Dalton was recently elected to the role of captain following the departure of David Doblinger who had been in that position for the past four years.
Mr Doblinger is now the deputy group officer, a role which includes mentoring a number of brigades and commanding at larger incidents.
"Being the captain is about pulling everyone together and making sure it runs as efficiently as possible," Mr Dalton said.
"I am looking forward to it, it will be a challenge. I've supported the previous captain ... so I've had an insight into the role. I know more of my time will be taken away and I probably won't be able to do as much of the specialty work because my focus will be here."
In his time with the RFS, Mr Dalton has been attended large scale incidents including the Canberra fires, Black Saturday in Victoria, fires around Hobart and in the most recent fire season blazes at Bargo and Wirritin.
"The Canberra bush fires were probably the biggest but the worst devastation I saw was the Black Saturday fires," he said.
"Going through Marysville, really as part of a clean up crew and seeing sticks that were left on these massive trees was amazing, there were houses that were just totally demolished. Each fire has different characteristics so it can have different effects at the end of the day."