THERE'S a lot more to the job in the world of firefighting these days, and Paul Hartley would know.
The Fire and Rescue NSW Gunnedah Deputy Captain has just clocked up 47 years of service - the longest serving firefighter at the local brigade.
When the 67-year-old joined as a teenager, he just put fires out, but today "everything's changed" and you have to "just go with the flow and adapt to the changes".
"It's all changed - and all for the better, we've broadened what we do," he said.
"Once upon a time you just went and put fires out, but since then we've gone on to HAZMAT, terrorism, medical first responders, education. We're Fire and Rescue plus now, and there's a lot of plusses on there."
Despite this, Mr Hartley loves pretty much everything about the service, and has made life-long mates at the local brigade that are like an extended family to him.
"If you need a hand with something, you just ask and somebody will put their hand up," he said.
It's that camaraderie which keeps him jumping into the truck every time he gets a call out.
"It kicked off when I was taking the captain at the time's daughter out and he said 'if you're hanging around you might as well join up'," he added.
"So I joined up, and her and I never went on but the fire brigade did."
And, the well-known local believes he has a few more years up his sleeve yet.
"Until I can't hop in the truck by myself without getting a leg up I'll keep turning up, or if I roll over one night and think 'bugger that nah I'm not going' then I'll know it's time to give it away," he laughed.
"When the pager goes off, you just get up and go and you get a bit of a spring in your step when you do it."
He admitted making it to 50 years might be a nice way go out, saying "47 is sort of in the middle, it's neither here nor there".
"Hopefully I'll get to 50 if the body stays together and the mind stays strong and they don't throw me out for being silly," he laughed.
"I suppose I'll get to 50, then I'll think about retiring then."
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