NSWFB appoints new Zone Commander for Northern Rivers

Published: 24th April 2007

NSW Fire Brigades (NSWFB) Assistant Commissioner Mark Brown, Director of Regional Operations, today announced the appointment of Superintendent Gary McKinnon to the position of Zone Commander, Northern Rivers.

Based in Goonellabah, Superintendent McKinnon will be responsible for an area stretching from Grafton in the south to Tweed Heads in the north. He will be responsible for 20 fire stations and over 300 staff who are a mixture of full-time and on-call firefighters and administrative staff.

Mr Brown said that Superintendent McKinnon was an experienced fire officer with almost two decades service in the NSWFB.

“Superintendent McKinnon has been a fire officer for 19 years. He has extensive operational experience and is keen to promote the role of the NSWFB in regional NSW.

Superintendent McKinnon said that it was an exciting time for the NSWFB given the diverse community and infrastructure growth across the majority of the Northern Rivers.

“I want to further progress the work of the NSWFB in community safety and I am looking forward to working with other emergency services and key community groups to ensure that residents across the Northern Rivers area have the knowledge they need to prepare for and prevent fires and other emergencies in northern NSW.”

“I will also be working to support and enhance the capability and capacity of all NSWFB firefighters across the Northern Rivers in all facets of emergency risk management,” Superintendent McKinnon said.

Prior to being appointed Zone Commander, Northern Rivers, Superintendent McKinnon regularly acted as Inspector for the Northern Rivers, Dubbo and Batemans Bay and had extensive experience in the Sydney Metropolitan area as an Inspector and Station Officer.

From 2001 to 2006, Superintendent McKinnon attended many large scale incidents including factory fires, building and bush fires and large hazardous materials incidents as part of the Incident Management Team. He also attended the tragic Kings Cross Backpackers fire in 1989, the Como-Jannali bushfires in 1994 and major fires across Sydney in 1998.

Superintendent McKinnon held a number of senior positions including a four-year appointment as Manager of Community Risk Management and as a member of the NSWFB Sydney Olympic Planning Team where he assisted in the development and training of all NSWFB firefighters to provide protection for the Sydney Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Superintendent McKinnon said he had family living on the Gold Coast and had based himself centrally in the Ballina Shire. He is a keen cyclist and is looking forward to pedaling his way around the Northern Rivers on his days off.