Newly graduated probationary constable David Silburn is no stranger to the dangerous experiences emergency services personnel face on a daily basis.
The Southern Highlands resident joined Berrima Rural Fire Service nine years ago.
Mr Silburn used to walk past Berrima Fire Station every afternoon. He said as a result he "sort of just walked" into a life as a volunteer firefighter.
A little over 12 months ago he joined the NSW Police Force.
The former horticulturalist had "always wanted to become a police officer".
"I thought it was time to do something different where I could actually start a career," Mr Silburn said.
Last year, training at the Goulburn Police Academy took up most of his time but the bushfires over summer beckoned.
An incident on December 19 would leave Mr Silburn in the Concord Burns Unit.
The firefighter said it all started when the Berrima unit was tasked to carry out property protection at a dog kennel in Bargo.
Mr Silburn and another firefighter were charged with manning a pump.
"We were quite happy... we had the wind at our back, so it wasn't too big a drama," he said.
That's when things changed.
"As the fire approached, it started to spot over and around," the firefighter said.
"By the time we put the first little spot fire out the entire paddock was on fire.
"We had to run back to the truck and in the process we both got burnt."
The pair were trapped in the truck for about 20 minutes as the firestorm came over the top of the vehicle.
Mr Silburn does not remember much from that 20 minute period.
One thing that did stick in his mind was the heat.
"I remember looking out the window and seeing logs lined up catching on fire as the firestorm was going through, and just thinking of how hot it was," he said.
"The feeling of the truck shaking wasn't great either."
The pair then traveled to Bargo Sports Field where they were airlifted to Concord Hospital.
Mr Silburn had partial burns on his face, second degree burns on his right arm and first degree on his left arm.
Despite the emotional and physical trauma of this experience, Mr Silburn graduated with Class 341 from Goulburn Police Academy on July 19. The probationary constable said his attestation was surreal.
"It didn't feel real until I got to the police station and I was putting my firearm in the locker," he said.
The police officer started with Camden Police Area Command on July 22.
With little over a week on the job, Mr Silburn has found his experience as a firefighter useful.
He said the biggest similarity between the life of a police officer and a firefighter was the need to be aware of your surroundings.
"With fires you can predict what's going to happen, more often than not, but dealing with people and traffic, anything can happen, you're always on edge," he said.
"It's a different feeling, a good feeling."
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