Former NSW RFS boss Shane Fitzsimmons on recovery

Ask the person in the mirror 'Are you OK?' says Shane Fitzsimmons

The pain and fear of the past six to 12 months have taken their toll on everyone.

Drought, bushfires, spot floods and a pandemic - the pain was indiscriminate and the effects will be felt for a long time.

No one is more aware of the impact of these amassing disasters than the RFS chief turned NSW Resilience Commissioner, Shane Fitzsimmons.

"Everyone has been touched and affected," he said. "We've all got our own stories, we've all got our own experiences.

"The way the fires, the way the disasters, have affected us is going to be very different to each and every one of us."

But two opposing forces unite us - grief, and hope.

No one has been unaffected by the traumatic shift of the past few months, "what we all share in is grief and concern and despair", Mr Fitzsimmons told the Winter Solstice audience.

"That's normal and as a matter of fact I've got more concern for those people that think they've gone through this season and everything is okay because it simply isn't," he said.

Mr Fitzsimmons said one of the most powerful things people could do was openly and fearlessly talk about their emotions and experiences.

"It's critically important to have those conversations because it hurts us all in different ways..." he said.


But the best of humanity has arisen from the ashes of the worst of Mother Nature.

"While you're asking how others are going, ask the person in the mirror are you going okay? And if you're thinking to yourself 'No, I'm not', put your hand up talk to someone," he said.

"We've all got hope, we're seeing renewal we're seeing recovery.

"Look out for each other, it matters now more than ever before."

This story Ask the person in the mirror 'Are you OK?' says Shane Fitzsimmons first appeared on The Border Mail.