WHILE this season means fun in the sun for most of us, for the firemen of NSW Fire and Rescue it's the most dangerous time of the year.
Behind the bright yellow uniforms are the men and women who do their best to ensure our holidays don't turn into disaster.
Station officer Tony Gutteridge, who joined what was then the NSW Fire Brigade at 23 and has never looked back, is now the commander at Mt Druitt fire station.
"It's a good career," he said.
Risking his life regularly hasn't changed his mind.
He said firemen learn quickly to put their jobs before their feelings.
"We've got to do the best we can do to help the people who are there," he said.
"So you switch off to what's happening elsewhere and get the job done."
The friendship the firemen share is what officer Gutteridge said gets them through their darkest hours.
After each incident the firemen gather at the station and talk about their experiences.
"You're like a family," he said.
"You develop a mateship and you look after each other."
Mt Druitt fire station has had its share of potentially disastrous fires such as the blaze at Shalvey that police believe was lit by local youths.
Officer Gutteridge works closely with the community and said young locals get a bad rap.
"They don't deserve half the reputation they get — there are issues everywhere you go," he said.
But he always says that prevention is better than a cure.
"It puts us out of a job but if it makes the people in the community safe then it's great," he said. "That's our key role."