Commissioner Paul Baxter has more than 30 years of fire service experience. Originally he served as a volunteer firefighter, then as a firefighter with the New Zealand Air Force. He became a fulltime firefighter with the New Zealand Fire Service. He worked through the ranks until the New Zealand Fire Service appointed Paul as National Commander; a year after the devastating 2012 Christchurch earthquake.
In addition to his firefighting credentials, which included being on an incident management team during the 2001 Christmas bushfires in NSW, Commissioner Baxter was a volunteer ambulance officer for many years. Recently, in partnership with St John Ambulance, he implemented a co-responder program between the fire service and ambulance service in New Zealand which is credited with saving many lives.
Commissioner Paul Baxter is highly qualified and experienced in firefighting, rescue, disaster management and senior command. He holds a degree in business, and is a certified company director with the New Zealand Institute of Directors. He studied advanced management at the Melbourne School of Business. Paul is a Fellow of the Institution of Fire Engineers and a Member of the New Zealand Institute of Management. Commissioner Baxter also completed the Executive Fire Officer Program at the United States Fire Academy.