Labor is committing over $50 million to beef up the fire-fighting force of NSW by 600 personnel over the next three years in its latest promise ahead of state elections in March.
Opposition leader Chris Minns said while the state's population has increased by one million over the past decade, the headcount of firefighters has been reduced by 76 personnel.
In comparison, senior executives at Fire and Rescue NSW have doubled from 13 to 26 and administration staff have increased by over 20 per cent.
"When the sirens go off and the fire trucks leave the station, more often than not they (firefighters) have no idea what they're about to confront," he told reporters flanked by firefighters.
"It might be a house fire ... or it could be a devastating bushfire that is increasing in rapidity and occurrences in NSW as a result of climate change.
"There's an urgent need to make sure that we've got the emergency services personnel in place, in our communities, in our suburbs to keep us safe when things go wrong," the one-time firefighter said.
The Labor leader said over 650,000 hours of overtime had been logged in the past year making it an untenable and wasteful management of taxpayer funds.
Mr Minns said there has also not been an active recruitment campaign in the past decade urging school leavers to consider a career in emergency services.
"It (the announcement) is part of our re-investment in public services in NSW. This money can't be skimmed."
Earlier on Friday, Mr Minns threatened to report former deputy premier John Barilaro to the Independent Commission against Corruption if he failed to answer questions about the Black Summer grants program.
A damning report by the NSW Auditor-General revealed Mr Barilaro's office intervened in the program and inexplicably created a $1 million minimum for fast-tracked bushfire recovery projects.
That threshold cut about 10 projects from a shortlist, including all five from Labor electorates.
The $541.8 million Bushfire Local Economic Recovery program was jointly funded by the state and federal governments and administered by NSW.
The audit, tabled in NSW parliament on Thursday, showed 21 projects worth more than $95 million were funded in coalition seats and one worth $12.5 million in an independent electorate.
Australian Associated Press