The rise and rise of clean, white-collar (fire-fighting) work

Merilyn Childs*, Michael Morris, Valerie Ingham

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Australian newspapers, like those in other first-world countries, valorise fire-fighters through images more typically associated with heroic blue-collar "battlers": Sweat, ash, uniforms and firestorms, punctuated with tales of heroic deeds and personal sacrifice. Yet increasingly, much of the work of fire-fighters is associated with the grunt of "clean work" - Report writing, community engagement, prevention and recovery activities, and so on. This paper considers the changing nature of career firefighters' work in one fire-fighting organisation in Australia, and the rising importance of "clean" white-collar work to emergency management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)409-414
Number of pages6
JournalDisaster Prevention and Management
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Australia
  • Disasters
  • Fire services
  • Labour


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