The core business of fire‐fighting organizations is typically seen as emergency response. For a range of reasons, however, fire‐fighting organizations face increasing…
The core business of fire‐fighting organizations is typically seen as emergency response. For a range of reasons, however, fire‐fighting organizations face increasing pressures to develop new capabilities. In the midst of multiple changes, individual organizations need to develop strategic plans that allow them not only to change the organization, but also to develop the capabilities of its personnel. This paper considers the case of one large Australian fire‐fighting organization’s attempts to develop new in‐house educational practices. These attempts can be seen retrospectively to build on previous cultural practices without causing industrial revolt, and at the same time to encourage aspiring middle managers to respond to emerging corporate goals.
This paper aims to critically appraise the representation of women through photo‐essays used immediately following the December 26, 2004 tsunami disaster. Through analysis…
This paper aims to critically appraise the representation of women through photo‐essays used immediately following the December 26, 2004 tsunami disaster. Through analysis of photo‐essay images published online, the author argues that women were largely represented in the samples as helpless victims who are passive, prone and inhabiting domestic or quasi‐domestic settings. The paper argues that a “disaster genre” has emerged, and that disaster images matter. The disaster community needs to care about the “ethics of seeing”, so that the viewer can “see” women, not simply as domesticated, vulnerable, passive and prone but in their diverse and complex lives and roles.
This paper utilizes methodology developed within the emerging discipline of visual sociology, as applied to a sample of photo‐essays published online by international aid agencies in the weeks following the tsunami disaster. Data sorting of the four visual essays was done in response to three interpretative questions. In total, 65 images were interpreted across four visual essays.
A total of 26 images included women, and in these “the look” of the women suggested passivity, distress, and being in a state of being “cared for”. Relationally, women were represented in terms of domestic or quasi‐domestic locales. About 60 percent of the images included men, whereas 35.5 percent included women. There were no images in the 65 surveyed showing women actively involved in the physical labor of disaster response. In comparison, 35 percent of the images showed men involved in physical labor associated with disaster recovery.
The participation of women in pre‐ and post‐disaster planning and recovery is complex, and this complexity should not be made invisible by the visual representation of their lived experience. Agencies should actively develop policies and practices to ensure that women's diverse participation in disaster recovery is reflected in their choice of photographic materials published online.
High originality. The gendered nature of visual representation following a disaster is explored through the interpretation of four photo‐essays published online. An argument is put that disaster images matter, and that aid agencies have a responsibility to ensure that the complexity and diversity of women's disaster experiences are represented.
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 fire‐fighters' work in one fire‐fighting organisation in Australia, and the rising importance of “clean” white‐collar work to emergency management.
This paper aims to initiate a conversation within the disaster community about the applicability of “critical reflection” to the professional work of firefighters…
This paper aims to initiate a conversation within the disaster community about the applicability of “critical reflection” to the professional work of firefighters. “Critical reflection” is a term commonly used within the nursing and teaching professions. Although it has contested meanings, it generally conveys the sense of purposeful enquiry about one's professional conduct, ethics and decision making. Fire fighting labor is no longer blue collar, and firefighters in western fire fighting agencies require increasingly complex capabilities and accountabilities. Could “critical reflection” be added to post‐incident debrief as a core professional capability?
The paper draws on the concept of “critical reflection” as it has been developed within the professional fields of nursing and teaching. It then considers the applicability of and importance of this concept to the professional field of firefighting.
The meanings and applications of “critical reflection” vary, but the inclusion of dialogue about it exists within many nurse and teacher education courses. It can be argued to provide professionals with an opportunity to engage in dialogue about their labor, and thereby scrutinise their professional conduct and the ethical dilemmas of their work.
This paper calls for a paradigmatic shift in the approach taken by educators who work with firefighters. It argues that instructional methods based on rote learning, chalk and talk, and show and tell training are insufficient as a means of developing firefighters capable of responding and adapting to the complex demands implicit within increasingly professionalized firefighting labor. Future firefighters will need to be adaptive, reflective and accountable; able to demonstrate discursive and inquisitive capabilities; and engage in reflected actions both on and off the incident ground.
High originality. This is the first time the intellectual traditions and debates implicit within “critical reflection” have been linked to the work of firefighters.