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Urban Fire Fighters: The Strength of Occupational Folklife

Since the first horse-drawn fire engines clanged down a city street, fire fighting has been an urban service occupation that has continued to generate a feeling of romance and respect. Yet beyond the excitement and pride felt by those who advance the hose lines, make the rescues or throw the ladders, there are a variety of techniques, customs, gestures and stories that form the work culture passed from one generation of fire fighters to the next. The veteran's advice, for example, given over a hot cup of coffee after a rookie has just run the line on his first working fire, shapes the way a new firefighter will think, act, and feel on the ...

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