This Metropolitan Fire and Emergency Services Board (MFB) project makes history in metropolitan fire fighting services in Australia. It is the first large scale fire industry 'gender research project' in Australia and as such has had particular challenges and dilemmas. The MFB is not alone in having mostly male operational fire fighters. In many ways the findings and issues directly parallel those elsewhere in the fire industry internationally. Research around the world to understand the masculine history of firefighting has generated uncomfortable findings and will generate diverse views: these findings also represent an opportunity to reflect and implement a progressive set of policies and programs.