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  • #16
    I TOTALLY AGREE WITH THE PROFESSIONALISM, THAT WE FIREFIGHTERS SHOULD HAVE IN OUR APPEARANCE. BUT THE CHIEFS TIMING IS TERRIBLE. WE HAVE ENTIRELY TOO MANY MAJOR ISSUES THAT SERIOUSLY NEED TO BE ADDRESSED. WE BREATH TOXIC DIESEL FUMES IN THE FIREHOUSES EVERYDAY BECAUSE THERE'S NO EXHAUST SYSTEM IN PLACE. WE HAVEN'T HAD A PAY-RAISE IN OVER 5 YEARS. WE HAVE A NEW RADIO SYSTEM IN PLACE, THAT'S HORRIBLE. WE CAN'T GET ANY RECEPTION IN HIGHRISE BUILDINGS OR UNDERGROUND TUNNELS. THESE ARE SOME SERIOUS CONCERNS THAT ME AND MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS HAVE. WE PUT OUR LIFE ON THE LINE EVERYDAY. WE HAVE NO CONFIDENCE IN ADMINISTRATION, BECAUSE ALL THEY SEEM TO BE CONCERNED ABOUT ARE CUSTOMER SERVICE, BEARDS, HAIR SYLES, AND PAJAMAS. AND THEY WONDER WHY THE MORALE IS DOWN. PLEASE GIVE ME A BREAK!!!!

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    • #17
      For the sake of SCBA facemask seal, I completely agree with the no beard policy, we have one as well. I used to be an avid Goatee (sp?) wearer and I have absolutely no problem with Goatee's no longer being allowed.

      As for the hair policy, that may go a little too far. There is no safety issue fighting fires with long hair. Your head and neck should be encapsulated in your hood and if your hair is long enough, the rest would flow down into your turnout coat. If you are talking about a matter of what looks professional and what doesn't, you are in to a battle of opinions that will rage on forever. Personally, I could care less on your appearance as long as the quality of care is present.

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      • #18
        I agree with the comments that have been posted here by the members of the DCFD, I can understand that there are 'bigger and better' problems that are more pressing, and that need to be addressed, before the whole hair issue.

        That having been said, I'd like to throw in my 2 cents.

        Having spent a few years in the Marines, I am no stranger to uniform regulations, and pretty strict ones at that. I do feel that image means a lot to the fire service. Sadly, in our case - perception can be reality in the public's eye's. If you present a neat, well dressed appearance, then you lend a sense of legitimacy to yourself.

        I feel that firefighters can have a mustache, as long as it doesn't interfere with their using their SCBA, and this can be easily determined by a fit test - as has been mentioned many times in this thread. I know many a firefighter that has a "Cookie duster" or a 'Handle bar mustache' that have no problem using SCBA.

        As far as earrings or piercing -- they shouldn't be worn while on duty. I think that other then a religious medallion (such as a Cross, or a Star of David) or a wedding band - jewelry of any sort shouldn't be worn while on duty.

        I know that professionalism isn't based upon looks. That 'the man makes the uniform' -- not the 'uniform making the man'..... However -- would you like to have a clean shaven firefighter with a clean uniform, pumping away on your fathers chest -- or would you like a disheveled firefighter, with an unkempt uniform, two or three days growth of facial hair, a nose ring, and multiple earrings doing compressions??

        I know, I know -- if the disheveled guy has the training - and knows what he's doing, and acts 'like a professional' then he's a professional....

        In my opinion, ( notice I said my opinion) you must not only act professionally, but look like a professional.



        ------------------
        Marc

        "In Omnia Paratus"

        -- The opinions presented here are my own; and are not those of any organization that I belong to, or work for.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by GHETTOGHOST:
          I THINK THE FACIAL HAIR ISSUE IS EASY TO SOLVE JUST HAVE A FIT TEST LIKE DCFDLT MENTIONED AND IF YOU PASS EACH YEAR YOU CAN KEEP THE FACIAL HAIR. AS FAR AS LONG HAIR AND CORNROWS NOT LOOKING PROFESSIONAL AND AFFECTING PERFORMANCE. I DON'T THINK A CITIZEN IS GOING TO COMPLAIN ABOUT A FF WITH CORNROWS OR LONG HAIR PULLING THEIR KID OUT OF A BURNING BUILDING. MY QUESTION IS, IT HAS BEEN SAID EITHER HERE OR ON OTHER FORUMS THAT LONG HAIR AND EARRINGS ON A MAN IS A HAZARD THAT EFFECTS HIS PERFORMANCE IF THIS IS SO THAN HOW COME A WOMAN CAN DO HER JOB WITH LONG HAIR AND EARRINGS?

          [This message has been edited by GHETTOGHOST (edited 04-04-2001).]
          Beleive me, long hair is a curse when you're in an SCBA with rubber straps. I'm ok with corn rows etc., but I can't stand dreadlocks. Coming from the dreadlock capital of the world, I've found that not only do they look bad on almost everybody, they smell and are apparently difficult to keep clean. Can you imagine trying to treat lice without just cutting 'em all off? No doggie doo haircuts in the fire service, please.

          Althea

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          • #20
            I don't pretend to know all the problems in the DC department but it does sound as if there are some very serious ones. If I understand what has been stated in some of the other posts there are problems with salary, training, and station houses. The Chief has decided to make changes in pajamas, hair, and beards. The problems with the slalries, training and station houses are all problems that must be dealt with during the budget process. I don't know what the deal with the pajamas is but it looks like the Chief is trying to correct what he sees as problems that can be corrected without waiting for the budget process. He may be trying to deal with the other problems also. Who knows? Sometimes Chiefs can't fix the most important problems over night but that doesn't mean we should allow all other problems to continue to exist. When there are as many problems needing attention as it appears the DC department has you have to start somewhere.

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            • #21
              Remember, it's not a no beard policy, but a "short" beard policy...1/4 inch. OSHA rules prohibit facial hair where the mask seals, of any length. Fit Test does not count, b/c of variability of hair (slicked for test doesn't equal slicked for job). Policy is not here for "safety" as Scooby claims, but because he doesn't want to see people with Muslim beards, or raggedy facial hair. As stated earlier, DC protects peoples of many ethnic groups, you're "clean-cut American" look is another's "redneck". Your "african american gansta" is another's boy next door. Your "Southern Maryland InBred" is someone else's Brother. Whatever preconcieved notions of appearance someone might have are out the window here. The only standards you can enforce are performance standards. And they don't enforce those.

              I do wish my Union would pick a real fight, rather than worry about beards and wish we had more ambulances to ride.

              Comment


              • #22
                Personally, I find it difficult to believe, that people who volunteered (in some way, shape or form) to join a para-military organization, with uniform and grooming standards, now have a difficult time obeying them. Isn't that part of the oath you take when you get your badge, to follow orders and regulations? Not to sound like a total (bleep)hole here, but stop whinnying that someone will enforce them.

                Second- There are many ways to solve many problems. Usually, you start small. How does the military take people of totally different backgrounds, beliefs, etc. etc. (like the Fire/Police Dept.) and instill a sense of "sameness"? First thing, EVERYONE becomes bald and females have hair that does not get below the ears I believe. Might be the neck, I don't know female standards, sue me Basically, to solve big problems, you have to start small. What happens if this new chief in say 2 years, gets you a pay raise, new equipment and more training for example. Is keeping short hair or a clean shave that big a deal anymore?

                Last and least. These "wonderful" references to ethnic backgrounds and their perception of what is professional...Ridiculous. Totally. I worked in New York. You can not tell me Washington DC is more "diverse" than the 5 boroughs. Yet, surprisingly, NYC firemen, all are clean shaven while working, and keep their hair to Dept regs without complaint. And you know? Like in DC, things are far from Valhalla.

                Ring it up to opinion if you want, but this "issue" is just something to b***h about. That is all it is. It is so far from pressing or important, it is just something to whine about, and ask for sympathy for.

                Doc DC3

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                • #23
                  To my brothers and sisters in DC, sorry to hear that something so petty is the hot topic and the unthinkable. It is sometimes hard to see how thay can find something so small to hack about, when the things being overlooked are so crucial, ie. training, safety, etc. I have come to the conclusion that it takes someone who has no clue of what they are doing, someone that would have to be so insecure of their abilities to lead and direct. that kind of someone to overlook the important for the petty. It happens more often than one would think and the precussions can be devestating. My prayers go out for guidence for your department.

                  On the other note, no matter how big or how small a policy is, it is to be followed and inforced. At my department hair is not to be on the collar and no facial hair other than a mustache that cannot be more than 1 inch below the corner of your mouth. If you break the rules you go home. Thats the way it was before i was hired and i don't expect them to change it for me. Besides It is hard enough maintaining the respect of the public anyhow.

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                  • #24
                    I agree with you Johnusn971....If you join/apply to an organization, knowing the uniform, hygeine/ grooming standards and now you seem to feel that it needs to be your way or the highway...give me a break...follow the rules...some of these people would not make it in the Military...and one last thing about DC being multi-cultural, which is all good, please do not use this as an excuse to disobey SOPS/ Regulations..A civilian that is in need of your assitance could care less what you look like, but his family members watching your acts do! People can say it to they are blue in the face that it does not matter what you look loke- it is how you do the job....yae right.. tell that to the Oral board when trying to get hired!

                    [This message has been edited by FireRebel (edited 04-05-2001).]

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Our dept. allows moustaches, but earrings on either gender (or nose rings, or eyebrow rings, or whatever-rings) are not allowed on fire calls. Most of the women in our dept. have shoulder length hair which is completely covered by our Nomex hoods. None of the guys presently have long hair, but two used to have it at waist length (yeah, we're in California). They put it in ponytails or pigtails under their helmet and hoods. Another dept. I know does only exterior structure protection and it seems like they all have dreadlocks--- they have extra long shrouds on their helmets, and dealies that cover their beards, as well as Nomex hoods.

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                      • #26
                        To the best of my knowledge their are no SCBA manufacturers out there that are willing to say it acceptable to have facial hair of any length while using their product. If this were indeed the case, wouldn't the supervisor of an individual who had facial hair and suffered a respiratory injury due to not having a proper seal be liable?

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Dalmatian90:
                          Professionalism has nothing to do with how you look, but how you act.
                          To say that beards or long hair present an "unprofessional" appearance is nothing but pure and simple prejudice, and we do no one any good perpetuating such prejudices.
                          Really, so all branches of the US military are prejudiced? All military schools, service academies and the overwhelming majority of police and fire departments are prejudiced? Interesting point of view.

                          Here's a question for you, Dal: Why do we wear uniforms? Is that a prejudice too?
                          If what you say is true, we could show up at Mrs. Smith's emergency in dirty cut-off shorts, flip flops and a food stained Mickey Mouse t-shirt, unshaven with hair down to our *** because, hey...Professionalism has nothing to do with how you look, but how you act. Gee, think of all that money we've wasted.
                          Give me a break. People join the fire service knowing that we are a para-military organization with rules and regulations that require them to work as part of a team, and to be recognizable as part of something larger than themselves, not 900 some odd individuals. There is an appropriate expression: "Lead, follow or get out of the way".

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            How can Chief Few ignore the law that OSHA sets (Copied and pasted from OSHA website) 29 CFR 1910.134:

                            (g)
                            Use of respirators. This paragraph requires employers to establish and implement procedures for the proper use of respirators. These requirements include prohibiting conditions that may result in facepiece seal leakage, preventing employees from removing respirators in hazardous environments, taking actions to ensure continued effective respirator operation throughout the work shift, and establishing procedures for the use of respirators in IDLH atmospheres or in interior structural firefighting situations.

                            (g)(1)
                            Facepiece seal protection.

                            (g)(1)(i)
                            The employer shall not permit respirators with tight-fitting facepieces to be worn by employees who have:

                            (g)(1)(i)(A)
                            Facial hair that comes between the sealing surface of the facepiece and the face or that interferes with valve function; or

                            (g)(1)(i)(B)
                            Any condition that interferes with the face-to-facepiece seal or valve function.

                            END OF PASTE

                            Setting uniform standards has to have a reason other than the chiefs likes and dislikes. If jewelry is forbidden than an SOP stating that all members are forbidden to wear it and the reasons for it (Conducts heat etc.) If an exception is made for someone wearing a cross then the SOP is no longer valid.

                            If long hair is considered dangerous to FFing then this must be explained in the SOP and acceptable hair standards must be described. If hair is dangerous than having long hair is not the problem. Having long hair that sticks out of the PPE is. Thus the SOP for structural FFing should state that at no time is hair to be visible outside of the PPE.

                            The point I'm trying to make is that SOPS must be performance oriented. There are many ways to meet the criteria. It is nobodies bussines how the criteria is met.

                            Take the OSHA standard above. It does not state that a beard is forbidden but that hair must not get between the face and seal. If you can figure out how to grow a partial beard that does not interfere with the seal then you meet this perfomance standard.

                            By setting performance standards and not getting into the details of how they are met we will create a fire department where all who can meet our standards are welcome.



                            ------------------
                            Brian Johnson
                            Assistant Chief
                            Okinawa, Japan

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Performance Standards in teh DCFEMS?? Ha ha

                              I believe the root of this problem is that no one is happy with the chief. Everyone has wondered how far the Union would let him go before actively fighting him. While most of us would have rather had some other issue be the crux of a Union / Chief fight, I guess when ol'Ronnie told ol'Ray that he could have a beard, well then the ol'sh1t hit the fan.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                There ara a few things most of you people dont understand about my Fire Dept.
                                1. WE DONT FOLLOW OSHA.
                                2. WE ARE STILL NOT NFPA COMPLIANT.
                                3. ALL RULES DONT APPLY IN D.C.
                                4. Chief Few charged those 5 men with and get this " FAILURE TO WEAR UNIFORM CAP SNUGGLY ON HEAD". Aricle XXI out of our Order Book, safety is NOT THE ISSUE.

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