1. #1

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    Default Can an Ex-Chief Still Wear Uniform Insignia?

    Hope you guys will allow a question here from "just a wife". I've searched the Internet for an answer and found nothing. You all seem to represent a lot of departments and states; maybe you can help me.
    My husband is a FF in a very small volunteer department (charter of 30). He was Secretary for 18 years, then Chief for 4 years, but when a change in job responsibilities took him out of town 3 to 4 days a week, he felt he could not longer do the job properly. When it came time for the yearly vote on officers, he didn't accept the nomination for Chief and stepped back down to FF 2 years ago.
    That's the history, now here's the question: can he still wear his Chief's insignia (5 bugles) on his dress uniform shirt? Dress shirts are ONLY worn at special events like the Christmas Dinner the Town gives us, for the picture to go in the local paper, and funerals of fellow members. Never during fire calls. There is no mention of uniforms in the by-laws.

    Does anyone know if there are some "rules" about this? Accepted practices?

    Thanks for any help you can give me!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pam713 View Post
    Hope you guys will allow a question here from "just a wife". I've searched the Internet for an answer and found nothing. You all seem to represent a lot of departments and states; maybe you can help me.
    My husband is a FF in a very small volunteer department (charter of 30). He was Secretary for 18 years, then Chief for 4 years, but when a change in job responsibilities took him out of town 3 to 4 days a week, he felt he could not longer do the job properly. When it came time for the yearly vote on officers, he didn't accept the nomination for Chief and stepped back down to FF 2 years ago.
    That's the history, now here's the question: can he still wear his Chief's insignia (5 bugles) on his dress uniform shirt? Dress shirts are ONLY worn at special events like the Christmas Dinner the Town gives us, for the picture to go in the local paper, and funerals of fellow members. Never during fire calls. There is no mention of uniforms in the by-laws.

    Does anyone know if there are some "rules" about this? Accepted practices?

    Thanks for any help you can give me!


    Did he "retire" from the department? Oh wait you said he stepped down to FF.

    Why would he? If he wants to wear the uniform with all the 5 trumpet insignia's then he should have stayed the Chief. This would be a breach of etiquette.

    He can wear the uniform of his choosing for his funeral.

    The answer is no he can't. But I would check with the by-laws and the president of the department.
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    Agreed. If he is still on the department as an active member he should wear the appropraite brass for his rank. If he had retired then that would be a different story.
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    also agree he should not wear it at all no matter what the by laws say if he is not a chief any more then he has no business wearing them. now when he leaves the department he can wear something that says past chief or something like that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pam713 View Post
    Hope you guys will allow a question here from "just a wife". I've searched the Internet for an answer and found nothing. You all seem to represent a lot of departments and states; maybe you can help me.
    My husband is a FF in a very small volunteer department (charter of 30). He was Secretary for 18 years, then Chief for 4 years, but when a change in job responsibilities took him out of town 3 to 4 days a week, he felt he could not longer do the job properly. When it came time for the yearly vote on officers, he didn't accept the nomination for Chief and stepped back down to FF 2 years ago.
    That's the history, now here's the question: can he still wear his Chief's insignia (5 bugles) on his dress uniform shirt? Dress shirts are ONLY worn at special events like the Christmas Dinner the Town gives us, for the picture to go in the local paper, and funerals of fellow members. Never during fire calls. There is no mention of uniforms in the by-laws.

    Does anyone know if there are some "rules" about this? Accepted practices?

    Thanks for any help you can give me!
    Our department issues the traditional looking chief's badge, with a small purple insignia that says "EX" over the top.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

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    I would agree that he should not. When he stepped down as chief his rank became 'firefighter' and that's what he should wear on his collar for any official uniform. Wearing the insignia could cause confusion ("Is he a chief, or isn't he?").

    At the same time, if the department/members which to honor his service as chief perhaps they can give him a non-rank pin that denotes his previous rank. here we have "chest board" pins (can't think of the real name of them) to denote certain honors/service. Perhaps something like that, or a "Past Chief" lapel pin?

    For many years I had a member who was a past chief for 10+ years who retired, then came back in a driver-only capacity. In almost all situations I called him "Chief" despite being his supervisor and "recommended with force" that the rest of my crew do the same. On the fireground he and everyone else knew his role and followed the chain of command.
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    Pam, I agree with the other posters, his current rank should be identified on his current dress uniform. He should be commended on stepping down when he felt that he couldn't commit the time necessary. If he was respected as a Chief, then the other guys will and should still call him Chief, but unless he has a different badge/marking identifying him as a former chief then he should have the current rank marking.

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    Default Chief???

    I guess I'll make it unanimous. If he had stepped down and is now a firefighter then that is what he is. I also say and agree that if you were once a Chief you'll always be a Chief. We have former Chiefs who have stepped down and I still call them Chief.
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    I agree with the others. The use of the chief's insignia should be used exclusively by the chief.
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    I agree with what the rest of these guys have said.

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    Imagine being at a non fire event with news media coverage... for example, a fundraiser,retirement party, station or apparatus dedication. A reporter goes to the person who he sees wearing the badge and collar pins that signify the Chief and starts asking him questions.

    "No, I'm not the Chief.. he's the Chief...."

    Confusing, isn't it?

    Even if he is a retired chief, he should not be in uniform. He can wear a badge that states "retired" on it for special events. The only time any retiree should wear the Class A's is for a firefighter funeral as a show of respect.... for the deceased firefighter.

    A retiree can be buried in Class A's if that is his/her or the family's request.
    Last edited by CaptainGonzo; 10-13-2009 at 01:37 PM.
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    Oh crap...I have to agree with everyone so far.

    Why? The fire service is a para-military organization. (atleast it used to be) So in the military, if someone changes rank, every thing they do or act reflects that. Bump up or down rank, thats what you are, period.

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    I agree with everyone here.

    He did a very honorable thing stepping down because he felt he did not have the time. Many Chiefs would hang on and make the FD suffer.

    A retiree badge or pin/medal would be appropriate.

    He should be honored in the same way he honored the FD.

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    Yup, same here.

    Only the chief, the current chief, should wear the chief insignias and uniform....or current rank of anyone Capt, Lt. etc.

    If he "retired" from the department, then he could wear an "ex-chief" badge or maybe a pin or something.

    Check with the current chief, they will have the final say.
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    I would not. Not even the insignia to make me look like the chief. I am a FF now and that is what I will dress as.
    Imagine 10 past chiefs all dressing up as the chief.
    I have no problem with hash marks or a badge that says past chief but that is it.

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    Good Afternoon. Just want to say thanks for all your posts. You have helped me navigate what is an odd situation. I searched and searched for something concrete, but it all seems to go back to our by-laws - which have no mention of our uniforms.
    Granted, we are a town of 250: we have no duty uniform, FF's show up to calls in whatever they were wearing at their jobs. We have no "press" to get confused; and even if they came to anything, in this place everybody knows everybody! We have no 'retirees'; you either quit or give 15 or more years service and then go "honorary" whenever you like and that grants you the priviledge of attending the yearly Christmas dinner in uniform (if you can still get into it!) and getting your county tax sticker free.
    Ah, the joys of a small town!

    The reason for my post was because the only member of the department with more years service than my husband is terminally ill - although still attending almost every meeting and function! - but his fight is near an end and we wanted to find out if it was appropriate to wear the Chief's brass at the funeral, as its a post they both held.

    Thanks again for all your posts. Stay safe.

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    Post Well................

    I Respectfully Disagree. No one in this area changes Sleeve Stripes or anything on their Class "A"s. I stepped down a while back also. My Dress Uniform still carries all the odds and ends that it did when I was Chief, EXCEPT, the Badge says "Past Chief". I didn't create that, it's been the standard way of business around here as long as I can remember. I don't wear a White Coat or Helment, hang out at the Command Post, etc. But I'm back doing what I loved best, being the best Squad Driver out there, and having a ball doing it..............

    I have to admit that I have been called out of "Retirement" a couple of times to cover a Chief's slot when things were really tight. I'm still fully certified, etc, so I can "act" if really needed.........


    Pam, You sound like you're in a really small place where everyone knows everyone else and life is laid back. I wouldn't worry about it, there are other things that need attention like recruiting, fund raising, etc, Best Wishes to you and "The Chief"......
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