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  1. #21
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    I got no beef with covering it up. Although some of the extremes they are making some of the guys go through is a little much. Mine barely come down below my sleeves. The zero tolerance policy is what bothers me so much.
    All this strikes me as is another example of the out of touch 'elders' of the career field enforcing out of date standards that aren't even applicable in today's society.

    Just to summarize. Create a standard that is practical. No hands or neck. Nothing offensive (racial, gender related, cursing). If the sleeve is considered 'distracting' to the public, make them wear a long sleeve or job shirt.
    Don't deny them work based on the tattoo.


  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by peterbound View Post
    I got no beef with covering it up. Although some of the extremes they are making some of the guys go through is a little much. Mine barely come down below my sleeves. The zero tolerance policy is what bothers me so much.
    All this strikes me as is another example of the out of touch 'elders' of the career field enforcing out of date standards that aren't even applicable in today's society.

    Just to summarize. Create a standard that is practical. No hands or neck. Nothing offensive (racial, gender related, cursing). If the sleeve is considered 'distracting' to the public, make them wear a long sleeve or job shirt.
    Don't deny them work based on the tattoo.
    Well...everyone is certainly welcome to their opinion dawg!! I'm not sure if you're on a department yet or not. If you're not, while your idea may have some merit, I guess it really doesn't matter does it?? You'll do what's necessary to get the job and in the meantime, you'll shut up and learn the job...minus your opinion! If you are on the job, then I guess you'll be like many firefighters in many departments; you'll be full of opinions about how things "should" be done! There's no shortage of your type in this profession. Other than that, your career track will be an interesting one as you climb the ladder, trying to implement "your policies" and what YOU think "should be" may prove to be a challenge for you on some levels. But I have the feeling your most difficult challenge may be dealing with your own humility.

    One day, if and when you do become a firefighter, there will inevitably be a younger version of yourself; another "peterbound" so to speak. And after you've spent most of your adult life in a profession you care so deeply about, this young "peterbound" will proceed to tell you that your ideas are "antiquated" and "silly" then you too will join the ranks of the so called "out of touch elders"!!
    "The Axeman"
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    "Purpose, Truth and Passion Yields power and Dominion IN ACTION!!!"

  3. #23
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    Wow, did you just say 'dawg'? Hello 1998.

    Fact is i'm not young, well, maybe younger than you. I, alas, am no internet hero so i'll spare you the resume. Suffice to say i've been in the career at various ranks/places for the past 12 years.

    Never once did you think, 'boy golly, those tattoos need to go'. I have however found the amount of alcoholism, obesity, and lack of understanding of mental health issues astonishing.

    Never once has Mr. or Mrs Smith (hello bruno) complained about my tattoos (of which i have several)

    No one has yet to explain to me why they are 'unprofessional'. If anything we've agreed that the social perception of tattoos have changed. So i have to conclude that many of you too feel that the idea of that tattoos are unprofessional is antiquated.

    And on the personal attack. Humility has never been an issue for me. I just have a hard time suffering fools.

  4. #24
    Forum Member DeputyMarshal's Avatar
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    I'm with peterbound on this one. Tattoos should be a non-issue. Granted; good luck getting a job if you're the one candidate among dozens who has full sleeves, neck tats, and ear plugs the size of dinner plates. The simple rules of prejudice are going to see you passed over. But for someone with typical ink or already on the job, they shouldn't even be an item for discussion.

    Quote Originally Posted by peterbound View Post
    We have a lot of other issues involved in our 'image' and culture that the issue of tattoos should be considered minutia.
    Agreed. If a department is so perfect that its biggest worry is that John Q. Public might be put off by a firefighter's ink, it's already a utopian department and should just rest on its laurels.

    Quote Originally Posted by peterbound View Post
    I got no beef with covering it up .... The zero tolerance policy is what bothers me so much.
    I do have a problem with covering up existing ink -- especially if it involves using one of those tattoo coverup sleeves: I don't recall ever seeing one that was NFPA 1975 compliant. If management and labor want to agree on a tattoo policy, it should never include a requirement for a firefighter to wrap his/her body in flammable materials nor force some to wear long sleeves when everyone else is wearing short.

    As for "zero tolerance" policies of any kind, they're just cop outs for decision makers unable or unwilling to make reasonable judgements. (The same sort of BS that gets kids kicked out of school on ZT weapons charges for bringing a toy green plastic "army man" with a rifle to school...)

    Quote Originally Posted by peterbound View Post
    All this strikes me as is another example of the out of touch 'elders' of the career field enforcing out of date standards that aren't even applicable in today's society.
    Also agreed. In some areas, we've enshrined "tradition" in the fire service beyond all reason. There is something to be said for portraying a certain positive public image but not at the cost of infringing on the personal freedoms of employees.

    Quote Originally Posted by peterbound View Post
    Just to summarize. Create a standard that is practical.
    Or just let it alone and worry about things that actually matter.

    Quote Originally Posted by peterbound View Post
    Nothing offensive (racial, gender related, cursing).
    That doesn't even need to be part of a tattoo policy. We all have discrimination and harassment policies already. Creating a tattoo policy for that purpose would be superfluous.

    Quote Originally Posted by peterbound View Post
    If the sleeve is considered 'distracting' to the public, make them wear a long sleeve or job shirt.
    That I object to. We have enough problems with heat stress to discriminate against employees based on ink. If the weather calls for short sleeves, telling one employee s/he can't wear them is discriminatory and counterproductive.

    Quote Originally Posted by peterbound View Post
    Don't deny them work based on the tattoo.
    Unfortunately, as long as there is a subjective element in hiring, people who are "different" in any way are going to be unfairly discriminated against. Until someone comes up with an enforceable law to the contrary, that's always going to happen.

    Quote Originally Posted by peterbound View Post
    Never once did you think, 'boy golly, those tattoos need to go'. I have however found the amount of alcoholism, obesity, and lack of understanding of mental health issues astonishing.
    I'm right there with you on that. There are far more pressing issues in need of attention in the fire service than tattoos.

    Quote Originally Posted by peterbound View Post
    No one has yet to explain to me why they are 'unprofessional'.
    Why, tradition, of course. Just like the traditions that firefighters drink heavily, get rowdy, and remain stoic about every disaster (or just take it out on their families).

    Quote Originally Posted by peterbound View Post
    the idea of that tattoos are unprofessional is antiquated.
    Moved and seconded.

    Quote Originally Posted by peterbound View Post
    And on the personal attack.
    Another fine FH.com tradition.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

  5. #25
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    I don't think any of these policies are about limiting self expression. Comparing tattoos to obesity is a moot argument. We have standards in place for fitness requirements. I'm getting my second tatt in a few months. My guy is just finsihing up the design. Guess how many people will see it when I'm in uniform? Zero.

    Antiquated or not, the people setting the rules aren't going to change their minds. These are the one's who are hiring and trying to make their department the "Shining Star". I wouldn't work for a Chief who wasn't thinking that.

    Heck, just for kicks, I'll get patches on one of my Jimmy Buffett shirts. Slap my badge on and show up at roll call. I'll just say "But I'm a good Company Officer. Why can't I express myself?" I know that's extreme but still the same argument.

  6. #26
    Forum Member DeputyMarshal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeMZ191 View Post
    Antiquated or not, the people setting the rules aren't going to change their minds. These are the one's who are hiring and trying to make their department the "Shining Star". I wouldn't work for a Chief who wasn't thinking that.
    And I wouldn't want to work for a Chief so shallow that he thought the presence of ink on a firefighter had anything to do with the quality of the department.

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeMZ191 View Post
    I know that's extreme but still the same argument.
    Not even close. A uniform is something you take on and off every day. Requiring a specified uniform while on duty isn't remotely the same thing as trying to tell someone what they can and can't do with their own skin. Firefighters are employees of the department; not property of the department.

    What next? Should we forbid firefighters to get too dark a tan unless they cover it up because it represents high risk cancer-causing behavior?
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

  7. #27
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    [QUOTE=DeputyMarshal;1195476]And I wouldn't want to work for a Chief so shallow that he thought the presence of ink on a firefighter had anything to do with the quality of the department.


    This is where you're missing the big picture. Yourself and Peter are taking this a personal attack on your freedom of expression. It's not about that. It's about the initial first impression you make when you deal with your customers. If their house in on fire, I'm sure they cont care if you're painted green and wearing pink bunkers. If Grandma is having chest pains, it matters. Alot of departments send customer service surveys after a call. One of the questions is always appearance.

    I admire your passion but tone it down just a notch.

  8. #28
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    maybe i have poor reading comprehension, but i fail to see when he toned it 'up'. Just because someone doesn't agree (or proves you wrong) with you doesn't mean they are being aggressive or unruly.

    but back to the issue at hand.

    When the surveys go out, and granny /lived/ to tell the tale of her experience with the service you provided, the service that more than likely helped her stay alive. I doubt she'll complain about the work done on your arm.

    And all we have is curmudgeons with hypothetical situations that have no empirical data to support them. Is there any evidence to support the fact that tattoo's are that reviled in the service orientated career fields? Of all the research i've read, public opinion of tattoos has become almost a non issue. Again, this stems from out of touch management enforcing standards that were applicable when they were on the floor.

    On the weight issue being a moot point. I beg to differ. The example i was trying to make was that even though there are rules/governance on the books requiring a certain weight standard (as it affects appearance and health) we as a culture laugh it off. Oh he's just an engineer, or oh, he's just a jolly volly, it's ok.

    When in reality that is more disgusting and look upon by society at large than the issue of tattoos. Yet here we are, arguing about the merits/evils of a /new/ regulation when we don't really enforce the ones we have on the books.

  9. #29
    Forum Member DeputyMarshal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeMZ191 View Post
    This is where you're missing the big picture.
    Quite the contrary. I'm looking at the very big picture. It's called irrational prejudice.

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeMZ191 View Post
    Yourself and Peter are taking this a personal attack on your freedom of expression.
    I can't speak for peter but, no, that's not how I take it at all. I take it as petty chicken sh|t micromanagement of something that has nothing to do with the fire department and everything to do with personal prejudice about someone else's freedom to do what they will with their own body.

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeMZ191 View Post
    It's about the initial first impression you make when you deal with your customers.
    There was a time when that excuse was used to justify not hiring minoriteis, too. It's still the same issue of irrational personal prejudice.

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeMZ191 View Post
    One of the questions is always appearance.
    And all it should be concerned with is neatness and personal grooming. Neither of which has anything to do with the presence of ink.

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeMZ191 View Post
    I admire your passion but tone it down just a notch.
    With all due respect, that's not your request to make.
    Last edited by DeputyMarshal; 08-09-2010 at 06:06 PM. Reason: typo
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

  10. #30
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    Reading the army tatoo policy I would not want ot stake my opinion of what was ok and have it done without first consulting with my CO. whan you read the policy it's their determination on what is offensive, racist and so on. It even says in there:

    (3) Counseling requirements.

    (a) Commanders will ensure soldiers understand the tattoo policy.

    (b) For soldiers who are not in compliance, commanders may not order the removal of a tattoo or brand. However, the commander must counsel soldiers, and afford them the opportunity to seek medical advice about removal or alteration of the tattoo or brand.
    (4) If soldiers are not in compliance with the policy, and refuse to remove or alter the tattoos or brands, commanders will:

    (a) Ensure the soldier understands the policy.

    (b) Ensure the soldier has been afforded the opportunity to seek medical advice about removal or alteration.

    (c) Counsel the soldier in writing. The counseling form will state that the soldier’s refusal to remove extremist, indecent, sexist, or racist tattoos or brands anywhere on the body, or refusal to remove any type of tattoo or brand visible in the class A uniform (worn with slacks/trousers), will result in discharge.

    If they don't have your same beliefs in offensive images as you do they can in the end discharge you
    Am I being effective in my efforts or am I merely showing up in my fireman costume to watch a house burn down?” (Joe Brown, www.justlookingbusy.wordpress.com)

  11. #31
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    You're reading too much into the army tattoo policy. The mores that dictate what are offensive are fairly universal: Racial, sexist, curse words, nazi.

    If by different beliefs you mean an extremely religious person getting offended at my Jesus riding a dinosaur tattoo i have on my thigh, well, that's protected by /my/ religious (or lack of thereof) freedom

    And just for the record, you'd have to have something REALLY offensive to get discharged from the army.

    So now we've established that the armed forces do indeed allow tattoos at various locations on your body, some more than others.

    That defense of the 'tattoos are unprofessional' argument is gone. What do you guys have next?

  12. #32
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    It doesn't matter what you think, it doesn't matter what I think, it matters what the customer thinks. When the leaders of the department get comments about how their crews look, they tend to do something about it. In the part of the world I live in, we get comments on hair length, shirt not tucked in, shoes not shined, and ink.

    As I heard a Chief tell someone some time ago. 'When you grow up and become Chief you can run things how you want, until then you will do it how I want it done.'

  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by rm1524 View Post
    As I heard a Chief tell someone some time ago. 'When you grow up and become Chief you can run things how you want, until then you will do it how I want it done.'
    We have a winner!!!! Like I heard recently near here an EMS director said, "I am accepting applications every day! If you don't like how things are I don't mind opening the drawer!"
    Am I being effective in my efforts or am I merely showing up in my fireman costume to watch a house burn down?” (Joe Brown, www.justlookingbusy.wordpress.com)

  14. #34
    Forum Member DeputyMarshal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rm1524 View Post
    It doesn't matter what you think, it doesn't matter what I think, it matters what the customer thinks.
    Only up to a point. It's naiive to propose that "the customer is always right" is anything more than a fortune cookie guideline rather than a hard and fast management rule.

    Is the customer right if he doesn't like Latinos? Female firefighters? Italians? Muslims? How about blonds? You can only cater to the "customer's" whims so much. If they still don't like it, they're welcome to get their fire protection elsewhere.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    Only up to a point. It's naiive to propose that "the customer is always right" is anything more than a fortune cookie guideline rather than a hard and fast management rule.

    Is the customer right if he doesn't like Latinos? Female firefighters? Italians? Muslims? How about blonds? You can only cater to the "customer's" whims so much. If they still don't like it, they're welcome to get their fire protection elsewhere.
    When several to many of your 'customers' make comments about things that can be controlled maybe they should be listened to. No they're not welcome to get their protection elsewhere they pay us to provide for them. They can also make it much harder to do the job when they don't support the department (tax increase). Throwing the race card is BS.

  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by rm1524 View Post
    When several to many of your 'customers' make comments about things that can be controlled maybe they should be listened to.
    Like I said, only up to a point. Sometimes the customer has unreasonable expectations. You can't make everybody happy all of the time.

    Throwing the race card is BS.
    That might explain why I intentionally didn't include a racial example in the list...
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    Like I said, only up to a point. Sometimes the customer has unreasonable expectations. You can't make everybody happy all of time.
    I agree and understand about making everyone happy all the time.

  18. #38
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    As I heard a Chief tell someone some time ago. 'When you grow up and become Chief you can run things how you want, until then you will do it how I want it done.'[/QUOTE]

    Yep...that's all I was trying to say Peterbound. I was referring to being humble to those that are in charge. i.e. chief officers. You have a right to your opinion...I have mine! That's great if your department doesn't have a problem with it. In my department, most people have made the decision to "humble" themselves to what the head MF wants..so it is what it is!! I don't come on these threads to insult anyone! I frankly don't give a s#@t enough to do that! Just simply participating in the discourse at hand. If my opinion makes me a fool as you've implied..well...I guess I gotta be a fool. But man...whata great job to be a fool!!! DAWG!!!

    "The Axeman"
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    Last edited by Theaxemancometh; 08-10-2010 at 04:08 AM.

  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Theaxemancometh View Post
    As I heard a Chief tell someone some time ago. 'When you grow up and become Chief you can run things how you want, until then you will do it how I want it done.'
    Yep...that's all I was trying to say Peterbound. I was referring to being humble to those that are in charge. i.e. chief officers. You have a right to your opinion...I have mine! That's great if your department doesn't have a problem with it. In my department, most people have made the decision to "humble" themselves to what the head MF wants..so it is what it is!! I don't come on these threads to insult anyone! I frankly don't give a s#@t enough to do that! Just simply participating in the discourse at hand. If my opinion makes me a fool as you've implied..well...I guess I gotta be a fool. But man...whata great job to be a fool!!! DAWG!!!

    "The Axeman"
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    'Purpose, Truth and Passion Yield Power and Dominion IN ACTION!!!"[/QUOTE]

  20. #40
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    All this "professional look" talk is bull in my opinion. As a whole, if a department has a good reputation in the community, who cares what the patient thinks of the firefighters. What are they going to do, write a letter? I did my time in the military, got my tattoos, and now I'm here. The only thing that should be controlled is offensive tattoos.

    Things change, and if others can't get on board with that then they should just keep their mouth shut until they don't have to worry about it anymore. These people spent time and money to get into a career of PUBLIC SERVICE, any time of the day or night, bringing you to the hospital because you have a headache at 3am, going into burning buildings to bring you out, and you can't let them live the way they want to live? Any kind of person that does care if a firefighter or cop has a tattoo, even if you take that away, will find something else to complain about. If anything, you show up with tattoos, take good care of them, and maybe help change their perception. Not that anyone should care if they do, but at the least they might think twice before judging someone because of ink on their skin or any other crap reason to be prejudiced.

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