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  1. #1
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    Default New City Tattoo Policy

    Just looking to see if anyone has experience with this or has heard how it went down in other places.

    I work for a large city, 600+ union members. Apparently, a new tattoo policy is on the union's desk that prohibits visible tattoos. I was wondering if in the past, people already on the job were grandfathered in, and just not allowed to get any NEW visible tattoos. Wouldn't be a big deal if heat weren't an issue. Thanks for the help.


  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucky2 View Post
    Apparently, a new tattoo policy is on the union's desk that prohibits visible tattoos.
    All things are negotiable.
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    Some places make personnel wear long sleaved shirts while at work

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    Yah they won't fire anyone. Was just wondering if it's happened before that new hires had to wear long sleeves, while incumbent firefighters could still wear short sleeves as long as they didn't get any new visible tattoos. Thanks again.

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    Usually, people will be grandfathered in. They may put a clause in there that they might have to wear those skin "sleeves" too.

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    We have no policy and it seems like everyone is getting one. I doubt we will see a policy unless someone gets something inappropriate on their arm of hand. The way I see it, tattoos don't treat people. People treat people.

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    Quote Originally Posted by toddnwen View Post
    We have no policy and it seems like everyone is getting one. I doubt we will see a policy unless someone gets something inappropriate on their arm of hand. The way I see it, tattoos don't treat people. People treat people.
    People may treat people but you have to keep in mind the professional image at stake here, not to even mention the political aspect. You have to remember that people much older than you don't have the same views. Don't get me wrong, I have two tattoo's myself, but they are hidden. Last year in my dept's CPAT testing for recruits there were a few that would not even get past the mayor interview. Didn't really matter, they couldn't get past the CPAT
    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)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Capt387 View Post
    People may treat people but you have to keep in mind the professional image at stake here, not to even mention the political aspect. You have to remember that people much older than you don't have the same views. Don't get me wrong, I have two tattoo's myself, but they are hidden. Last year in my dept's CPAT testing for recruits there were a few that would not even get past the mayor interview. Didn't really matter, they couldn't get past the CPAT
    Social norms have changed concerning tattoos. Only those possessing the most antiquated set of ideals find tattoos offensive.
    Do these same departments have weight standards? Wouldn't a morbidly obese fire fighter/engineer/chief be more unprofessional than a small tattoo on your forearm?

    This is a silly argument, and it's unfortunate that this has picked up some sort of suction in the FF world. When you are helping someone out i don't think they give a hoot as to what kind of work you've had done on your body. It, in no way, hinders your ability to perform the job (unlike the poorly enforced weight standards in the FF community). Most fire fighters are smart enough that even if they do get a tattoo they aren't getting a freaking SS on their hands.

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    Quote Originally Posted by peterbound View Post
    Social norms have changed concerning tattoos. Only those possessing the most antiquated set of ideals find tattoos offensive.
    Do these same departments have weight standards? Wouldn't a morbidly obese fire fighter/engineer/chief be more unprofessional than a small tattoo on your forearm?

    This is a silly argument, and it's unfortunate that this has picked up some sort of suction in the FF world. When you are helping someone out i don't think they give a hoot as to what kind of work you've had done on your body. It, in no way, hinders your ability to perform the job (unlike the poorly enforced weight standards in the FF community). Most fire fighters are smart enough that even if they do get a tattoo they aren't getting a freaking SS on their hands.
    You are correct social views have changed regarding body art. Some of our guys have extensive (and expensive) art work. However, if a visitor were to show up at roll call, they would be hard pressed to tell which ones were inked. These policies are about portraying a clean, positive public image. Our customers expect and deserve no less. Even the military has policies regarding this.

    To comment on Capt387: I agree 100%. My daughter and her boyfriend stopped by the station one day. He has tattoos on his forearms and an eyebrow piercing. When he left I was sitting in the kitchen with 3 of our Chiefs. I asked them what they would think if he walked in for an interview. It was a unanimous "NEXT." These guys were younger than me so it's not an age thing.

    I don't care if you're a trauma surgeon and the best firefighter on earth. If you don't make a good first impression, you'll never get a chance to show me.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeMZ191 View Post
    My daughter and her boyfriend stopped by the station one day. He has tattoos on his forearms and an eyebrow piercing. When he left I was sitting in the kitchen with 3 of our Chiefs. I asked them what they would think if he walked in for an interview. It was a unanimous "NEXT."
    Forget getting applying for a job . That's what I would say if he applied to date my daughter!
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by peterbound View Post
    Social norms have changed concerning tattoos. Only those possessing the most antiquated set of ideals find tattoos offensive.
    Do these same departments have weight standards? Wouldn't a morbidly obese fire fighter/engineer/chief be more unprofessional than a small tattoo on your forearm?

    This is a silly argument, and it's unfortunate that this has picked up some sort of suction in the FF world. When you are helping someone out i don't think they give a hoot as to what kind of work you've had done on your body. It, in no way, hinders your ability to perform the job (unlike the poorly enforced weight standards in the FF community). Most fire fighters are smart enough that even if they do get a tattoo they aren't getting a freaking SS on their hands.
    It's the most antiquated and traditional of rules that has kept our military forces from being a bastion of incorrigible, disorganized and defiant group of fools! And that's the only way they've been able to operate with success. Whether you think so or not, people's personal biases are always at issue. We can't help it. It's called being human. If the person in uniform is fat, there's always an initial impression about his/her ability to help you. If the person in uniform is black, latino, asian or doesn't look like you, while there may not be any specific prejudices or biases, there will almost always be an initial impression or question in your mind as to how well they can help you.

    The idea of making everyone look uniform, outside of those things that they can't change (color, race, ect) is to help eliminate those attitudes. Thusly, the uniform speaks to an across the board level of professionalism, training and standards. BUT, when you introduce things like purple hair, body piercings, tattoos, "skinny pants v.s. pants on the floor (sagging), painted finger nails...ect.. Now you're disrupting the intent of the uniform look: which is to speak to the standards and professionalism of an organization. You re-open yourself up to analysis, prejudice, biases and misperceptions. It makes a statement, and the statement is: LOOK AT ME....LOOK AT ME!!! IM' DIFFERENT!! When you think about how that effects public perception, then antiquated ain't so bad!!

    "The Axeman"
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    We have a no tattoo policy. The way it works is anyone who had visible tattoos before the policy came into effect was grandfathered in. They were not allowed to get any more that would be visible though. Any new hires that have visible tattoos have to be approved by the chief. As long as you don't have a tattoo sleeve or just something that's "way out there" the chief will approve you. But once you're on, that's it. No more visible tattoos.

    I've seen the chief deny one guy over a small 3"x3" piece of art, and then approve a guy that had his whole forearm inked. Really just depends what the tattoo portrays.

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    Quote Originally Posted by peterbound View Post
    Social norms have changed concerning tattoos. Only those possessing the most antiquated set of ideals find tattoos offensive.
    Do these same departments have weight standards? Wouldn't a morbidly obese fire fighter/engineer/chief be more unprofessional than a small tattoo on your forearm?

    This is a silly argument, and it's unfortunate that this has picked up some sort of suction in the FF world. When you are helping someone out i don't think they give a hoot as to what kind of work you've had done on your body. It, in no way, hinders your ability to perform the job (unlike the poorly enforced weight standards in the FF community). Most fire fighters are smart enough that even if they do get a tattoo they aren't getting a freaking SS on their hands.
    Peterbound, like it or not the professionalism is the key in perception while in uniform. I am the same way with hair. If a potential recruit would come to a training in any other what than he would appear on duty, his first impressions are lessened. I have seen guys that had long stringy hair, neck tattoos, hand tatoos and what not apply and like Joe talked about with his chief's.... NEXT. You also talked about the weight issue. Well, to be quite honest I would rather have a guy that will give me all of him when I need it rather than one that has the body but cant be trained well. To give you an example, a few years ago we had a "little terminator" guy apply, stood there for the PT test in his wife beater t-shirt and acting like aaaarrrnooolllllddddd when he said, this test ain't made for bodies like mine (referencing himself). I told him it was okay for him to leave, to not let us waste his valueable time. I saw guys there that day that didn't get to the top of the score list but DID give me their all and were trainable (I knew these guy as they were volunteers in the county). So, like it or not the majority does not share your view. So before suggesting anyone go get that "visible" tattoo that will be there for 30 years past your death (unless you get lasered) One needs to think about their career path.
    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)

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    I have to question some of the comments about Military professionalism and tattoos. As a former military member/firefighter, i can tell you from first hand experience that the military has kept tattooing alive and well:

    Air Force: Allowed as long as not offensive, not on hands and neck, and not covering 25% of the exposed area
    Army: Allowed on back of hands and neck, rest of body as long as not offensive.
    Navy: Allowed as long as not offensive and not on hands or neck
    Marines: No sleeves, half sleeves, nothing large, not offensive. The most restrictive, but the Marines have a culture that promotes the inking of 'USMC' or the 'EGA' on your body.

    Most people i know in the military have a tattoo, and most of them are visible, so i don't see how that argument is valid.

    I agree on the hair issue, it should be kept tidy. However, i'd rather have a guy with a 'mom' tattoo on his forearm that can help me bring a patient down some stairs than an obese guy that tries hard with no tattoos.

    Again, it's unfortunate that an individual cannot express themselves in a way that is unique and not be punished. I've traveled a lot during my military career, and have a tattoo from every place i've been. Should i be punished for this? (for they record they are not all visible). Religion and conservatism (although i'm a conservative i don't hold onto this ideal) have continued to perpetuate the image that if one is tattooed they are in a biker gang or a criminal. Most of the sane world realizes that this is not the case and have little or no bias against this type of body modification (although most studies suggest tattoos on women are still detrimental to their credibility).

    Drawing the line in the sand on this issue I feel is a poor fight. We need to address the health issues in the Fire Service, the Alcoholism, and the stigma against proper mental health care before we take on a fight most of America gave up on in the 90's.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeMZ191 View Post
    I don't care if you're a trauma surgeon and the best firefighter on earth. If you don't make a good first impression, you'll never get a chance to show me.
    This is true... you're gonna have to really be a stand-out all-star to get picked for a job with two arms full of tats.
    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.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

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    Quote Originally Posted by peterbound View Post

    Drawing the line in the sand on this issue I feel is a poor fight. We need to address the health issues in the Fire Service, the Alcoholism, and the stigma against proper mental health care before we take on a fight most of America gave up on in the 90's.
    In your own words it is a poor fight. It is poor for one on the outside to think they will gain favor because they stood their "ground" over a visible tattoo trying to get a job as a firefighter when those choosing the better candidate don't agree the same as 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)

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    I think you misinterpreted the 'fight' part. This is an issue we need to fight from the inside out, not the outside in. We have a lot of other issues involved in our 'image' and culture that the issue of tattoos should be considered minutia.

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    I didn't misinterpret anything. Those that are on the outside looking in, won't have to worry cause they won't be in. Most departments already have a policy on tattoos so you know the consequences that will be paid, more applications being accepted. Thing is with the economy, departments laying off and left understaffed, truly there are more important things in life. But, you are free to express yourself, in another career. The choice is yours.
    Last edited by Capt387; 08-08-2010 at 10:57 PM.
    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)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Capt387 View Post
    I didn't misinterpret anything. Those that are on the outside looking in, won't have to worry cause they won't be in. Most departments already have a policy on tattoos so you know the consequences that will be paid, more applications being accepted. Thing is with the economy, departments laying off and left understaffed, truly there are more important things in life. But, you are free to express yourself, in another career. The choice is yours.
    I have a career. One I love. Epic fail sir. Epic fail.

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    I don't see whats so hard about not getting a visible tattoo or covering it up. Will it really hurt you if granny can't see your ink while you check her BG? Or the babes can't see your sweet tat as you flex carrying a ladder?

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