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Thread: The Mustache

  1. #1
    Forum Member Jay Remmy's Avatar
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    Question The Mustache

    I was wondering what the general policies on facial hair are.

    Now obviously you can't be fighting fires with a Grizzly Adams beard,
    But when I think of a fire fighter with facial hair, I think of a mustache.
    I was just wondering how departments feel about fire fighters having facial hair.

    Also, is it different for paid vs. volunteer?

    Thanks in advance for those who respond

    :-J Remmy


  2. #2
    Forum Member CaptOldTimer's Avatar
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    Members, males, do wear them, Mustaches, and in some places beards are worn as well.

    I've seen females with upper lip hair too.
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

  3. #3
    Forum Member st42stephenAFT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptOldTimer View Post
    I've seen females with upper lip hair too.
    HAHAHA


    It all depends on the dept. really. I know most places want a clean shaven (around every 3 days or so) for the beard. If you have a lot of beard hair, sometimes the mask won't seal correctly, or so is the justification for that. Hence why mustaches are accepted some places, as it doesn't interfere with the mask securing.

    As for volly vs paid, again depends on the dept. I know of people in my department who had fully on grizzly beards for a while, and nothing was said to them. But also, a neighboring department changed their policy, and if you showed up to a call with unacceptable facial hair, you got suspended.

    So, like most things, find out what your department wants from ya, and conduct yourself accordingly.

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    I would hope that in 2011 all career dept's had a clear and defined policy on facial hair and that they fit tested annually. It is clearly defined in OSHA 1910.134 that there will be no facial hair that would effect the seal of the mask. By not following this to the letter would just open the liability can of worms in "not" protecting the firefighters. With that being said, to me there is no difference with career or volunteer except for the paycheck (and yes I do both). I understand the fact that they are "volunteering" their time but also if it is a career or volunteer firefighter there needs to be an element of professionalism. My own VFD currently does not fit test. They have discussed it and pretty much let it drop when I told them they would need to have a facial hair policy also as it does no good to have them shave for fit testing and within a couple of weeks have a full beard and think they can make safe entry into a house fire
    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 CaptOldTimer View Post

    I've seen females with upper lip hair too.
    Did not need that visual ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

  6. #6
    MembersZone Subscriber tree68's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kjohn23 View Post
    Did not need that visual ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww
    Here you go:

    You're welcome.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

  7. #7
    Forum Member FireRescueLupo's Avatar
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    I love the mustache myself, my volunteer department does not allow any hair below the centerline of the lips or some sort of wording like that, middle of the mouth. The soul patch has been overlooked here and there depending on who actually sees it. We have an engineer that does no masking up, just drives and pumps and he is the only one with a goaty that I know of, he had an exception written.

  8. #8
    Forum Member Chenzo's Avatar
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    No facial hair on the jawline, or where it would interfere with the seal of your mask.

    Mustache, soul patch, sideburns (as long as they don't interfere) are all acceptable at my department. Is it followed? By most. Am I guilty of not following it from time to time? Yeah. I hate shaving. lol.

  9. #9
    Forum Member Jay Remmy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chenzo View Post
    I hate shaving. lol.
    I agree. I am just a fan of at least having some sort of fur on my face, and even though I would be completely willing to shave clean to volunteer, it's just nice to know that I could possibly still rock the upper-lip caterpillar
    :-J Remmy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Capt387 View Post
    I would hope that in 2011 all career dept's had a clear and defined policy on facial hair and that they fit tested annually. It is clearly defined in OSHA 1910.134 that there will be no facial hair that would effect the seal of the mask. By not following this to the letter would just open the liability can of worms in "not" protecting the firefighters. With that being said, to me there is no difference with career or volunteer except for the paycheck (and yes I do both). I understand the fact that they are "volunteering" their time but also if it is a career or volunteer firefighter there needs to be an element of professionalism. My own VFD currently does not fit test. They have discussed it and pretty much let it drop when I told them they would need to have a facial hair policy also as it does no good to have them shave for fit testing and within a couple of weeks have a full beard and think they can make safe entry into a house fire

    I think OSHA makes a distinction between a respirator and SCBA. The SCBA section doesn't mention anything about facial hair, it's only in the respirator section.

    I had a pretty full goatee for a number of years and never had a problem with either a fit test or a fire.

  11. #11
    MembersZone Subscriber tree68's Avatar
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    I just finished a round of fit testing here for several departments (including my own). Everybody passed, even a couple with a suspect amount of facial hair. Well, not everybody - one fellow who almost certainly won't be wearing SCBA did the test just for the heck of it and didn't pass. I suspect his problem was using the wrong size mask - he had no facial hair.

    There were no full beards - only a goatee or two and several with a fair bit of "ugly stubble."

    An area where facial hair can be a problem is oxygen enriched atmospheres/breathing apparatus. The hair will absorb the oxygen, rendering it just that much more flammable.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DCFDRescue2 View Post
    I think OSHA makes a distinction between a respirator and SCBA. The SCBA section doesn't mention anything about facial hair, it's only in the respirator section.

    I had a pretty full goatee for a number of years and never had a problem with either a fit test or a fire.
    OSHA only allows for two types of fit testing, no matter what the respirator

    Appendix A to § 1910.134: Fit Testing Procedures (Mandatory)

    Part I. OSHA-Accepted Fit Test Protocols

    A. Fit Testing Procedures -- General Requirements

    The employer shall conduct fit testing using the following procedures. The requirements in this appendix apply to all OSHA-accepted fit test methods, both QLFT and QNFT.


    9. The test shall not be conducted if there is any hair growth between the skin and the facepiece sealing surface, such as stubble beard growth, beard, mustache or sideburns which cross the respirator sealing surface. Any type of apparel which interferes with a satisfactory fit shall be altered or removed.


    under the definition section of 1910.134

    Self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) means an atmosphere-supplying respirator for which the breathing air source is designed to be carried by the user.
    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 tree68 View Post
    I just finished a round of fit testing here for several departments (including my own). Everybody passed, even a couple with a suspect amount of facial hair. Well, not everybody - one fellow who almost certainly won't be wearing SCBA did the test just for the heck of it and didn't pass. I suspect his problem was using the wrong size mask - he had no facial hair.

    There were no full beards - only a goatee or two and several with a fair bit of "ugly stubble."

    An area where facial hair can be a problem is oxygen enriched atmospheres/breathing apparatus. The hair will absorb the oxygen, rendering it just that much more flammable.
    ahhhh Dude, might spend a little time and read the standard. As for the last line...... I want to aggrivate you about it but I will lllleeeeaaavvvvveeeee it aaaallloonnnnneeeeeee as it speaks for itself
    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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    MembersZone Subscriber tree68's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Capt387 View Post
    ahhhh Dude, might spend a little time and read the standard. As for the last line...... I want to aggravate you about it but I will lllleeeeaaavvvvveeeee it aaaallloonnnnneeeeeee as it speaks for itself
    I'll give you that.

    On the other hand, it wasn't me that passed them, as such. I just ran the machine. Apparently their fit met the specs.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tree68 View Post
    I'll give you that.

    On the other hand, it wasn't me that passed them, as such. I just ran the machine. Apparently their fit met the specs.
    I sold scba, serviced and did fit testing for "several" years and there is numerous ways to pass a test. You are correct they might have actually got a fit factor over 500 but it plainly states in the standard there is to be none visible in the area that the mask will be. The test administrator just exposed the department to the liability according to the standard
    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)

  16. #16
    Forum Member DeputyMarshal's Avatar
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    No facial hair at the SCBA facepiece seal per OSHA requirements and manufacturers' instructions. All else is commentary.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

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

  17. #17
    Forum Member CaptOldTimer's Avatar
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    capt387, I think the brother from DCFD and the other members really don't give a rats butt about what osha has to say. They are firemen and do more work in a day that most others do in a month.
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

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    Capt OT, he aint in DC, he is in Falling Water WV.
    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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    There is always the option of doing strictly wildlands. You can find full-time employment on a 'shot crew or as a smokejumper. There aren't any regulations concerning facial hair, and I've seen some hotshots rocking some wicked beards. Also you get to see some awesome fire activity, like firewhirls the size of tornadoes and just as powerful.

  20. #20
    Forum Member Brick3633's Avatar
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    We can have mustache sideburns, soulpatch, just as long as the hair doesnt interfere with mask seal..mustaches are not to exceed 1/2" below the corners of the mouth and sideburns to stop at the bottom of the ear lobe
    "First In, Last Out"

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