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    Default Customized Badges

    I was talking to some fellow firefighters at the firehouse when we got on-topic about customized badges. Our department gives us our OWN badges for our Class A, but a bunch of other members got customized badges (to their own expense) for their wallets and whatnot.

    How do you all feel about this?

    As long as the badge's information is accurate in every sense (Example: FD title, NYS seal, etc.) then I, personally, don't see a problem, as long as it's an out-of-pocket expense.

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    There is a spec badge for our department, but the spec is largely ignored. Due to the cost of badges in the 70s when the department first started, the majority of the badges were plain with lots of abreviations (ex. twp for township and vol for volunteer).

    I just got a new badge a month ago. I opted towards the same center the Chief sports and decided to field as much info on the badge as I could.


    This works for our department, however, as always SOPs or SOGs will dictate the matter.
    Last edited by Fireeaterbob; 10-05-2011 at 07:27 PM. Reason: privacy reasons
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    We actually don't allow our members to purchase their own badges. It's simply too easy for them to potentially misrepresent themselves as members if they're no longer part of the fire company.
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    I've donated most of our badges, as we probably wouldn't have them otherwise. Over time it doesn't take too big a slice out of the wallet. Only the officers have them.

    It also means they're all the same design, with the same lettering (Blackinton 1059).
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    We actually don't allow our members to purchase their own badges. It's simply too easy for them to potentially misrepresent themselves as members if they're no longer part of the fire company.
    I can foresee this being one of the biggest problems associated with personally-purchased customized badges.

    I'd say, personally, that a member should have to be in a department for a certain amount of time prior to them purchasing a customized badge. Obviously they should have to wait till after probation (which is 1 year in my department if they pass FF1 within the first year), but maybe a little bit longer of a duration would be best; Maybe two years would suffice as a correct amount of time to wait until a FF can purchase a customized badge.

    If the FF leaves or is kicked out of the department, then that badge should have to be destroyed or given to the Fire Department to hold onto until that FF re-applies and is accepted back into the department.

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    Default Badges

    Only the Chief can authorize badges with the consent of the Fire Commissioners.
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    We do not endorse our firefighters getting there own personal badges. IF they do they can not have the name of the fire department on them. We do have class A's but those badges are for the shirts only and have to be approved by the chief. In fact shirts or anything personal fire items can not have the fire departments name on them unless approved by the chief. If they want a T-shirt with just the words fire fighter thats fine. All shirts, Class A's. Front plates for their cars all have to be the fire department issued and approved if the fire departments name is on them.
    Last edited by volfireman034; 10-06-2011 at 02:38 PM.

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    Badges? We don't need no stinking badges

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    Quote Originally Posted by chem1cal View Post
    I was talking to some fellow firefighters at the firehouse when we got on-topic about customized badges. Our department gives us our OWN badges for our Class A, but a bunch of other members got customized badges (to their own expense) for their wallets and whatnot.
    The question that comes to my mind is: What do they need a badge for?
    Are they trying to get out of a ticket by flashing at a law enforcement officer?
    Are they using it to get a discount coffee at the local Tim Hortons shop?
    Are they hoping to impress the local badge bunnies at the gin mill?
    Are they trying to impress other whackers at the fire show?

    Seems to me if the department issues a badge for dress uniform , then thats all the need there is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by islandfire03 View Post
    The question that comes to my mind is: What do they need a badge for?
    Are they trying to get out of a ticket by flashing at a law enforcement officer?
    Are they using it to get a discount coffee at the local Tim Hortons shop?
    Are they hoping to impress the local badge bunnies at the gin mill?
    Are they trying to impress other whackers at the fire show?

    Seems to me if the department issues a badge for dress uniform , then thats all the need there is.

    I wouldn't be so pessimistic about it. I figure they get them just like other members of all departments obtain t-shirts and other items, except this is a little more expensive, that's all.

    Why do members wear department t-shirts while in public?
    Are they trying to impress and attract members of the opposite sex?
    Are they trying to get free drinks/food from a local bar/restaurant?
    Are they trying to get praise from the public?

    I believe the members wanted them just to have them, honestly. As long as they're not running around with emergency lights pulling people over and flashing the badge while exclaiming "Police!", then I don't see it as a huge issue, as long as the Chief doesn't deem it an issue.

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    The Question is still out there: Why do they need to have an expensive custom badge ???

    What possible need is there to have one in your wallet? We are not law enforcement.

    You already have a badge issued by the department to wear on your dress up costume.

    This is not the same as wearing a 10 dollar T-shirt that is issued.

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    Default Wallet Badge

    I have one for over twenty years and I guess it's pride for the job...but I have never once flashed it for any reason as it is suggested. There are those who would and those are the ones who will spoil it for you if you do get the wallet badges. Slippery slope if you do get them and the Chief is aware of this so this is why it's not a good idea.

    Just my 2 cents.
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    Quote Originally Posted by islandfire03 View Post
    The Question is still out there: Why do they need to have an expensive custom badge ???

    What possible need is there to have one in your wallet? We are not law enforcement.

    You already have a badge issued by the department to wear on your dress up costume.

    This is not the same as wearing a 10 dollar T-shirt that is issued.
    Yes, a badge is given by the department, but that's for the Class A only. I guess some of the guys want something additional. Money isn't the issue here, really. It's the principle of the matter, really. Plus, badges aren't an exorbitant amount of money - some are even like $60 or so.

    And if you want to bring money into play, people purchase customized jackets with custom decals and placement of aforementioned decals for hundreds of dollars - a price that overshadows the average customized badge.

    As I said: Some people just want something additional. Maybe it's to show their pride or because they want something unique to show their support. As long as it's not used for the wrong reasons, as we mentioned before, and as long as it's out-of-pocket, then I really don't see an issue.

    JayDudley - Yeah, I can see such behavior being an issue, which is why I believe wallet badges should be confiscated if such behavior occurs. The badge, in my mind, should clearly state that you're a firefighter in big letters, just to ensure there is no mix-up with Law Enforcement. As for the Chief, and department as a whole, they're pretty lax about such issues. We have a great relationship with the local police department, too. As long as something isn't abused, it's generally allowed, for the most part.

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    I'm going to go out on a limb and ask, "Why do you need a wallet badge?" In my 42+ years in the fire service I have never had a need to show a badge.
    Stephen J Bourassa
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    We are not a volunteer dept. however we have badges and polices old and new for badge use.

    Recently during our 150th year as a career department members were allowed to purchase a 150 year badge. They are allowed to wear this badge as they would an offical issued badge. To my knowledge it has not caused a problem with any of our 400 members.

    Our offical issued city badge is considered offical identification as a sworn firefighter. It is issued to a member when he is sworn in as a firefighter. When my grandfather was on the job the badges were numbered. That firefighter kept that badge and number throughout their career and was presented as a retirement gift. now the badges are not numbered and a "massed" produced badge. In the event the badge is damaged or lost a police report must be filed to get a replacement. I know of several people that have privately purchased a badge to use as a spare or replacement. Which is against policy but it happens.

    Nowadays the use of a badge as offical identification is dated. Picture ids are the new "offical identification". Even the police will tell you that in the event you are pulled over by an officer that you think might not be a real police officer. Ask them for their city ID. To my knowledge the national response plan does not even consider badges as a form of credentials on an incident. They are more of a tradition now.

    personally i dont see a problem with a member buying out of their own wallet badge. If they are entrusted with 1 badge, what is the harm in them having two, three, four? the same problems can arise with their offical issued badge. If them having a wallet badge keeps the pride in them and showing up to work whocares. You have to trust you people!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fitguy51 View Post
    I'm going to go out on a limb and ask, "Why do you need a wallet badge?" In my 42+ years in the fire service I have never had a need to show a badge.
    There's no "need," just like there is no "need" to wear department t-shirts or other apparel.

    I think some people just want something additional.

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    Not knowing the size of your department, but most large urban department issue one shirt/coat badge to the rank and file members. That is it. Our policy, is if you carry your issue badge off duty and in your wallet and it becomes damaged or worn, you will buy a new one through proper procedures and will have to turn the old damage badge in when you get a new one.

    The members who happen to be assigned to other fields of work, Administration, Prevention, Training and other staff type positions. may have two or three shirt/coat type badges. This so they will have one on the uniform shirt and the dress coat with they wear.

    There isn't any reason why members should be buying their own badges, for whatever reason. A lot of badge makers, will only sell to authorized and approved buyers, who in a lot of case must provide a official purchase order or the order must be on official letterhead.

    There is also a policy about wearing any official issued Tee Shirt or anything the department issues off duty, unless you have prior permission to do same.
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    Volunteers in my combo dept. don't get badges, but on the other hand we aren't required to buy the dress uniforms on which the career guys wear their badges.

    Personally, I like the tradition of badges and numbers associated with them and would sort of like to have one, but it would only be for hanging on a wall or something like that.

    I wonder though, are badges just something that some fire departments started wearing cause cops did or was there ever any actual real reason to have them? Seems to be that carting the hose around and the big red hat would be enough id.

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    Quote Originally Posted by auxman View Post
    Volunteers in my combo dept. don't get badges, but on the other hand we aren't required to buy the dress uniforms on which the career guys wear their badges.

    Personally, I like the tradition of badges and numbers associated with them and would sort of like to have one, but it would only be for hanging on a wall or something like that.

    I wonder though, are badges just something that some fire departments started wearing cause cops did or was there ever any actual real reason to have them? Seems to be that carting the hose around and the big red hat would be enough id.

    I was always under the assumption that all paramilitary organizations wielded badges to signify membership and/or rank.

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    Why carry a badge?

    At certain events, admission requires identification.

    At many hotels, restaurants, and buisinesses it leads to a courtesy discount.

    At official functions and public service events it dresses up the individual and denotes a level of pride.

    Some departments require it as part of the uniform.

    ...And when I retire from the fire service, my badge will go in a picture frame along with my helmet front. I will have a nice reminder that I did my part when I could.

    I take pride in what I do and what I did and I will remember it that way.
    Last edited by Fireeaterbob; 10-17-2011 at 06:17 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fireeaterbob View Post
    Why carry a badge?

    At certain events, admission requires identification.
    In 17 years, I've never been asked to produce a badge as a mean of identification.

    At many hotels, restaurants, and buisinesses it leads to a courtesy discount.
    I never asked for, nor expected a discount from any place because I happened to be a firefighter. And I don't buy the "they saw my badge, so they offered a discount" argument either.

    At official functions and public service events it dresses up the individual and denotes a level of pride.
    So wear it on your Class A's.

    ...And when I retire from the fire service, my badge will go in a picture frame along with my helmet front. I will have a nice reminder that I did my part when I could.
    As will mine - the one issue to me to wear on my Class A's.

    I don't mean to come across as an ***, but I still have yet to be convinced of the need for a personally purchased badge.
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    They are called uniforms for a reason, Why one might ask? Well because they are. . . . . . . wait for it. . . . . . . UNIFORM.


    Wearing a customized/personalized badge by definition, would therefore defeat the whole purpose of wearing a uniform.

    Heads up to those that think by badge flashing a cop you will get out of a ticket, it doesn't work, if anything it makes us mad. Just thought you all should know.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BULL321 View Post
    They are called uniforms for a reason, Why one might ask? Well because they are. . . . . . . wait for it. . . . . . . UNIFORM.


    Wearing a customized/personalized badge by definition, would therefore defeat the whole purpose of wearing a uniform.

    Heads up to those that think by badge flashing a cop you will get out of a ticket, it doesn't work, if anything it makes us mad. Just thought you all should know.
    This is why I brought up "customized badges" for wallets, not uniforms. I understand that all badges should be uniform for Class A uniforms (except for officers, etc).

    I, personally, would not use a badge to get out of a traffic ticket, even though the cops are very lenient with us - we have a great professional relationship. 95% of our fire officers are cops, too, which might help that cause.

    But I digress... customized badges were meant to stand out. Obviously the badge would have to be specific (XYZ Fire Department, for example), and it'd have to be ok with the Chief(s).

    I think it would be a nice (and professional, if used responsibly) touch.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    In 17 years, I've never been asked to produce a badge as a mean of identification.


    I never asked for, nor expected a discount from any place because I happened to be a firefighter. And I don't buy the "they saw my badge, so they offered a discount" argument either.


    So wear it on your Class A's.


    As will mine - the one issue to me to wear on my Class A's.

    I don't mean to come across as an ***, but I still have yet to be convinced of the need for a personally purchased badge.

    I think you haven't been convinced that there is a NEED because there is no NEED - it'd be something additional. Something supplementary to have for oneself, not the department in itself.

    You won't find a reason to need it, but it'd be something nice to have for others, just like t-shirts, bumper stickers and other apparel and items.

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    I'm not sure how departmental t-shirts got lumped into this, but from a volunteer recruitment perspective wearing the t-shirt/hat/etc. while around town can be seen as a recruiting tool. Given the need for more volunteer firefighters every tool needs to be used. Of course, certain standards of behavior are expected when in the shirt. I don't see it as a vanity thing such as a customizsed wallet badge.

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