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Thread: Personal Hygiene for a 24 Hour Shift

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    Default Personal Hygiene for a 24 Hour Shift

    How often do you worry about your personal hygiene while on duty? If you're like me, you probably take a shower maybe an hour before you go on duty. You might possibly even brush your teeth and use some mouthwash too. But let's take a look at some of the things that can dampen your personal hygiene before going on duty.

    If you live in a city department, you might go to Starbucks or McDonald's to enjoy a meal or even a cup of coffee if your department changes shift in the morning time. If your in a small town, you might even eat a small sandwich and chips before going out to dinner with your crew. How about if your shift has a set plan of dining in, you might enjoy some home cooked food that might put you on the pot all night long. These are just a few examples that can dampen with your fresh hint of mint or whatever your toothpaste has in it.

    After the meal, you might begin washing dishes or start the daily chores such as daily trucks checks and equipment checks. When starting the generators and tools, such as the K-12, dirt and grease might get on your clothes and your fresh cologne will virtually disappear. By then after truck day, you might get an EMS call before starting the daily tasks such as station maintenance or inventory. While on this EMS call your patient might smell the grease and dirt from daily chores and not the smell good body wash you used prior to coming on shift. After the EMS call you get back to the station and realize that you no longer smell as good as you did this morning, what do you do?

    Most departments have implemented a physical fitness plan that requires at least 30 minutes of cardio plus some strength training. After this workout you probably get another call but this time we'll use a vehicular rollover as an example. You'll dress into your turnout gear before getting on the truck, and as soon as you begin to pull out of the bay, you get cancelled. Think of all that sweat and everything else from your turnout gear and how much it effects your personal hygiene. But wait a minute, the time is 2100 and your shift captain has agreed to a rule of lights out at 2200. With a full crew of four firefighters (plus the officer) and the EMS crew, there is no time for a shower even if the crew is military trained and can take five minute showers. So you decide to go to bed smelling like sweat, smoke, and whatever you ate before shift change, and plan to get up an hour before wake up and shower.

    At 0300 you get a fire alarm, which turns out to be the real deal for a commercial building, of course your first due on scene and will be in the fire before everyone else. Let's say the fire lasts for three hours and your back in the house an hour before shift change. What do you do? Do you shower? Do you clean up? Or do you begin cooking breakfast and wait until you go home before you shower? But alas you get another EMS call and your patient can tell more about your shift than you can at this point. You might even suffocate her (ok it will not be this bad), but that's the point.

    In these scenarios there is hardly anytime for the entire crew to shower, but how many of these scenarios can you take the time to spray more cologne or wipe yourself off with some babywipes? After dinner, you can surely brush your teeth or even carry some altoids to share with your crew. Even if you do some of these simple things, you can improve your personal hygiene throughout the shift.

    baby wipes: $2
    cologne: $15
    toothpaste: $3
    toothbrush: $2
    Smelling Fresh at the end of the shift: priceless


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    I take a shower before I leave home for work, and then I'll shower after PT. I'll usually shower after a good working fire that I really reek after, but unfortunately those don't come all that often. I've yet to ever take more than 2 showers during a shift, and even that's unusual.

    I'm a fireman, and Im going to sweat, get dirty, smell like soot, oil, and fuel, sometimes have bad breath. I don't wear cologne (on or off duty), but I do liberally apply deodorant. While I'm not going to walk around looking like Pigpen, I do understand that smells are a part of the job...

    Quote Originally Posted by 6Duron1
    Smelling Fresh at the end of the shift: priceless
    Who the hell cares what I smell like at the end of the shift? Maybe I'm alone in this, but after spending 24 hours doing my job, I know I'm going to smell bad. That's what a shower at the station or home is for.
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    The point was to make you think about, How often do you think about personal hygiene during the shift? On our department we had some people not even think about showering for a few days and were recently banned from a certain shift. Which brought me to this post. Personal Hygiene is more than taking a shower before shift, after PT, or even when you get home. It's how your uniform looks, your hair, your nails, your boots, and yes even those teefees that most people overlook. Smells are part of the job, but so is personal hygiene.
    Unit 71 - Probationary Firefighter / First Responder
    Bossier Parish Fire District #1

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    Quote Originally Posted by 6Duron1 View Post
    Personal Hygiene is more than taking a shower before shift, after PT, or even when you get home. It's how your uniform looks, your hair, your nails, your boots, and yes even those teefees that most people overlook.
    I don't consider my professional appearance (polished boots, creased pants, brushed hair) to the the same as hygiene, but I see where you're coming from.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 6Duron1 View Post
    These are just a few examples that can dampen with your fresh hint of mint or whatever your toothpaste has in it.

    But wait a minute, the time is 2100 and your shift captain has agreed to a rule of lights out at 2200.

    but how many of these scenarios can you take the time to spray more cologne or wipe yourself off with some babywipes?

    baby wipes: $2
    cologne: $15
    toothpaste: $3
    toothbrush: $2
    Smelling Fresh at the end of the shift: priceless
    This is just wierd. Do any firemen work where you are? Is Martha Stewart your captain?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spencer534 View Post
    This is just wierd. Do any firemen work where you are? Is Martha Stewart your captain?
    Spencer, as I read the original post again, I'm inclined to agree with ya, bro.
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    Almost as weird as wearing an SCBA for a field fire.

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    Yeah whatever.

    EDIT: obviously you all stink in the middle of your shift and probably don't wear your seatbelts.
    Last edited by 6Duron1; 12-18-2011 at 12:56 AM.
    Unit 71 - Probationary Firefighter / First Responder
    Bossier Parish Fire District #1

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    Let's talk fire trucks! BoxAlarm187's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 6Duron1 View Post
    EDIT: obviously you all stink in the middle of your shift
    *sniff* Yep, appears that I do.

    and probably don't wear your seatbelts.
    What in the world does this completely inaccurate statement have to do with baby wipes and cologne?
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    I thought the original post was a joke. That you were trying to be funny.

    I come in for my 24's showered. So that right there easily has me covered for most of the day. Just like any other blue collar job where you work 12 hours days. Depending on the season (fall and winter you don't sweat as much) and the number and type of calls, i may not need another shower later that day. In winter months, i have been in bunker gear for an automatic alarm for almost an hour and not even sweat.

    I just cannot imagine the majority of houses are so busy that getting an 8 minute period to undress, shower, dry off, get dressed and put your dirty clothes in a bag cannot be done at some point during your 24. Even on a super busy shift with 20-30 calls of various types, that still leaves hours of downtime. The vast majority of calls, whether they are medicals, automatic alarms, smells, minor accidents, etc. are at most, 20 minutes each. But usually less then that. Even with driving time to and from, you are not out long. And if we have a major fire, we get downtime to shower and recover.

    I get the concept of your suggestions, but i see it as being completley unrealistic. In the military, it's not unusual to go a week without showering. Oh well. And even if i work a 24 in the winter and get ZERO calls, i am still going to shower when i get home no matter what. So the idea of wanting to be "fresh" when i get off duty is a non issue for me.

    Your immature last response though just makes you look bad. Best to just walk away then make childish comments.

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    yeah, your turnout gear can leave contaminants.
    Unit 71 - Probationary Firefighter / First Responder
    Bossier Parish Fire District #1

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    Quote Originally Posted by WD6956 View Post
    Your immature last response though just makes you look bad. Best to just walk away then make childish comments.
    Bossier Parish. It must be something in the water. Nuff said.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 6Duron1 View Post
    Yeah whatever.

    EDIT: obviously you all stink in the middle of your shift and probably don't wear your seatbelts.
    Duron,

    I've seen your other posts and you have been extremely humble and quick to point out that you are a rookie and are still learning (I hope I never stop doing this). The VES post is a prime example of this. You should be congratulated for this. This post is just another example of the same. Learning firehouse life is the same (but not as important) as learning the fireground. Most of the time this learning take place through "busting chops" and that is all I was doing. The worst thing you can do is take this personal. It is not. Busting chops is simply a way to see if you lose your cool and if you lose your cool when fellow firefighters give you a hard time, how can you handle it when things get rough on the fireground?

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    HAHAHAHAHAHA

    "Mom, do you ever have that 'not fresh' feeling?"
    Weruj1 likes this.
    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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    You are a pus... Find another line of work pretty boy

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    Bossier Parish. It must be something in the water. Nuff said.
    this..........
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    A) We're not that busy.

    B) I always smell good.
    Train to fight the fires you fight.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spencer534 View Post
    Duron,

    I've seen your other posts and you have been extremely humble and quick to point out that you are a rookie and are still learning (I hope I never stop doing this). The VES post is a prime example of this. You should be congratulated for this. This post is just another example of the same. Learning firehouse life is the same (but not as important) as learning the fireground. Most of the time this learning take place through "busting chops" and that is all I was doing. The worst thing you can do is take this personal. It is not. Busting chops is simply a way to see if you lose your cool and if you lose your cool when fellow firefighters give you a hard time, how can you handle it when things get rough on the fireground?
    alright, thanks I'll be a little bit more like the fonz.
    Unit 71 - Probationary Firefighter / First Responder
    Bossier Parish Fire District #1

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    Quote Originally Posted by 6Duron1 View Post
    alright, thanks I'll be a little bit more like the fonz.
    Just dont be more like LaFireEducator and you'll be fine.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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