Like Tree5Likes
  • 3 Post By snowball
  • 1 Post By IronValor
  • 1 Post By CaptOldTimer

Thread: What is the general consensus on tattoos?

  1. #1
    Forum Member
    Wolfn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Tampa, Florida
    Posts
    132

    Default What is the general consensus on tattoos?

    What's the general attitude towards tattoos?

    The reason why I'm asking is because earlier today I was at the local mall and a firefighter came in with an AED for a patient. No bunker gear, just station shirt and dark shorts and his arms and legs were covered with tattoos.


    I must say this surprised me.
    Normal is an illusion. What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly.

  2. #2
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    180

    Default

    Alot of your questions are on appearance?

    Depends in the department.

  3. #3
    Forum Member
    FyredUp's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 1999
    Location
    Rural Wisconsin, Retired from the burbs of Milwaukee
    Posts
    10,280

    Default

    Funny YOU would ask about tatoos. Have yu looked at your avatar?
    Crazy, but that's how it goes
    Millions of people living as foes
    Maybe it's not too late
    To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

  4. #4
    Forum Member
    Wolfn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Tampa, Florida
    Posts
    132

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by legos.8ty7 View Post
    Alot of your questions are on appearance?

    Depends in the department.
    Well, not that I would get alot of tattoos. But I thought you can't have a visible tattoo.
    Normal is an illusion. What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly.

  5. #5
    Forum Member
    Wolfn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Tampa, Florida
    Posts
    132

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    Funny YOU would ask about tatoos. Have yu looked at your avatar?

    Yep

    Ten characters
    Normal is an illusion. What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly.

  6. #6
    Forum Member
    DeputyMarshal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    2,638

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfn View Post
    Well, not that I would get alot of tattoos. But I thought you can't have a visible tattoo.
    It depends on the department. Some have rules about visible ink; some don't.

    As a good rule of thumb, don't get any visible ink if you're looking to get on as a career firefighter. (Or any other career track professional job...)
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

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

  7. #7
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Bronx NY
    Posts
    6

    Default

    If you want a real career, dont get tatted too much. Biceps are cool. Maybe a forearm. But sleeves of tattoos, thats no bueno.
    Test 2000
    score : 97

  8. #8
    MembersZone Subscriber
    tree68's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Jefferson County, NY USA
    Posts
    2,346

    Default

    I've saved myself a bunch of trouble (and money) by not getting any tattoos at all...
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

  9. #9
    Forum Member
    islandfire03's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    2,660

    Default

    Also : You don't get hepatitis by having ink injected by a needle under sometimes less than sanitary conditions, by an ex con that learned his trade with a ballpoint pen in prison.

    If you think a tat is really nice when it's first done, wait ten or fifteen years as your body ages and you'll figure out what a waste of money it was.

  10. #10
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    220

    Default

    As mentioned, it varies. There are still departments out there that simply don't care about tattoos, others that have some restrictions and some that have very restrictive policies.

    Some will suggest you wait until you are hired, but even that is not 100%. There are more departments moving to no visible tattoo policies and they don't grandfather current employees. Hope you don't work in a hot climate when you start having to wear a long sleeve shirt at all times when on duty.

  11. #11
    Forum Member
    snowball's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    Just North of South Central
    Posts
    2,740

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by islandfire03 View Post
    Also : You don't get hepatitis by having ink injected by a needle under sometimes less than sanitary conditions, by an ex con that learned his trade with a ballpoint pen in prison.

    If you think a tat is really nice when it's first done, wait ten or fifteen years as your body ages and you'll figure out what a waste of money it was.
    ^^Stereotypical response. How many do you have? I have quite a few, done by artists that take great pride in their craft. We even have a couple of guys on the job that are pretty good. I'd let them ink me any day. My father in law who is 80, had some done during the Korean war (Navy guy), they are holding fast. Even the battleship on his chest that says "Hold Fast".

    There are some bad ones, I'll admit. But the saying goes..."you get what you pay for".
    ffbam24, IronValor and zshouse like this.
    IAFF

  12. #12
    Forum Member
    GTRider245's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Augusta,GA
    Posts
    3,065

    Default

    Point being: even in today's world, tatoos are not looked at by most of society as part of a professional image. That being said, if you want to get them that is up to you. But don't be surprised if they affect your hiring chances or you have something said to you in a professional setting if they can't be covered with normal uniform.

    That's just the way it is.
    Career Firefighter
    Volunteer Captain

    -Professional in Either Role-

    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101 View Post
    I don't mind fire rolling over my head. I just don't like it rolling UNDER my a**.

  13. #13
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Chief_Roy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    West Coast
    Posts
    197

    Default

    We recently had to institute a policy about tattoos because a couple of boneheads wanted to push the issue. One guy actually wanted to know if I thought it'd be okay if he got a "f-you" across his knuckles, surrounded by barbed wire. Yeah junior, that's not going to fly. New policy was out by the end of the day, borrowed from a nearby metro department. It basically says that visible tattoos are allowed, but they cannot be racist, vulgar, or otherwise be considered offensive. The chief has final say on whether a visible tattoo has to be covered.

    Btw, I have a fair numbers of tattoos myself, but you can't see a single one of them even if I'm wearing a short sleeve polo. It's just not very professional as far as I'm concerned.

  14. #14
    Forum Member
    EastKyFF's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Nippa, KY
    Posts
    3,145

    Default

    If this guy did your tattoos, just go ahead and file for unemployment, welfare, food stamps, public housing, and Medicaid.

    Seriously. Look at the guy's tattoos.
    I am more than just a serious basketball fan. I am a life-long addict. I was addicted from birth, in fact, because I was born in Kentucky.
    ― Hunter S. Thompson

  15. #15
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Skaneateles, NY
    Posts
    88

    Default

    I have a few tattoos, but when I got them I made special attention to get them where they wouldn't be visible on the job. I am currently a captain with my Vol. company and work primarily with the head supervisor in my EMS job and there is a very few amount of people that have any clue that I have any tattoos at all. Its all about personal image and how you want to have yourself perceived.

  16. #16
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Fruita, Colorado
    Posts
    6

    Default

    Just depends on the department. My department has no rules on it, just no offensive ink showing.

  17. #17
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Northeast Coast
    Posts
    3,908

    Default

    It appears from numerous municipal workplace cases, enacting a policy that allows for any interpretation of offensive will not end well. It appears the no visible or no new visible ink would be the most likely to pass muster with the courts. Racism, vulgarity and offensiveness all allow for interpretation leading to the potential for uneven treatment of different employees.

  18. #18
    Forum Member
    IronValor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Richmond, Kentucky
    Posts
    210

    Default

    I have worked for Federal, State, and County and City agencies. For anybody that knows me they know I am covered in Tattoos. I have made no attempts to hide them and have NEVER ever ever been asked to cover them up for any reason. And they have never been an issue. As far as what it is going to be like when I am 80. Well let Me tell ya if I make it to 80 I will look at my tats and remember how awesome I was. Professional image is nothing more than personal perception. While some find a shaved head to be perfectly acceptable others might find it offensive. While some may find a pair of spit shined boots to be sharp others may think that the person has too much spare time. Tattoos are not offensive, They do not mean that you are on welfare or collect food stamps or have hep c or have been to jail. They simply mean that you view your body as a temple and decided it was time to paint the house.

    Thats My two cents and all

    DTRT-EGH-FTB
    Longshot likes this.
    Do not let the ghosts of our fallen brothers gaze upon you and ask " What have you done to my profession?" FTB DTRT EGH

  19. #19
    Forum Member
    CaptOldTimer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 1999
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    7,273

    Default

    The military doesn't allow them to be seen. Why should the fire service be any different, as we are somewhat military in our organization?
    RFDACM02 likes this.
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

  20. #20
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    220

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by CaptOldTimer View Post
    The military doesn't allow them to be seen. Why should the fire service be any different, as we are somewhat military in our organization?
    The military ban on visible tattoos is also a fairly new policy, I have met lots of older vets with the stereotype service, or unit emblem on a forearm.

    We may be like the military but, the fire service is not the military. There are a lot of things the military has gotten away with that we had to deal with decades ago (women in combat, don't ask don't tell).


    Personally I find the recent trend toward no tattoos rather odd. In all other ways we are being told we need to represent the public, we need to be diverse. I guess the tattooed members of the public don't need to be represented in the ranks of the fire service.

    Tattoos are becoming more mainsteam in the public at large, but the fire service in many areas is reacting by creating new policies against something that is becoming more acceptable to the public at large.

    I don't have any tattoos, and have never had the desire for one, but I think this will come back to bite the fire service in the butt in the courts sometime down the road. It discriminates against a perfectly legal lifestyle.

    Do we have customers who will react negatively to a tattooed firefighter? Sure, but we also have people who react poorly to just about any other feature we have.

    I have had several firefighters with visible tattoos, and none have had their tattoos impact their performance.

    That said, I still recommend people looking for a career in the fire service, not to get any tattoos.
    Last edited by Here and there; 10-31-2012 at 02:39 PM.

  21. #21
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Chief_Roy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    West Coast
    Posts
    197

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by IronValor View Post
    I have worked for Federal, State, and County and City agencies. For anybody that knows me they know I am covered in Tattoos. I have made no attempts to hide them and have NEVER ever ever been asked to cover them up for any reason. And they have never been an issue. As far as what it is going to be like when I am 80. Well let Me tell ya if I make it to 80 I will look at my tats and remember how awesome I was. Professional image is nothing more than personal perception. While some find a shaved head to be perfectly acceptable others might find it offensive. While some may find a pair of spit shined boots to be sharp others may think that the person has too much spare time. Tattoos are not offensive, They do not mean that you are on welfare or collect food stamps or have hep c or have been to jail. They simply mean that you view your body as a temple and decided it was time to paint the house.

    Thats My two cents and all

    DTRT-EGH-FTB
    I agree that tattoos are not by default offensive to most people, but we have to consider as administrators is that they *can* be offensive depending on what they depict. What if one of my guys gets a tattoo of a naked woman on his forearm that offends one of my several female firefighters? Ignore it and I could have a lawsuit from my female firefighter. Or what if I had allowed the guy to get the "f-you" across his knuckles? I can't imagine the calls I'm going to get from the public on that. "Who cares if they get offended, I'm just expressing myself," isn't a suitable response in this day and age. The policy we adopted from the nearby metro department was vetted by our legal counsel. I guess we'll be sticking with it until it's successfully challenged.

    You won't get any argument out of me about how cool tattoos are. I love mine and I'm always planning the next one. But in this profession we're held to a different standard, whether we like it or not. And quite honestly, if the guy who wanted the "f-you" on his knuckles had actually gotten it and been up for promotion at some point in his career, he's not going to get it. Ever. Believe me, somebody will think of a reason if we can't reference the tattoo. Either that or they can wear a white Michael Jackson glove for the rest of their career.
    Last edited by Chief_Roy; 10-31-2012 at 06:54 PM.

  22. #22
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Northeast Coast
    Posts
    3,908

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Here and there View Post
    The military ban on visible tattoos is also a fairly new policy, I have met lots of older vets with the stereotype service, or unit emblem on a forearm.

    We may be like the military but, the fire service is not the military. There are a lot of things the military has gotten away with that we had to deal with decades ago (women in combat, don't ask don't tell).


    Personally I find the recent trend toward no tattoos rather odd. In all other ways we are being told we need to represent the public, we need to be diverse. I guess the tattooed members of the public don't need to be represented in the ranks of the fire service.

    Tattoos are becoming more mainsteam in the public at large, but the fire service in many areas is reacting by creating new policies against something that is becoming more acceptable to the public at large.

    I don't have any tattoos, and have never had the desire for one, but I think this will come back to bite the fire service in the butt in the courts sometime down the road. It discriminates against a perfectly legal lifestyle.

    Do we have customers who will react negatively to a tattooed firefighter? Sure, but we also have people who react poorly to just about any other feature we have.

    I have had several firefighters with visible tattoos, and none have had their tattoos impact their performance.

    That said, I still recommend people looking for a career in the fire service, not to get any tattoos.
    While most of what you said is by no means wrong, the fact is that we as a fire service do very often have uniform policies. Does the uniform itself make you a professional? No. Lord knows we have many people in uniform that are far from professional. Like it or not, we like most publicly paid employees are held to a public perception. Thankfully for significant portion of the population, they'll never truly see how professional our personnel are as they won't directly use or need our services. For those people it is the image that helps hold us in higher regard. We do a lot to ensure our taxpayer support us, and if this means a fading public perception issue is more important to the greater good than the wants of an individual so be it. Likely in time, this issue will come to pass as tattoos are rapidly becoming far more mainstream. The bigger issue is how to keep offensive tattoos from being seen. You have every right to have a swastika on your forehead, but imagine how the thoughts/fears that conjures up to a segment of the community. While that's an easy one to say "No" to, how about some of the many that are lesser known? It's really not about the fact that one has exposed tats, its about what is allowable. Who is to say what's offensive? This is where the problems start for an administration and why the flat all out covering rules eliminate most issues.

  23. #23
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    220

    Default

    Chief Roy, I agree 100% that there are tattoos that are completely inappropriate. I also agree that the courts will make where that line gets drawn very grey.

    What I find odd is that this is a relatively new issue, yet tattoos have been around forever. It appears to me to be a knee jerk reaction to an issue that is growing in acceptance by the public.

    There are cultures that place a significant value of tattoos. It is only a matter of time before someone from such a culture goes to court to fight what they see as a discriminatory policy, and I don't see the department winning that one.


    As I said, I personally have no interest in a tattoo, I just see this coming to a head at some point. Considering that the courts have ruled that a cultural need to have a beard overrides OSHA, I don't see the fire departments winning this one, with the exception of offensive material (which as has been mentioned gets very difficult to define).

  24. #24
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Chief_Roy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    West Coast
    Posts
    197

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Here and there View Post
    Chief Roy, I agree 100% that there are tattoos that are completely inappropriate. I also agree that the courts will make where that line gets drawn very grey.

    What I find odd is that this is a relatively new issue, yet tattoos have been around forever. It appears to me to be a knee jerk reaction to an issue that is growing in acceptance by the public.

    There are cultures that place a significant value of tattoos. It is only a matter of time before someone from such a culture goes to court to fight what they see as a discriminatory policy, and I don't see the department winning that one.


    As I said, I personally have no interest in a tattoo, I just see this coming to a head at some point. Considering that the courts have ruled that a cultural need to have a beard overrides OSHA, I don't see the fire departments winning this one, with the exception of offensive material (which as has been mentioned gets very difficult to define).
    I hear you. It definitely feels like a rock and hard spot sort of thing. In my naked woman tattoo example, if I don't do anything I could get a lawsuit from the female firefighter. Force the male firefighter to cover it up and he could conceivably sue us for trampling on his freedom of expression/speech rights. No win.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Tattoos?
    By nickytonk in forum Federal & Military Firehouse Forum
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 04-27-2009, 12:40 PM
  2. Tattoos
    By maples in forum Probie House: The Place for Newbies
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 07-21-2008, 02:45 PM
  3. Tattoos
    By scafd4128 in forum Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 04-24-2008, 07:03 PM
  4. Tattoos
    By scafd4128 in forum Michigan
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 04-23-2008, 05:57 PM
  5. Tattoos
    By Lieu52vollie in forum MembersZone Updates & Information
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 07-28-2003, 11:44 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Log in

Click here to log in or register