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Thread: Could this tattoo hurt my chances of getting hired by a fire department?

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    Default Could this tattoo hurt my chances of getting hired by a fire department?

    I'm 18 years old, going to graduate high school this May, and I was planning on going to school afterwards for Fire Protection so I could become a firefighter. I was thinking of getting a tattoo this weekend of a skull with slicked back hair with the word "Greasers" on my forearm. Could this tattoo hurt my chances of getting hired? My friend's dad is a firefighter in Austin, Texas and he once said in an off comment that he's seen firefighters with sleeve tattoos and things like that. So do you think it would be ok? I figured it would be best to ask this question on a forum with actual firefighters than something like Yahoo Answers. I'm sorry if a similar question to this has been asked. Thank you in advance for your answers.
    Last edited by Jon Thompson; 01-08-2013 at 08:01 PM.


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    Forum Member FWDbuff's Avatar
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    Some departments have policies forbidding tattoos on any visible parts of the body. You need to know and understand what the policies are for the particular agency for where you wish to apply.

    If you want my opinion, hold off on the tattoo or any tattoos for a while. You can always get one later in life after you are hired- you cannot however get it removed. Save your money.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    Ditto what FWD said.
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    I looked up the tattoo policy for the Austin Fire Department and it says tattoos are acceptable but all inappropriate tattoos must be able to be covered by the AFD uniform while on duty. I'm not exactly sure what a firefighter's uniform looks like, would it be able to cover a forearm tattoo?

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    Wait on the tattoo. Very rarely do people get hired by the first department they apply to, and even if it's ok with Austin, it may not be ok with a department that later on turns out to be your best chance at getting hired.

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    Let's talk fire trucks! BoxAlarm187's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Thompson View Post
    I'm not exactly sure what a firefighter's uniform looks like, would it be able to cover a forearm tattoo?
    As long as you're willing to wear a long sleeve uniform in Texas in July, you'll be fine.

    Don't get the tattoo. At least wait until you're on the job.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    As long as you're willing to wear a long sleeve uniform in Texas in July, you'll be fine.

    Don't get the tattoo. At least wait until you're on the job.
    This!! As someone who had visible tattoos before I decided I wanted to be a firefighter this is something I have accepted. That if they want the tattoo covered then I am going to be in long shelves for my career.

    In my finding some depts have super strict about tattoos and they can't even be showing while at the station or in PT's. This is rare but still there.

    I would say if your srs about becoming a firefighter wait on getting the tattoo or change location to some where that can be covered in a t-shirt and shorts.

    Also consider the content. I just had a backround that wanted listed all my tattoos what they are size location when I got them and meaning behind them.
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    A better question to ask is "Would getting this tattoo increase my chances of getting a firefighting job?"

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    I got hired with two half sleeves, barely visible with my class B's on. However, keep in mind that what you think is a good idea at 18 years old may not be such a good idea in your later years. I don't regret any of my tatts but I might change some things and I am also VERY glad they are not super visible. While tattoos are being more socially acceptable our older clientele still associate them with convicts and low lifes. Paets says it best.

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    Ditto to what has been said, and I will add; the term "Greasers" could be considered racially offensive and would add to the negativity of having the tat.
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    I really want to get this tattoo for my upper arm.

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    why? i love hearing people's reasons for awesome tribal tats.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Thompson View Post
    I'm 18 years old, going to graduate high school this May, and I was planning on going to school afterwards for Fire Protection so I could become a firefighter. I was thinking of getting a tattoo this weekend of a skull with slicked back hair with the word "Greasers" on my forearm. Could this tattoo hurt my chances of getting hired? My friend's dad is a firefighter in Austin, Texas and he once said in an off comment that he's seen firefighters with sleeve tattoos and things like that. So do you think it would be ok? I figured it would be best to ask this question on a forum with actual firefighters than something like Yahoo Answers. I'm sorry if a similar question to this has been asked. Thank you in advance for your answers.
    Inked forearms creep people out. Its more of a lifestyle than you should commit yourself to at age 18.

    Both of my forearms have flames coming up them from wrists to elbows. I have been wearing long sleeves to hide this crap a long time. I am a 40 yr old business owner, and volunteer firefighter. NO ONE in the business world would take me seriously if I rolled into a meeting in short sleeves. Further it is not the professional polished look many people desire in a firefighter.

    DO NOT put ink on your forearms, especially a skull with the word "Greasers". You WILL be viewed in the eyes of many as a 2nd class citizen. You WILL have to cover it to get a job worth having. People WILL judge you. Your question is "could" it hurt your chances at a job. I'm telling you without a doubt from personal experience that it WILL be a detriment.

    Those are the facts of tattooed forearms, from someone that's got them. DONT!!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by legos.8ty7 View Post
    why? i love hearing people's reasons for awesome tribal tats.
    Because I'm half Native American and want something that looks cool. Yes, I know the design comes from the Maoris, but dammit it looks cool.
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    Most large city fire departments make no issue of this. I personally have a half sleeve, and have never had any comment good bad or otherwise on them.

    You'll find that many of the folks that frequent these boards are a bit... conservative. Don't sweat it. If they ask, tell them what it means, but if it's not offensive (I've got skulls all over my arm) you've got no issue.

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    I encourage you to re-read FF Andy's post. He puts it into great context for both on and off duty. I can tell you that noone in my position is going to say, "Those tattoos are cool. We better hire this guy before someone else does."

    While tattoos may be more acceptable in mainstream society, it's important for you to realize that firefighters are very conservative as a general rule. This is especially true when you consider my peers (Chiefs). We are a VERY conservative group. We also do the hiring. So, while the younger group of firefighters may be more sympathetic by a cool tattoo, the group that does the hiring is generally not.

    It's hard enough to get a job in the fire service. You have to ask yourself is it really worth it?

    In closing, the presence or absence of a tattoo does not make the firefighter. Some of the best firefighters I know have them (heck, my daughter has them). It's the public perception in a field that survives on public perception that should concern you.

    Good luck with your decision!
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    Quick answer, DON'T. It's tough enough getting this job. Don't limit your opportunities. Not many would really care about your explanation story that it speaks to your heritage.

    What is that?

    A candidate shows up at our house for a coaching session with our son Captain Rob. Rob introduces Jim to me. He looks like he would fit the part of a firefighter. Tall, muscular, dressed in a suit, shoes shinned, and a strong firm handshake with good eye contact. A great first impression if he had just entered an oral boardroom. Then, as he turned his head slightly, out of the corner of my eye, I see something on his neck behind his ear. I asked, “What is that?” As he turned his head more he said, “That’s a tattoo of a scorpion.” But, I have a good story to go along with it.” I said, “There isn’t a story you could tell me in an oral board, without opening a can or worms, that would convince me it was a good idea you planted a scorpion that spread out behind your ear down your neck.”

    Now if I saw it that soon so would a panel member.

    Rob went on an EMS call recently. When he asked the guy his name, he pointed to a tattoo of his name on his neck. Cute.

    So, maybe your tattoo is not visible with a suit on. Remember there will an agility, a medical in your future where every inch of your body will be seen, a background and psych questionnaire will more than likely ask you if your have any tattoos or have you ever branded your self. This will not work in your favor.

    The candidate with the scorpion tattoo said as he was leaving he, “I have already looked into having it removed and was going to go a head and do it. Cost? $2,000. Before then, he took the suggestion of using mortician’s wax to cover it up for any upcoming oral boards.

    What ever your opinion is on tattoos, understand who’s doing the hiring. It’s not you or any one of your friends who also like tattoos, color, so called art work or tatts.
    Last edited by CaptBob; 01-12-2013 at 07:55 PM.
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    We actually ask candidates in the Chief's interview if they will have any tattoos that will be visible when wearing a standard fire department interview. The answer is either yes or no.

    If the answer is YES, the interview is over.
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    Quote Originally Posted by paulLepore View Post
    We actually ask candidates in the Chief's interview if they will have any tattoos that will be visible when wearing a standard fire department interview. The answer is either yes or no.

    If the answer is YES, the interview is over.

    Can you define what a standard fire department uniform is? Short sleeve? Long Sleeve? Employers can have standards about tattoos and being visible. But there is also other ways to cover tattoos then just the uniform itself.

    And ending the interview there could be consider bigotry.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tipys View Post
    And ending the interview there could be consider bigotry.
    Not if the interviewing agency has a policy forbidding tattoos.....It's called saving time.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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