Fyredup- Glad to hear your problem was resolved. I misunderstood your depiction of your response on how you were going to handle the conversation with the chief. I was under the impression that you were going to issue him an ultimatum to him and i did not want to see that blow up in your face. As for my sugestion on training. I was merely trying to open your mind to some possible alternatives to how you could limit your liablity as the training officer, if you were so inclined. As well as open your mind as to some of the posible reprocustions of you not being the training officer any longer. After all an instructor with 30 plus years in the fire service is hard to come by. I do not know you or your commitment to the department so i have no clue as to how much you have invested in it. Clearly you had your mind made up from the get go and was not willing to compromise with the Chief. If you look at the standard it states on Emergency Incidents and in Hazardous environments. Training in the apparatus bay does not meet that critria. Thus limiting you liablity as the training officer. The liablity IMO would then be on the department and the chief in regards to fire ground operations. Obviously that would not be the best option.
No idea is idioic, they all might not work in the situation however they can sometime spark other ideas that will. i was under the impression that you were brainstorming on possible alternatives.
I would not tell you not to do that if you thought it was right. I will NOT do it because I believe it is wrong and opens me AND the department AND its officers up for possible liability.
1) Talk to your spiritual leader and explain that rules, regulations and standards do not allow you to have facial hair that interferes with the seal of the mask. Seek his advice.
2) How about a "soul Patch?" You know, the little patch of hair under the lower lip that doesn't extend to the jaw line? It seems to me that would meet the intent of facial hair without putting you in peril of not getting a goo seal.
Again believe me I am not making light of your religion, just trying to find a way to keep you safe AND meet your spiritual needs at the same time.
It's the law here... no hair between your face and the seal.
Sorry to be so long getting here, it's a long run from the East Coast.........:D Maryland also subscribes to the standards that are outlined in the Fed OSHA documents...... I haven't had to do anything more difficult than reminding a member that had just returned from a Vacation that he needed to shave prior to responding on any alarm. No problem there.......:) In this case, I'm glad everything worked out OK, and I have a hunch that when the word starts getting out, there will be more voluntary compliance as a result of your taking a stand for safety........
In your role as a Training Officer, you assume a significant liability, and more importantly, a responsibility, to ensure your people not only meet whatever rules, regulations, guidelines, and etc. are out there, but also that they know enough to operate with maximum efficiency and effectiveness at an emergency scene. If someone refuses to comply with the rules, then you, as a Training Officer, already have the deck stacked against you.
Stand your ground and be consistent. If "they" don't like it, encourage them to find someone who is willing to assume the risk and responsibility.
Honest to God, after reading through this thread for a while, I decided to shave off my chin whiskers. I hate it because it did a good job of hiding my second chin, but alas not my third chin. Speaking of second chins, our safety/training officer is worried about the liability of obese firefighters, guys that cant even get into the scba harness. Does he or the dept. have any liability when it comes to "morbidly obese" firefighters staying on the dept?
Does your department have medical exams and /or physical fitness requirements?
I'm guessing no, as that seems to be almost as hot a topic as shaving and background investigations.
There are medical standards which if used would dismiss most liability assuming these out of shape firefighters were passing the standards. I am not aware of any departments being held liable for allowing grossly unfit firefighters onto the fire ground, but there is always a first time.
We have started a health and wellness program. It all starts with a free exam by the county health dept. It measures BMI and blood pressure. If found to be stage 1 or 2 hypertensive the officers will pay for a complete checkup for the firefighter. The reason for that is because the overweight firefighters did not want to have to pay for the checkup, and possibly save there own life. If hypertensive, the firefighter will be taken off the active duty roster until steps are taken to mitigate the problem and the member obtains a pass from the doctor.
Well, Monday night I made the presentation to the entire FD at monthly meeting. I had NFPA 1500, SPS330, and OSHA 1910.134 and handed out copies to everyone of the relevant sections of each. I stated the FDs new policy regarding beards and how it related to training and fire response. I only got one kind of evil stare from a member with a beard, lots of questions about how long the facial hair could be, but mostly acceptance of this is how it is.
I still have to address it with my other volly FD because of work I haven't been able to make a meeting yet. I'll let you know how that goes.
Well, the officer's meeting with my other volly FD occurred last night. I got 100% support for enforcing this standard and as my son, LT Chenzo pointed out it was already in our by-laws manual so all we had to do was say no more, we are enforcing state and national standards regarding facial hair.
It went well in the general membership meeting, no one argued, one guy asked how long his mustache could be and that was that.
I don't know why I was so worried...