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Thread: Facial hair and SCBA, how much is too much?

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    Default Facial hair and SCBA, how much is too much?

    Ok, so I started reading through Don's post from a while back:
    http://www.firehouse.com/forums/t126475/ (Beards, training, and my liability as a training officer)

    I'm not at all trying to argue for/against facial hair and wearing a mask. I completely understand why the rules are the rules. I remember my father shaving his beard 20+ years ago (well before automatic positive pressure masks) after he got a bit of smoke in his mask at a fire...

    My question is: What defines too much facial hair? The way I read the standards it really looks like anything other than fresh-shaven is in violation. What about guys on a 24 hour shift that have a 5 o'clock shadow at noon? Even though the standard reads as a black-and-white rule, there has to be a bit of objectivity there....?

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    The standard around here is one day's growth.
    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

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    Are there any current masks available that just might allow a little bit of growth? Or is it more of a iron clad rule backed up by costly experience? I am wondering what Europe uses right now? The reason I am asking is that in our Volunteer Fire Department out here in SW Oregon, (now you know) we have lost many good volunteer prospects because of the hair and beard situation. HB of CJ (old coot)

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    One variable


    """Nonetheless, Palmer made some policy changes after the fire. Each firefighter gets his or her own face mask for breathing apparatuses. And firefighters can’t have facial hair more than a day’s growth in the places where their mask seals, McNutt said. He said the Palmer firefighter who lost consciousness “had some scruff” that night.""""



    http://www.firechief.com/2014/06/11/...ef-asst-chief/

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    Why in 2014 are we still talking about facial hair and scba use? It's simple, you want to wear scba be clean shaven. I know the OP didn't mean for that topic to come up. But damn it follow the rules in place by OSHA, MSHA, NFPA, and every scba manufacturer or find something else to do.

    These rules are in place to keep you safe.
    johnsb and FWDbuff like this.

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    I can't imagine this even being an issue in this day and time - unless of course he is on the Effingwoods FD. (He is in New Hampshire)

    If you can't work safely, for you, for your family, for your fellow firefighters, and for the public, then volunteer down at the sanitation department. Simple.
    CaptOldTimer likes this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LVFD301 View Post
    Effingwoods FD.
    Well, um, uh....

    Several years and a couple of chiefs ago, we had a situation very similar to the first "episode" of that show, involving a chimney fire. I was not on the department at the time (I'm not even sure I was in NH then...) but only 2 members (neither of which had any certs or were allowed to drive apparatus) showed up and stood at the road while mutual aid took care of the issue... We've come a long ways since then but are still fighting the perceptions borne from those days.

    The "one days growth" answered my question, and no I did not mean to start a debate on it at all. Like I said, I fully understand why the rule is there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dfelix22000us View Post
    Well, um, uh....

    Several years and a couple of chiefs ago, we had a situation very similar to the first "episode" of that show, involving a chimney fire. I was not on the department at the time (I'm not even sure I was in NH then...) but only 2 members (neither of which had any certs or were allowed to drive apparatus) showed up and stood at the road while mutual aid took care of the issue... We've come a long ways since then but are still fighting the perceptions borne from those days.

    The "one days growth" answered my question, and no I did not mean to start a debate on it at all. Like I said, I fully understand why the rule is there.
    My second response wasn't to you at all, it was to HBofCJ.
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    Quote Originally Posted by HBofCJ View Post
    Are there any current masks available that just might allow a little bit of growth? Or is it more of a iron clad rule backed up by costly experience? I am wondering what Europe uses right now? The reason I am asking is that in our Volunteer Fire Department out here in SW Oregon, (now you know) we have lost many good volunteer prospects because of the hair and beard situation. HB of CJ (old coot)
    I was on vacation last May on the Amalfi Coast of Italy.The fire station in the town of Maori (part of the regional FD based in Salerno) had MSA scba.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    Quote Originally Posted by HBofCJ View Post
    Are there any current masks available that just might allow a little bit of growth? Or is it more of a iron clad rule backed up by costly experience? I am wondering what Europe uses right now? The reason I am asking is that in our Volunteer Fire Department out here in SW Oregon, (now you know) we have lost many good volunteer prospects because of the hair and beard situation. HB of CJ (old coot)
    Don't you think losing them at the station door is better than losing them at another door? That said you are a volley dept. and are likely badly in need of volunteers and could use them in support roles like tender drivers. Write S.O.P.S concerning their role and be very clear about it.

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    Clean shaven, 1 days growth for me might be a week for somebody else.
    www.whatsinyourpockets.com

    Your source for Quality, handmade Firefighter pocket tools

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    Quote Originally Posted by whatsinyourpockets.com View Post
    Clean shaven, 1 days growth for me might be a week for somebody else.
    I agree. One day's growth is both variable and subjective.

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    Originally Posted by whatsinyourpockets.com View Post

    Clean shaven, 1 days growth for me might be a week for somebody else.
    Quote Originally Posted by captnjak View Post
    I agree. One day's growth is both variable and subjective.
    The answer is pretty easy then isn't it. 100% clean shaven or don't mask up.

    The problem is less about facial hair and more about personal responsibility. People need to be enough of an adult to follow the rules without having to be told.
    Crazy, but that's how it goes
    Millions of people living as foes
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    We are fortunate that a near-by refinery has a "Quantitative testing device" that measures the leakage in PPM as the FF goes through the various moves like face down and shake the head, etc. We had a Nay sayer, who wanted to try with a pretty good stubble (36 hours) We use Scott AV-3000 "Sure Seal" masks that are personally fit for size using the test device. The nay-sayer could not pass the test, no matter how tight he pulled the straps and adjusted the mask. He then went to the shower-room and shaved. Passed easily, then.

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