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  1. #1
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    Default Firemen with Beards

    What are your feelings regarding active firefighters wearing beards. I do not have one and firmly believe the NFPA standard is there for a reason.


  2. #2
    IACOJ Agitator Adze39's Avatar
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    If you are in an OSHA state, then it is forbidden. If the beard is too thick to get an effective seal, then what good is it wearing an air pack?
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    MembersZone Subscriber ff7134's Avatar
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    We are not an OSHA state but our Dept. Regs says NO BEARDS!!!or
    any facial hair that could affect the seal of the mask.
    AKA: Mr. Whoo-Whoo

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    MembersZone Subscriber jaybird210's Avatar
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    We are not an OSHA state but our Dept. Regs says NO BEARDS!!! or any facial hair that could affect the seal of the mask.
    You may not be an OSHA state, but I'll bet you have a Department of Labor or other state agency that regulates employee work environment. In which case, they probably adopt OSHA regs verbatim. Weruj1? Any info here?
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    IACOJ Agitator Adze39's Avatar
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    Even though you are not an OSHA state, still really isn't a good thing.

    I have seen people have goaties and beards that can get seals though. All depends on how thick it is. Better just to have a blanket policy against it though.
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    Forum Member DaSharkie's Avatar
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    I was on a call departmetn that "Grandfathered" members on the department that had beards and said others could not. It went over like a fart in church. If it's bad it's bad. Just because you have been on for a while and have had a beard for years on the department doesn't mean squat to me. You may be able to get a seal at the start of the fire when you go in, but that facemask gets bumped and moved a lot when you start working and there is nothing you can do about it so the statement that you can get a seal means nothing either.

    The neighboring department's chief put out a message to all departments that normally responded mutual aid to them that he would turn away any company member that had a beard on their face, regardless of whether a seal is obtained or not. The liability is easily passed to his department, him, adn then his city so he has to look out for them. There was a lot of grumbling about this but it went away rather wuickly when he said the policy wasn't a joke and wouldn't change.
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    i get yelled at all the time for not shaving everyday


    i went in with not even 2 days worth adn they started callling me names and told me if i was being paid they would send me home


    so now i shave before i go on shift
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    Default

    If the SCBA is a positive pressure system, where is the big deal on facial hair? The seal might not be as great, however, the positive pressure keeps anything from blowing, through the pressure created. So where is the reasoning? I have never totally understood this.

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    IACOJ Agitator Adze39's Avatar
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    Yeah, and you get 5 feet in the door and all your air is gone. What good is that? You are wasting your air if you have a leaky seal.
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    Forum Member PAVolunteer's Avatar
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    How and why could this even have a remote possibility of being an issue?

    Positive pressure SCBA - what happens when you breathe? You create a vacuum which consumes the air being forced into the mask by the regulator. Guess what else happens. You breathe in anything in the atmosphere immediately surrounding your non-existent seal.

    What year is this anyway?

    Stay Safe

  11. #11
    MembersZone Subscriber Airborne's Avatar
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    This would seem like such a no brainer. This is as much of a lame conversation as working a fire while drunk.

    It is hard enough to keep a seal when you are hot and sweeting and your mask is getting bumped around. But when you are not getting a good seal because of your facial hair, your only going to hurt your self, and take up the resources that are going to have to go in after you and then finish your job because you have become a liability.

    If your facial hiar means that much to you, then maybe you should find another profession.

  12. #12
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    Default

    Originally posted by jaybird210


    You may not be an OSHA state, but I'll bet you have a Department of Labor or other state agency that regulates employee work environment. In which case, they probably adopt OSHA regs verbatim. Weruj1? Any info here?
    The way I understand it (and someone please correct me if I am wrong) in states that do not have their own OSHA, federal OSHA regulations do not apply to municipalities.

    So in this instance, Ohio private industries have to follow Federal OSHA respiratory protection regs but fire departments do not.

    In Michigan, Fire Departments have to follow MIOSHA regulations (which are pretty much verbatim to federal OSHA regs).

    My department follows the NFPA standard (I forget the number)which does not allow facial hair.

    Seems like a no-brainer to me. Keep the good air in and the bad air out with a proper mask seal.
    Last edited by WTFD10; 04-22-2003 at 12:08 PM.
    FTM-PTB-DTRT

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    IACOJ Agitator Adze39's Avatar
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    FedOSHA only regulates private industry.

    But what Jaybird was saying was that you still probably have a Department of Labor or some other agency that might have rules and regs regarding these matters.
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    Originally posted by Adze39
    FedOSHA only regulates private industry.

    But what Jaybird was saying was that you still probably have a Department of Labor or some other agency that might have rules and regs regarding these matters.
    Ok you guys got my curiosity going. I did a quick search and found this:

    Ohio Administrative Code 4121:1-21-02 Personal protective clothing and equipment for structural fire fighting.
    (K) Respiratory protection.
    (6) The employer shall not permit any known interference with the facepiece-to-face seal or with the operation of the exhalation valve on the full facepiece of an SCBA on employees who are exposed to hazardous atmospheres from fires and other emergencies or where the potential for such exposure exists.


    So there you have it fellow Buckeyes, it's officially illegal in Ohio too
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  15. #15
    Forum Member Weruj1's Avatar
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    due to my tardiness reading these forums I am unable to comment as my good neighbor to the north has already done a GREAT Ohio firefighter service in researching this item and I hope Moe has satisfied non-OSHA peoples ...............ROCK ON JAY!
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    http://www.firehouse.com/forums/show...60#post1137060post 115

  16. #16
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    For all of those who think positive pressure masks are the end all and be all of respiratory safety, ask the family of the firefighter (I will not name the department) that modified his mask (a Scott 2.2 I believe) with a bite stick so he would not need to use the straps. It is believed he did this to be able to take the mask off quickly to get a better look around while holding his breath and then put it back on and continue breathing. When he collapsed and died at a fire from carbon monoxide poisoning it was determined that because he did not have an adequate seal, even though it was positive pressure, enough CO got inside his mask, and therefore his lungs, to kill him.

    I know this is an extreme degree of this "bad seal" topic but it shows that even though there is a positive pressure area inside the mask, it is not 100% fool proof to keep all toxic gasses out of your range of breathing. If the seal didn't have to be tight to keep out all the gasses, why does every SCBA manufacturer tell you to make sure you have a good seal? If the seal is not important why do we need fit testing every year? And how much time inside the fire do you lose by letting your tank bleed air to the outside through a bad seal?

    This story is not an urban legend either. It was told to me by Lt. Mike Wilbur of FDNY L-27 and Firehouse contributing editor, during my FF Safety and Survival class he taught at the NYS Fire Academy. I'll take his word for it.
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    Default

    Some good replies. I started this post because my volunteer company in my state recently removed the policy on beards and they are now ALLOWED if they are well maintained. Someone posted, wondering what century we were in. Somtimes I wonder.

  18. #18
    MembersZone Subscriber Duffman's Avatar
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    Many good points have been mentioned here. Jay, as usual you were right on time with your comments regarding state DOL's.

    Why would anyone want to sport a beard if there is even a possibility of donning a SCBA. Wouldn't it itch something fierce?
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  19. #19
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    Default It depends

    I would say it depends on what you do there. If you're not on the interior team, then what does it matter? Such as engineer, driver, pump operater, or whatever you call them in your neck of the woods.
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  20. #20
    Forum Member Weruj1's Avatar
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    Cool............. what are you going to do if for some reason the only 4 people to show up for a fire are the ones with beards ?
    IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
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    http://www.firehouse.com/forums/show...60#post1137060post 115

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