1. #1
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    Exclamation Volunteer Uniforms

    I had a question and I wanted to know what everyone thought.

    Our Station just bought a few uniforms to wear when we respond to EMS/FIRE calls. Our department is 100% volunteer, and we all respond to the station once we are paged.

    In the rual area that we are in, we have alot of old fokes, and old volunteer fire departments that would look at us, and "laugh" and wonder why we respond wearing uniform shirts, and pants. The other area volunteer stations respond in farm shirts, and pants.

    How many other volunteer departments respond in uniform?
    And Is this a good idea for a rual area like our department?

    Thanks!

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    Default does the uniform delay response times ?

    while you may be getting laughed at, you are presenting yourselves very well with a nice appearance. I am sorry to hear of your ridicule. We have 2 people on from 8-4 everyday and they wear a uniform, other than that we come from home, and we do have a dress code when coming form home. No sandals or open toed shoes, no tank tops or cut off shorts, I think there are more but these are what come to mind.
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    We have Class B work uniforms (collared shirt and work pants) that we have to wear on drill nights and PR duties or EMS standbys. We also get made fun of for this by some neighboring departments but I feel we have a more professional appearance with the uniforms and couldn't care less what other departments think.

    We are not required to wear them on responses though.

    The only rule we have for apparel for responses is that we cannot wear shorts or t-shirts with objectionable pictures or wording (co ed naked firefighting and the like) for EMS calls. We can wear our one piece jump suits or we have to put on our bunker pants over the shorts. A Fire or MVA response would of course require full turnout gear. Most members will wear a department t-shirt if they know they will be in the area and responding to calls that day.

    I would say if changing into the uniforms doesn't delay your response and your members like them then keep it up.

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    WTFD10 where do you purchase your work pants from and are their any guidelines for them?

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    Originally posted by Firefighter2230
    WTFD10 where do you purchase your work pants from and are their any guidelines for them?
    We get the shirt and pants together from a local uniform supply house. They are made by Red Kap. The department pays for them.
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    We are a full volunteer dept in a rural area. We have fire departmebnt t-shirts that we try and waer to calls. I feel the shirts not only help us look professional but also identify fire personnel.

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    We are a combo department. We have full paid manning at the stations, but volunteers cane ride if they can find an open seat. In this case, they wear a unifrom shirt and pants. If they respond from home to a scene, its either a department jumpsuit (coveralls) or department T-shirt and pants. Black uniform boots are required at all times.
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    I keep a polo,baseball hat and my reflective jacket in my duffle bag in my trunk.If I am comeing from home,I usally toss on my uniform pants or if I am already out.....blue jeans are fine.

    Dont worry about the lemmings laughing at you.....your going the extra step to look professional and that is great as long as you are not slowing your response time and dont lose site of the ultimate goal.......and that is to help people not look good.


    Just make sure you wash your shirts and other stuff in the trunk AT LEAST once a month if not used....or a strange funk will build up on it.
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    Wearing a uniform gives you a professional appearance. It identifies who you are and the duties you are supposed to perform. This is why everyone from the police to the Coca-Cola delivery guy wear them.

    Members of our volunteer division have a uniform -- navy BDU-style pants with either a department t-shirt or polo. They wear this for all planned events and for training nights.

    When you respond to a call, doesn't it hurt your response time to switch into a uniform?

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    Originally posted by cozmosis
    When you respond to a call, doesn't it hurt your response time to switch into a uniform?
    I was thinking the same thing.

    However, If you can dress with no significant delay, go for it. It certainly will promote a more professional image.

    Our dept issues flame resistant jumpsuits for this, and they can either be left at the hall with their turnouts, or placed in their POV if the member would prefer. Most members respond from work or on personal time, and it wouldn't make sense to undress from your civies, and redress before the call. As the jumpsuits only take 10 seconds or so to put on, there is no real delay. I also prefer to use the jumpsuit at night, so I fumble around less when the tones drop.

    But whatever works for you.
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    No disrespect, but you have posted on a subject that has always interested me.
    Uniforms for volunteers.
    I know you get the usual "if we look like a team, we'll play like a team" argument.
    A volunteer in a uniform that he most likely shelled out the money for himself, because if volunteer departments are spending money on uniforms, then that means that there is equipment that isn't getting bought.
    I was a volunteer for 22 years and quite frankly, I always thought the uniform was for the career guys. Because my day job didn't require me to wear a uniform. I wouldn't even buy one for funerals.
    We have T-shirts, polo shirts, jackets and hats with the department logo on them. Wear them for meetings and other department functions.
    But, in my mind; I don't care if you show up for a fire in pajamas, as long as you got your TURNOUT GEAR on.
    But uniforms for volunteers?
    I guess that's something that I have never been open to.
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    Default Almost forgot..

    Oh; and why didn't you post this in the "Volunteer Forum"?
    That would be the one moderated by Heather Caspi, a friend to the IACOJ.
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    I, for the most part, agree with CR. We have Class A uniforms (department purchased) for wearing to funerals and other events that tend to require a uniform. We also have a Class B uniform, which is just jeans and the company t-shirt or sweatshirt.

    We don't care what you are wearing when you come to a call, other than on EMS you can't be wearing shorts or sleeveless shirts, and specifically for the women, no skirts or low cut shirts.

    I don't like the idea of having to change what I am wearing just to go on a call. Everyone knows that the guys and gals wearing turnout gear are firefighters. Even on "shoe calls," everyone knows that if the fire department gets called, whoever is going into the building is with the department.
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    Default Re: Almost forgot..

    Originally posted by ChiefReason
    Oh; and why didn't you post this in the "Volunteer Forum"?
    That would be the one moderated by Heather Caspi, a friend to the IACOJ.
    CR
    Thats why it's in this forum. I wanted to see what the career FireFighters thought.

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    The combo department I work/vollie for does not require a uniform for responding to calls for the volunteers or the paid staff on off-hours. However, if a volunteer is going to ride-out, which basically means you are waiting at the station for a run and just not stopping by for a cup of coffee, or bunking out overnight, you are REQUIRED to be in the department work uniform. This is to create a look of uniformity on the vehicle, not only on calls, but also when the "crew" goes out to eat or handle a public service function. The department provides the (polo) shirts for the vollies, and they provide the dark blue pants and black boots. The uniform is recommended for training nights but not required.

    The all-volunteer department I left in Vermont 3 years ago provided a uniform work shirt and uniform pants that were required for training.

    I personally beleive that it looks very professional, especially if someone comes into the station or a crew takes a truck out of the barn for any type for training or activity visable to the public.
    In our case where we run EMS, it makes for easy identification of fire department personal on the scene.

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    Combo department. Whenever I'm on duty, I have to wear navy BDU pants, black boots, and a department t-shirt while at the station. Whenever we go out on inspections or any planned outtings that we may be sent on, we have to wear our class B duty uniform(complete with badge, rank insignia, and patches).

    Whenever I return after work there's no official dress code, just nothing ridiculous. Cut offs and tank tops are shunned, if not for appearance, than just for safety.

    Now, when our volunteers are paid part time wages to staff the station, they have to wear the same uniforms as the career firefighters do.

    We also have Class A dress uniforms for funerals, memorials, etc.

    Here's another uniform related question:

    When testifying in court, do you wear your full dress uniform or just your regular class-B duty uniform?
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    Thats why it's in this forum. I wanted to see what the career FireFighters thought.
    So; you wanted to know what career guys thought about volunteers wearing uniforms?
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    Way back when I was in college, i ran with the local town squad. Fully volunteer. Each member was given a white button shirt with a small patch from the Squad on it and the squad name on the back. Once you became an EMT you would add that patch to the sleeve. They were short sleeve shirts. When responding to a call, you simply put it on top of whatever shirt you already had on. (We were given coats for cold weather). I asked why we would do this as it's not common in the area I live. Identification was the answer. I then looked at a call near the college and saw a crowd of people and noticed 2 with "uniforms" on. Immediately, I knew who was there to help and who was there to be in the way. At home, I looked at a crowd of people on a call and did not see any "uniforms". It was just a crowd with no idea of who was there to help.

    It's simply for identification.
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    Originally posted by Dave1983
    We are a combo department. We have full paid manning at the stations, but volunteers cane ride if they can find an open seat. In this case, they wear a unifrom shirt and pants. If they respond from home to a scene, its either a department jumpsuit (coveralls) or department T-shirt and pants. Black uniform boots are required at all times.
    That is how it works here, uniform and manning.
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    I am on a volunteer fire dept and believe that we do not need uniforms but i think that if you are going to respond to a medical call you need to atleast look clean. we have guys turn up that have been working on the farm that are dirty and have not shaved. this in my eyes is unacceptable and unprofessional. I wouldnt want someone that looks like a scarecrow treating me
    Last edited by pengman; 05-02-2005 at 02:33 PM.

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    Our combination department issues a red polo shirt to be worn at special functions, fundraisers, etc. As for response, we also issue a pair of coveralls with the dept name and reflective striping to be worn predominantly on EMS calls. Lots of folks leave them in their gear locker, and several wear them in from home. I don't recommend wearing those to fire calls though. They get a little hot under PPE. I'm not sure that the original post was referring to Class A style uniforms. But if your department has enough pride to wear uniforms during response or otherwise, good for you.

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    Another rural, Volle dept. If you respond to an EMS call, you must wear a Dept. issued Tee Shirt, Sweatshirt, or Jacket. It does cut down on the gunfire (we have had folks 'living on the fringe' shoot at us, thinking we were the police. Red Trucks vs. white SUV's? Drugs are wonderful stuff!).

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    Originally posted by ChiefReason
    No disrespect, but you have posted on a subject that has always interested me.
    Uniforms for volunteers.
    I know you get the usual "if we look like a team, we'll play like a team" argument.
    A volunteer in a uniform that he most likely shelled out the money for himself, because if volunteer departments are spending money on uniforms, then that means that there is equipment that isn't getting bought.
    I was a volunteer for 22 years and quite frankly, I always thought the uniform was for the career guys. Because my day job didn't require me to wear a uniform. I wouldn't even buy one for funerals.
    We have T-shirts, polo shirts, jackets and hats with the department logo on them. Wear them for meetings and other department functions.
    But, in my mind; I don't care if you show up for a fire in pajamas, as long as you got your TURNOUT GEAR on.
    But uniforms for volunteers?
    I guess that's something that I have never been open to.
    CR
    Chief, Im sure your aware that one of the bigger problems with volunteers is the perception that they are not "professional", from an operational standpoint of course. I would think "dressing the part" would go along way towards correcting part of this misconception.

    And I understand that your actions are as, if not more important then, how one looks. But John Q may not always see it that way. Even if its something as simple as an agency T-shirt. And its not just uniforms, but hair as well (I know, another topic).

    And sure, you cant see what a FF has on under their PPE, but what about after the call? What about a call that doesnt require structural PPE?

    For what its worth, in my little part of the world, volunteers have always had some sort of uniform. To not have is a new concept for me. In that sense, this is a very interesting topic.
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    We have a uniform that the people working must wear and must also be worn for any event where you are representing the FD (i.e get paid for) for our POC FD........

    Every year we work at the County Fair for standby for Fire/EMS responses on the fairgrounds. This is something that almost every FD in the County does. We always wear our uniform because, technically, we are working, but there are only maybe 1 or 2 other FDs that do it. Everyone else just wears whatever they want to. We are looked at differently by everyone else for it, but it's in a good way......

    Also, for normal run responses, no shorts, open toe shoes/sandals, sleeveless shirts, etc.....
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    Originally posted by pengman
    ...we have guys turn up that have been working on the farm that are dirty and have not shaved. this in my eyes is unacceptable and unprofessional...
    I tend to agree with you and that is why we issue coveralls, but on the other hand; If I need to call the fire dept for a medical emergency, I don't want them stopping to take a shower before they show up.

    And FYI, we keep bottles of waterless cleanser on all apparatus for quick cleanup before or during response.
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