I work for a combination Department and have a question. Members are becoming frustrated with the the fact that we now have multiple versions of the same T-shirt and Polos. In addition there is no consistancy in how the uniform is represented. We can have six members on-shift wearing six different combinations of our uniform. We are a growing department and many of us are concerned about our public image and looking professional. I welcome any comments on Uniforms; What looks more professional, Class A's / Polos / T-shirts or just simply having all members in matching uniforms. This came as a result of one individual ordering new T-shirts and completely changing the style without chencking with the members first. Now we have three different style versions of the same T-shirt.
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05-17-2005, 01:16 PM #1
- Join Date
- Aug 2004
05-17-2005, 02:00 PM #2
I personally feel that the key is a "uniform" appearance (hence the name uniform ). T shirts make you look like you work hard, dress button-ups with patches and badges (over matching pants) make you look very official. I don't like polos, but that's just me.
To fix your problem and put it to bed:
Have the Chief designate one person to be in charge of official department uniforms and clothing. Delegate all responsibility to that person. If that person wants to, they might seek opinions from the members on what they want. If they're really smart they will not do it in an open discussion or meeting (avoid the b****fest), and get opinions one-on-one, privately. Have that person present their recommendations to the Chief (and only the Chief). Unless the Chief has a serious problem with it, proceed to order clothing. Let the older stuff wear out and disappear through attrition.You only have to be stupid once to be dead permanently
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I A C O J
05-29-2005, 07:23 PM #3
- Join Date
- Aug 2002
- Wake Forest, NC USA
This is one of the issues when departments go "non traditional" or dressed down with uniforms.
One of the things that traditional and safety uniform makers do is assure that colors and materials remain constant. You can buy one Flying Cross or Lion Stationwear pants or shirt and buy another two years later - same color, same fabric. NOT SO with t-shirt and polo vendors. You can usually get the same patch or stencil, but the buttons may be a different color, the collar a different shape, or the shirt you want just dropped by the manufacturer because nobody was buying "your" color that year.
Also, while member comfort often drives these choices, think about what you wear from the point of view of the citizens. Do you look like competent professionals, or manual laborers? I've noticed with my crews that when several members wear t-shirts or sweat shirts, and then someone else shows up in a "class B" uniform, the citizens immediately turn to the one in the "more professional" uni to get a solution to the problem at hand.
05-30-2005, 07:25 AM #4
- Join Date
- Jul 2001
- Not the end of the earth but I can see it from here...
On my paid job (Industrial plant emergency services/security) I took the lead a few years ago to redesign our uniform. We had a similar problem, in that there were so many variations on the uniform that an entire 5-person shift could wear 5 different uniforms and all, technically, be correct. We had the "Class A" polyester uniform, the "Class B" cotton or "work" uniform, a Nomex coverall, and a cotton coverall (note that the Nomex was red and the cotton coverall was brown ) What you were allowed to wear depended if it was weekday or weekend, day or night, and what position you were working. T-shirts and polo-style shirts were never allowed.
Our new department head decided this was silly, unprofessional, and also expensive (when I hired on I was issued 4 polyester pants, 4 polyester long-sleeve shirts, 4 polyester short-sleeve shirts, 4 cotton work pants, 4 short-sleeved cotton work pants, 4 long-sleeved cotton work pants, 4 red Nomex coveralls, 1 brown cotton coverall, and two jackets (a windbreaker and a heavy coat). That's,let's see, 8 pants, 16 shirts, 5 coveralls, and two jackets! Talk about confusing!
We decided to go with one uniform....changed from the old "security" brown & tan to a midnight blue "Streetgear" from Blauer. The new uniform is a cotton blend that is much more comfortable and functional than the old polyester (including cargo pockets)
Everyone wears the same uniform, no exceptions (well, one exception....you can also get it as a coverall...but the color, patches, and insignia are the same, so unless you look close, you don't really see a difference right away...it's the same "look").
We did away with the brass and badges...names are embroidered on the shirt, an embroidered patch takes the place of the old gold badge...so it's low maintenance, no pinning your brass on every morning.
We did also design a T-shirt, but it may not be worn as a duty shirt. It may only be worn for training, and also for any dirty or sweaty work...Most of us wear the T-shirt under our uniform shirt, and if we have to get dirty (fighting a fire, servicing fire extinguishers, washing the trucks, racking hose) we are allowed to shuck the uniform shirt and work in T-shirts...but when that job is done the uniform shirt goes back on.
In all circumstances the full uniform is to be worn when dealing with "customers"...the T-shirt is only acceptable when not dealing with people.
Some of the "old" guys grumbled a bit at first, but they soon grew to like the new style.
Also, we made a good choice going with the Blauer Streetgear...That stuff is TOUGH! Holds its color and stands up to a lot of abuse, but still looks good, even after a couple of years. I've bought some of those Army style "fatigue" pants and they fade and wear in a few months...same with the "Dickies" style work pants....but the Blauer uniforms just last and last....You get what you pay for in this case!Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
"I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream — and I hope you don't find this too crazy — is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
— C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"
01-21-2006, 01:49 PM #5
- Join Date
- Nov 2002
- Sulphur, La. USA
There is nothing wrong with any of the uniforms, but there needs to be some kind of uniformity. Everyone needs to sit down and decide which uniform will be worn for what occasion. Which one for special events, training, & on shift. Presentation of the Fire Department goes a long way. What the public sees can help or hurt when it comes time to renew a tax. If the Department looks professional, the community will not mind renewing it. Also if a combination Fire Department looks uniformed then the volunteers feel like they are as much part of the Department as the paid personnel.
01-25-2006, 02:10 PM #6
- Join Date
- Jun 2005
our chief made the new patch and also designed a polo embroidery and said this is it period.t shirts for station wear and runs and polo or class b for public stuff.
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