01-09-2007, 02:35 AM #1
What has everybody ran into as far as the policy on tattoos? Non at all? Keep'em Hid? Above the sleeve? Was that a big factor in the hiring procces? Just a lil' curious about getting my tattoo's done.
01-09-2007, 09:31 AM #2
01-09-2007, 10:11 AM #3
- Join Date
- Mar 2006
Olie is right. Every dept. is different, so wait until you're on the floor and then ask them.
01-09-2007, 12:33 PM #4
Our combination department doesn't have issues with tattoos. A lot of our folks (including me) have them. One of our guys is an artist and has a lot of ink on him, some visible in shorts and t-shirts. It's not a safety issue, and he handles himself professionally on duty.Glenn Rainey
Colington Fire Department
Dare County, North Carolina
The Outer Banks
01-09-2007, 02:16 PM #5
- Join Date
- Mar 2004
- Memphis Tn,USA-now
This has been discussed elsewhere but since you asked:ask your officer.If he doesn't know,go higher in the chain of command.
My old department didn't have a problem with tats.If they were of the nekkid lady dancer on Uncle Bob's biceps,they wanted them covered up,especially if we were on a school visit.
My personal policy on tattoos is that they can't be anywhere that can't normally be placed on public display,they have to mean the same thing that they did that night in Naples Italy back in 85,and they can't be anything that I cannot show Mom.
Other than that,the only problem I have with tattoos is all these young lovlies getting tattoos not realizing that someday,Grandma's bunny rabbit is gonna be a kangaroo.Picture that when you go to bed tonight.
01-11-2007, 06:27 AM #635monroeffemtFirehouse.com Guest
If you haven't gotten any yet I would highly suggest getting inked in an area that is easily covered. You might be the best firefighter/emt in the world and your whole dept knows it, but people are too judgmental and it would only take one patient or even just somebody passing the station to complain and you might find things a little problematic. Some depts having sops regarding tattoos or piercings. I have five tattoos and tried my best to hide them when I first got on my dept, didn't work when I was hospitalized and the chief came and visited me. Oh well they aren't going away and he was cool about it anyway.
01-11-2007, 10:50 PM #7
I would get them so that they can be hidden.
01-12-2007, 06:36 AM #8
- Join Date
- Nov 1999
Last edited by KenNFD1219; 01-12-2007 at 07:10 AM.-------------------
"The most mediocre man or woman can suddenly seem dynamic, forceful, and decisive if he or she is mean enough." from "Crazy Bosses"
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01-12-2007, 01:27 PM #9
- Join Date
- Mar 2004
- Memphis Tn,USA-now
02-18-2007, 11:55 PM #10
- Join Date
- Nov 2005
Tattoos have been around for hundreds of years and will be around for hundreds more. In today’s society, tattoos are becoming more prevalent, and in some segments of our culture, more accepted.
The fire department is a paramilitary organization. There are standards for dress code and for conduct both on and off duty. As a general rule, firefighters are a pretty conservative group, especially the older firefighters.
A candidate should understand that having a tattoo may affect his or her chances of getting hired. If the artwork is small and tasteful, and not offensive to any racial group or society as a whole, it probably will not have any effect.
The more visible the tattoo, the greater the risk of affecting a person’s chances of getting hired. The mindset of the fire chief will also affect the individual’s chances. The more conservative the upper management, the less likely the department will hire a candidate with a tattoo. A department cannot legally disqualify a candidate for a tattoo, but it could certainly affect a candidate’s chances
I recently spoke with a candidate whose left arm was sleeved with artwork from the top of his shoulder to 4 inches past his elbow. He understood that a firefighter’s job is to serve the citizens of the community in a professional manner. He was worried about how he would be perceived in the community.
He believed that his artwork was not inappropriate or lewd. He was not ashamed of it, and planned to get more in the future. He was confident that the department would never find out about his tattoo until his first day on the job. He reasoned that they wouldn’t see his tattoo during the physical agility test if he wore a long-sleeved shirt. “What do you think the department’s reaction will be when they see my tattoo for the first time? Will they find some reason to fire me? If so, wouldn’t that be some sort of discrimination?”
There is an underlying belief that a department will not see a tattoo before a candidate is hired; by then it is too late to terminate his or her employment. The rationale may be that during every contact with the department (interview, background investigation, polygraph and psychological exam), he or she will wear a suit or a long-sleeved shirt.
In reality, there is no “hiding” a tattoo. In addition to the physical agility exam, the department will conduct a thorough medical examination. It is increasingly common to see departments require entry-level candidates to show up for their oral interview in a short sleeve shirt.
Many departments require that candidates declare every tattoo, visible or not, to the background investigator. Together with the psychologist they will determine if the tattoo is appropriate for a firefighter to possess.
If a department decided to terminate a candidate, it would be very unlikely to be due to a tattoo. Hiring decisions are not made at the fire station level, and the firefighters in the station do not know what is revealed or hidden during the testing process. If the department believed that a candidate were less than truthful, the department could make life difficult for him or her.
Several fire departments have implemented tattoo policies. Simply stated, if a member has a visible tattoo in place before a specified date he or she is required to keep it covered during while on duty. A suitable cover, in most cases consists of a long sleeve uniform shirt. Flesh covered ace bandages or band aids are also approved coverings. Any member who does not have a visible tattoo BEFORE the specified date is prohibited to get one. No new employees will be hired with visible tattoos.
Having a tattoo will by no means prevent you from becoming a firefighter. Candidates see respected firefighters with large tattoos and believe they are acceptable. It is important to note that these firefighters probably got their large tattoos AFTER being hired. In other words, there is nothing the department can do about them.
If you are considering getting a tattoo, here is a barometer to use when contemplating your decision. Picture yourself reaching out to take my 67-year old mother’s blood pressure. How is she going to feel when she sees your tattoos? Is she going to feel uncomfortable with you? If the answer is yes, your tattoo could affect your chances of getting hired.
Why is this important? It is the people in our community who encourage our city representatives to vote on a strong pay and benefit package for the firefighters. We spend a considerable amount of energy and effort to maintain a positive image in the community.
The intent of this article is not to pass judgment of people with tattoos, rather to educate candidates who are contemplating getting one.
Some of our most competent and dedicated firefighters have ink on their bodies. It is even more popular since 9/11. I would trust my life to them. The key difference is that they already have a badge. If you are considering getting a tattoo and are wondering if it will affect you, the answer is a definite maybe. A wise candidate would postpone getting one in favor of waiting until he or she has completed probation. It is a risk versus benefit scenario. Why take a chance on affecting your future? If you still feel strongly about getting one, just be aware of the potential consequences of your decision.
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