Just to bring you all up to speed. I wanted to put nicknames or last names on the back of our helmets. I went around and asked each member of what they would like it to say. Some wanted nicknames ( which were all clean) and some wanted thier last name. I ordered and purchased these with money from my own pocket. I am the 2nd assistant chief and training officer for our department. I thought by having these names on our helmets it will help associate a name to the person wearing the gear. So no longer will there be a problem on mutual aid calls or tri county trainings. There will be no more "hey you" on the scene but instead they will be able to say a name, be it a nick name or your formal name. So, I purchased them and put them all on. 27 of them. Now, 2 months later it was brought up at a meeting to discuss these stickers. After the discussion, it was decided to remove the stickers with the nicknames and put the last names on. I am proud of my nickname, it has been with me for a very long time. Do others have nicknames on thier helmets? If so what does your department think about it. It was discussed that if an incident were to happen, and behold, the press snapped a photo of the back of some firefighters, that the nicknames would make our department not look professional. We are a volunteer department of 27 members. We serve a town of 1300 and a rural area of about 200 square miles. Having a nickname that is clean, I believe has no harm to the respresentation of the department. We all have them. I am wrong about this? jsut seeing what you all think or what your department does as far as name association goes.

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Right or wrong it should simply come down to who's helmet is it. If it is PPE owned by the dept. then your chief was probably being very democratic by allowing the membership to decide on what was and what was not allowed on the helmets and not simply deciding that they will not be allowed. While I do not personally have a problem with nicknames on helmets, if they are PC, the Asst. Chief helmet that was issued to me when I was given the position does not have mine on it. The thing to think about is that we do serve the public and no matter how good of a move we make on the structure or how quickly we extricate at an MVA, first impressions do say a lot. Imagine what the homeowners are thinking when they see that Bubba and Big Dawg are making initial entry into their home.
I don't think anyone whose ever been rescued by, or had a loved one saved by, "The Fire Department" cares what it says on your helmet, they are just thankful to be alive and to have their loves alive.

The ones you need to worry about are the Monday Morning Quarterbacks who see the photos in the paper or online, and the lawyers. Then there's the ones who are very grateful to be alive when you pull them form their wrecked car, but want to sue you, your department, the city/county/whatever who owns your department, et al because you (fill in the blank with a verb) while you were extricating her and the ambulance chaser convinced her it wasn't professional of us to do that. People have a funny way of showing their gratitude, why give the damn lawyers a place to begin by putting "Big Dawg" or "Bubba" on your helmet?

We live in a litigous society, and what used to be alright is now a potential lawsuit. Sad but true.

Greenman (not appropriate for helmets in all fire departments)
i dont see the big deal most of the people u normaly will work with will know you by your nickname anyways n other people will b asking who is that when u put your real name on there cuz thats how they know you in the first place its not goin to make your dept. look stupid as long as its a clean name mine is mad dog n im proud of it ive gone by that since grade school so as long as you are doin your jobs the best you can you will not look dumb
I would have guessed "Woody" was your nickname.
Most of us have nicknames on my dept, but they stay at the firehouse. Out on scene, professionalism is a high standard. Even though all of the "nicknames" that were on your helmets were clean, I feel just the last name of your ff's look better.

Every dept. is different on what they allow or do not allow on helmets, gear, etc. Were allowed to have decals that relate to the fireservice(maltese, 9/11 memorial, american flag's, etc...) but thats about it. As far as names, they are on the bottom of our leather shields. They are also on the tails of our coats. Only last names are allowed, no nicknames.

I've seen a dept. that allowed just about anything on their ff's helmets which was beyond unprofessional. While attending one of this dept's functions, I saw two helmets that I still remember. One had a decal of tinkerbell (this was a guys' helmet, mind you) and under tinkerbell were the words "princess bitch". One of their captains had a decal on his helmet that said "rehab is for pussies." Can you imagine if the press got a pix of one of those helmets out on scene? Or if the 90 year old women whos home is burning down sees it?
I do not see the harm in the nicknames since most gear these days have the last name on the back of the jackets. I have my dept pin number on the back of my helmet, due to my name being some what long it would have taken up to much room to place on the back of my helmet. There really should be something on there though. Not only just to know who the person is but it gives off more reflection on the helmet.
No it was not the whole meeting just a bullet point on the agenda. I was one of the ones that voted to use the last names. When I initially bought the stickers it did not matter what it said either nickname or last name. I was told to run with it. Now it seems to be an unforseen issue. I am not going to drag this thru the mud with the department just curious to what other out here do or have done in this situation. I too am very professional. I agree that last names look better if something has to be on them.
In My Company not used Back Helmet (Captain say not) but inside yes hehehehe!!! Im "WAMPA" sorry my inglish is very poor. :P
If it's personal gear I am not so worried about what they put on it. If they bought it, it's their's to do as they please. All I ask is they don't get vulgar or too extreme with it.
This is where I stand on the subject at the personal level.

I think Volunteer departments do need to recognize that that there is a difference between a paid fire department and a volunteer dire department. Namely that Volunteers DO NOT GET PAID, and many Vols buy a lot of their own equipment.

There is also a different expectation on the part of the public between a Volunteer Fire Department and a paid Fire Department. When it's your neighbor (who works at the ACE Hardware, or who mowed your lawn when he 12 for a five dollars, or she babysat your kids while she was in high school) it's a lot different to see a nickname on their bunker gear then it is when you're dealing with a stranger who works for the city or the county.

different expectation on the part of the public

Sorry, but we are going to have to disagree on this one. Why would the public not expect the same professional attitude regardless of whether they work at ACE, Quickie Mart, or as a domestic engineer.

This is how we perpetuate the cycle of "us vs them" (c vs v). Many citizens in my district are shocked when they find out we don't get paid, and compliment us on our professionalism. If you look, train and act professional, nobody knows but us.
So volunteers are your neighbors and paid firefighters are strangers (did I just hear a stranger danger alert?) So it's alright for paid (stranger) firefighters to look professional but it's not necessary for the hometown volunteers?

Even if I had grown up with my doctor, I would still expect him to be neatly dressed, washed and groomed and acting like the professional he is, even to point of him wearing a white coat with a stethoscope around his neck. Why? Because it tells me that he takes his job seriously and if he didn't, why would I be going to him?

The same hold trues with volunteers. If you don't take your job seriously, why should anyone else. After the fire's burned out and the cellar has been saved, people just nod their head and say that you did the best you could, for being volunteers.

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