what is everybodies departments rules about shaving and packing up. im just curious cause our department doesnt really have a rule or sop regarding this, but i have heard of it being a rule in other dep. that you have to be clean shaven or you cant pack up.

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TJ? has it really been proven? Is it documented anywhere? All I'm saying is afford us the opportunity to take a test. Once again, opinions should be based on facts and not perceptions. Do you have any Muslims working at your FD? If so, just ask them how they feel about the issue.
Thanks you and well put that's what I'm getting at.
I understand your view and perhaps I presented my point wrong. If it comes down to a proven safety violation, than by all means you are exactly right. But, we have to be tested for that to be proven. If a Sikh man could wear his turban under his nomex hood and helmet with no hair or skin exposed and without compromising response times, than by all means he should be allowed to be FF. And I understand how it is hard for a person who does not place alot of importance on religion to relate to those of us whose religion is of utmost importance. So, I am not offended by your statement. It was well put and please forgive me if I offended you in any way at all.
I'm not discriminating here, I'm just stating what the rule is for facial hair and how I feel about it, I'm far from a racist and no I dont have any Muslims on my fire department. But I can gaurantee that if there was they would not be aloud to have a beard.
I have a question. How many of you have the equipment to provide the NFPA fit test with your manufacturer's different size masks and how many perform this fit test annually to all members of your department?

We own the bio-systems machine, we flow test all of our masks/regulators annually, we also fit test all members faces annually using the manufacturer's test masks hooked to a computer and have the computer software for MSA MMR 4500 fit testing. I can honestly say that my mask size has changed over the years due to the results from performing the fit test and that dumb rainbow passage reading. The test makes you perform a few different tasks like side to side head movement, chin up and down, grimace, normal and deep respirations, etc. My own facial shape changed with weight loss over my career and the test identified a slightly poor seal within the results. With that said, I have not even mentioned facial hair yet.

Now, we have a policy that says clean shaven nothing more than a mustache, it can't extend beyond the bottom lip. No beards or goatees, etc. Do I agree with it? Not necessarily, but it is the Chief's policy I must uphold. The bottom line is the only way you can tell if you are getting a proper seal is if you perform the test annually. Our Chief feels that day to day your beard or goatee changes in size and length, which is true. How can he be assured that your mask will fit next month if you decide to not keep the goatee trimmed down to pass the test? Answer... he can't. So beards and goatee's are OUT.

Sharef, as far as holding your hat on the positive pressure features of the SCBA, yes this may prevent you from exposure but with a poor seal comes the drastic reduction of working or breathing time if the seal is leaking due to facial hair. I for one hated feeling air constantly wisping by my ear before the test identified that I should change to the next size smaller SCBA mask.

I agree and understand about tradition, it is a matter of how much liability is the person in charge willing to take on to uphold traditions or religious beliefs.

Best of luck...
It is more than a Dept. rule it is a standard now if you are not clean shaven and suffer any form of breathing injury your claim will be denied as a failure to properly wear your breathing equipment as far depts. it comes down to how well they enforce it ...with us your first time is a verbal warning and no pack second offense 30 days suspension 3rd you can have 90days to full dismissal, and the dept. does have the right as well as the town to enforce this since they pay your insurance coverage as an "employee" includes vollies
OH WOW!!! This could definitly be a HOT subject in many different departmants I can see. Our department does not allow beards iether. But that is for anyone that would like to be on a hose team. There are more then just hose jobs (excuse the pundit). To play the "D" advocate, yes because of PP the risk is greatly reduced. But so is time and that effects the ability of those on your team. If you can only make a tank last 12 mins. because of leakinig and everyone else can go 20-25mins then you are effecting the integrity of the crew and their ability to do the job. I truely do hope that some resolution can come to this situation. Religion is the underlying issue but it isn't the real issue. It is crew safety and integrity that is the issue. I hope that your department(s) can come up with some sort of agreement and understanding. There are to few people that want, and can, do this job with great pride, I would hop that an issue has little as this would not get in the way. There are many tasks involved in this service. Not everyone is a hose humper, we need engineers, EMS, and other jobs that have very little if no need for an SCBA. Keep up the good work everyone and please let us do our best to remove religion obstacles from us continuing to be the best service job in the USA!! Be safe and learn something new today.
Yes our county has the machine and we test out every year with it.

Another question is how'd you make it through fire class with a beard? I know in Michigan you'd be kicked out of class if you refused to shave your beard and that no questions asked. I've been an instructor and seen them do it before.
wow. i really wasnt trying to start a religion debate. im sorry if anybody has gotten offended about the different religions and peoples different opinions. i apologize for any body taking offense to anything said.
i just figured i should apologize if anybody did get offended by anything said since i was the one that started the discussion.
I would have to say it ends at "where does it effect your performance to do the job" not at "I dont like it so conform to my thinking or get out" without so much as even a test to see if its a problem. If Shareef has a beard for religous reasons or if a Hindu woman wants to wear her nose piercings and they can pass the fit test then whats the problem. From what I read of his post the person running the test refuses to test Shareef until he shaves. I would have to say test him if he fails the fit test then "HE" would have to make the choice of shaving or not, don't make that choice for him before a test is even given. If he fails the test and still will not shave for religious reasons then he can still be on the department just not an interior firefighter. There are plenty of places a body is needed like in the seat of a tanker, at the pump pannel, at the water point, filling air bottles, none of which requires you to be clean shaven.
Hey TJ where the heck did you get anything he said to mean he is against any religion...Hey man...read what he wrote....I agree with him....the Standards ARE WRITTEN...its simple...follow the rules or find another line of work period....there are a ton of people looking to fill your boots so to speak...its common safety practice....if you cannot get a seal on your mask you cannot wear a pack....And I don't give a rats butt if you are Catholic,Jewish, Muslim, Protestant or a Cocker Spaniel.....Paul

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