I have been wanting to be a firefighter since i was 9..... Now that im 18 i still very much want too. I have 2 tattoos. 1. Is a "crown of thorns" arm band around my bicep. ( able to be covered by a tshirt) but i have another one... The word "perseverance" on the underside of my right forearm. Its pretty big but well done. I really want to become a firefighter. Will this affect me from getting a paid position or even being a volunteer?

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It's too bad that something that has been around in various cultures and has become fairly mainstream in our society is still looked at with such negative eyes.

I can understand that people don't exactly want a crew of firefighters coming in to help their grandma with the Mike Tyson tattoo on their faces, and as public servants, we are set to a higher standard and are expected to look professional at all times.

Hopefully, society will get to where they realize having a little ink, especially if it's non offensive or displayed properly, doesn't really matter anymore and the person isn't judged by what they have for tattoos. Remember, don't judge a book by it's cover.

Councilwoman Janice Hahn has sent a letter to Los Angeles Fire Chief Douglas Barry asking him to reconsider the department's ban on visible tattoos.

The policy, enacted May 1, has frustrated some firefighters (like John O'Connor, pictured above) who wonder why they need to cover tattoos while working or sleeping in the fire house. LAFD officials have said their policy is aimed at maintaining a professional appearance both inside and outside the fire station.

But, Hahn sided with the inked-up firefighters.

"I, for one, do not care if a firefighter that is saving lives has visible tattoos. All that matters is that these men and women are trained well and prepared to do their jobs," Hahn wrote. "Requiring all tattoos to be covered at all times, including while firefighters are on their way to and from showers, just seems needless to me. As we enter the summer months, this seems almost cruel."But, Hahn sided with the inked-up firefighters.

A FFN forum post reply by Vic Silverfish on April 17, 2010 shared the below graphic that does a pretty good job describing tattoo locations...

it depends on the department, im on an all volunteer department and that wouldnt be a problem, some it might be though, just put in applications to plases as a volunteer and see how you like it, maybe someone ill hire you as a paid one later, good luck

Its not a matter of taste or political view. It is how the public that your serve looks at you. There are many that are have uneasy feeling when a person with lots of tats. I believe it can cause unhealthy competition and even foster bad feelings in some areas.  Our dept. allows tats but haven't had the problems other departments. have had. As a commissioner, I don't want to handle a complaint from a taxpayer about the preconceived conduct of a firefighter. We are all volunteer and resident-members of the district we serve. We are not perfect people, but a little consideration on our part helps our image.

i am a volunteer fire fighter i have two tattoos a jester on my foot which reps for my mum who has passed on and i have a big one down left hand side of my back it has not stopped me i know of vollys who have tats all down there arms and legs its not bout what ink you have got its about can you do the job or not. apperance helps go clean shaven and dress smart you;ll be fine. good luck and i hope you make it in. i started firefighting when i was 16 and im almost 21 now. its an amazing job and knowing your helping someone is a reward in itself

Hi Brandon,   Happy New Year! Don't fret so much about the tats. Depends on the dept. you are aiming to join. Vollies tend too be more lax, as opposed to paid ones. Just make sure that you read up on the policies regarding body mods, for the prospective dept. you intend to apply for. Now a days, it has been become so much more accepted by society, that I don't really forsee that much of an obstacle for you. Do keep in mind that what is percieved to be the content of the message of the tat, should be, really more of a concern. Is it profanity, or gang related for example. Many candidates are coming from the military, and many do sport tattoos. I for one can tell you that many of us here in NYC, paid and vollie, have 9/11 memorial tats, that we wear proudly. I am a vollie and a supervisor, and I have seven of them. All of them came after 9/11. They were my therapy, after helping out at the pile. In fact, it turned out that my tattoo artist was the first person, I really opened up to; even before my own family or friends. Someone made mention on an earlier post, of skin colored sleeve coverups, which are a alternative as are also cover up creams. Just don't wear or apply these, under you bunker gear, as per chance they are probably flammable. Brandon,I do wish you luck in whatever path you choose. Oh by the way,and this piece of advice goes out to everyone. Before you ever get a tat, think about where you will be in maybe another tens years, and do you think you will be embarassed by them. Yes I do know that every tat tells a story, but think really hard about what I said. Take care!


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