Some of the most common questions we get asked are if you’re allowed piecing’s, tattoos or beards in the fire service. Tattoos and piercings have become more prominent in this day and age so it’s understandable why it’s asked.
Long beards have always been a no-go as they wouldn’t allow a proper seal when wearing a breathing apparatus set. If you currently have a long beard, you will have to say goodbye and give it the chop.
There was a period of time, up until rather recently, where you could get away with a trimmed moustache or a similar style of beard if it was in the void of the breathing apparatus mask and didn’t interfere with the seal.
This is no longer the case as the companies that manufacture the face masks, such as Drager, state it will void any insurance claims if anything were to happen while a user of the mask has any sort of facial hair.
This means that no beards of any size or shape are allowed.
Piercings are not allowed while on duty. Healthy and safety does not allow it due to the nature of the job role. The main reason is because at very short notice, you may need to enter a burning building and having pieces of metal directly on your skin, will never end well.
Piercings will also interfere with your PPE (personal protective equipment), as it can be quite heavy and needed to be put on quickly, at short notice etc. There’s too much risk you will cause injury to yourself.
Tattoos are an interesting one as they seem to grow in popularity each year, so all sectors are having to consider what’s realistic to allow in the workplace. This one can vary a lot depending on the fire service you’re looking to join so it’s worth checking with them directly for their current policies.
Tattoos are generally allowed as long they aren’t sexist, racist, homophobic or will cause offence. You have to take into consideration that you’re going to be working in a highly respected public role.
People will be looking directly at you in their time of need.