View Full Version : Firefighter fecal hair /Whats your policy?
Looks like we are about to have a little peeing contest at my department. Our policy literally states "No facial hair that interferes with mask seal." That has always been interpreted as "No Facial hair except a short mustache." Well wouldn't you know someone is finely testing it. He has a short goat tee (sp). Normally I would have said he doesn't have a chance of keeping it BUT. I'll give him a little credit in his timing. We had fit testing yesterday. He passed with his hair!
I worked OT on that shift this AM. Didn't feel I could tell him to shave it off under those circumstances. Looks like a job for the chief to decide.
Anyway, I was just wondering....Anyone have any good info on this. (Google didn't give me much)
Heck too tell you the truth I'll probably have me facial hair next week if he pulls this one off.
Originally posted by mfackler
Re: Firefighter fecal hair /Whats your policy?....Looks like we are about to have a little peeing contest at my department.
Well, with "fecal" hair it looks more like a crapping contest than a peeing contest. - Lee
Oops never mind. A little more searching and I found what I was looking for. here (http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=12716)
Thanks of pointing that out Lee. Zoomed right past spell checker.
fecal hair...it just burns my ass:steamed:
Should be more careful what you eat.
Can someone please delete this thread.? I didn't mean any offensive language and the post has produced no useful info.
Sorry for any inconveniences
Getting back to legitimate responses (although the title is rather interesting...);
or that interferes with valve function; or
Any condition that interferes with the face-to-facepiece seal or valve function.
"Facial hair that comes between the sealing surface of the facepiece and the face"
To me, this says NO facial hair except for trimmed mustache. It seems that a goatee would interfere with the seal. Just because it happened to work at one fit test, possibly right after the goatee was carefully trimmed, what about in two days? The mask may not work. This is something officers have to crack down on right away, and not let anyone slide by. Hell, let the small goatee go, and what if the next guy shows up with a beard? Even over a small carefully trimmed beard, I bet you could pass a fit if you really tighten the straps. This doesn't mean it should be allowed.
I am not one big on lots of regulations and SOPs, but when they exist, they should be ENFORCED! Equally among people. Otherwise, change or get rid of them. We have a new guy, less than a year in, who is starting to grow a scruff on the end of his chin. He is a great guy, everyone likes him, but when I got in I was told nothing except for a small mustache.
One more thing to annoy me! lol
When I joined up in 1981 Washington state had just implemented a law banning facial hair based on interfering with the mask seal. A number of the, then (at least to me), old-timers swore that they never smelled smoke with a mask on until after they shaved off their beards. This was back before fit testing and it was one size fits all, even if it didn't.
Your first post stated the policy as "No facial hair that interfered with the mask seal".
When referencing 1910, we have to remember that the sealing surface actually varies on different types of masks. The posibility of interference with other parts also depends on the type of SCBA used.
So - I'd have to say you must PROVE his goatee is an obstruction. Personal preferences and "we always thought it meant" don't count if he decides to contest the decision.
That said, I'd rather side on caution but we don't always have a choice. Careful wording in policies is very important. So - can you get the policy changed...
Sounds like your guy is within policy. So leave him alone about it or change the policy if you want to eliminate facial hair.
I went interior a few weeks ago, stuble over my face, and full goatie, never had a problem getting a seal in MSA SCBA kinda surprised me
As long as it seals, its fine. I have Mutton Chops Circa 1975, never had any problems.
We have SCOTT packs where I work.
When I did my fit testing a few months ago I had about a days worth of growth on my face and I failed my fit test. I did the test about ten times with diffrent size masks, and even having the tester yanking on the starps. I had to go to the store and buy a new razor/shaving cream and shave.
I have done training with several days growth before and never had a problem.
I shaved my goatee when I got into the fire service.
Fecal hair is the only thing not regulated by my department...YET. They regulate what I wear in the bunkroom, how I conduct myself in the bathroom, what terminology I use in reference to other firefighters and supervisors...OOPS! They're not firefighters or supervisors, but CO-WORKERS.
So, logically speaking, fecal and groinal hair grooming requirements are probably just a hair away from the policy manual.
"Butt" seriously, I was recently told that NC OSHA standards now require no facial hair whatsoever. Haven't been able to verify.
Our policy states the following:
-Only facial hair allowed will be sideburns no more than 1/4 inch from earlobe.
-Mustache hair will be no longer than 1/4 inch below the corner of upper and lower lips.
Vollies now have their own little fun and games with this,some Depts. are very progressive and in line with our policies and some arent.
I know of one Volunteer Fire Dept. "Ball Ground F.D. in Ga."
The Chief and Assistant Chief "Position by popular vote each year" both have full beards and mustaches.
I as well as many others feel this to be a slap in the face of traditional grooming standards for Suppression personnel not to mention the safety and lead by example discrepencies!
Real Firemen don't have beards anyway!
Fecal hair just gets in the way, really.
Fecal hair = Klingons.
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