When you are debating on starting a new career as a firefighter, you will likely have a large amount of questions first. If you have long hair or any facial hair in general, you may want to know if you are expected to shave entirely when you become a firefighter. This can be a large concern if you are used to having facial hair. Have you wondered what the rules are regarding shaving for firefighters? We have all the details you need to know to help you start your new career.
Firefighters are generally not required to shave their entire facial hair and hair on their heads. However, each city will have its own specific requirements regarding shaving. For example, Some cities may require that beards and hair on your head not be passed a certain length. Requirements regarding length are put into place to protect firefighters and ensure that their breathing masks can seal properly.
Do Firefighters Have to Shave Their Heads?
In most areas, firefighters are not required to shave their heads. However, many cities may have requirements on how long your hair can be when you work as a firefighter. Since each area can vary, we always recommend reaching out to your particular city to see what they require regarding shaving your head.
The reason why many cities have specific regulations regarding the length of hair is for your own safety as a firefighter. If your hair is beyond a certain length, it can make it difficult for your breathing mask to seal properly. If your breathing mask doesn’t seal properly, a large amount of smoke can get into your mask when you are fighting a fire. You can imagine how dangerous this can be to your own health and safety.
Even though many areas do have requirements on how long your hair can be, most cities do not require your hair to be extremely short. In many areas, your hair can be a few inches long. If your hair is long enough to fit in a ponytail, there is a significant chance it may be too long for many areas and you will be required to rim it.
With the heat and heavy suits, you are required to wear as a firefighter, long hair can become uncomfortable as well. With your breathing mask and headwear, it can become tight. Long hair can increase the heat in the tight space. In many situations, you will prefer having shorter hair as a firefighter not only for your safety but for your comfort as well.
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Can Firefighters Have Mustaches?
Similar to the requirement for the length of hair, many cities will vary on their regulations on mustaches and other facial hair. The rules regarding facial hair can vary largely depending on the area that you plan on working as a firefighter. Some areas do require firefighters to shave and not have any facial hair. However, many areas do allow some facial hair.
The reason that some areas do not allow long facial hair is similar to the rules regarding the length of hair. If your beard is too long, your breathing mask will not be able to seal properly. This is due to a tight limited space available in the mask.
For the areas that don’t allow any facial hair, the rule is set in place to prevent any possible issues that may arise with the breathing mask. These areas would rather be safe than sorry and not allow any facial hair that could prevent the mask from working properly.
However, the few areas that have completely banned facial area have been facing a large amount of backlash. Many firefighters have stopped working for these cities and have moved to cities that have lighter regulations on facial hair. The firefighters who have stood against the rule of no facial hair have stated that it prevents them from being able to fully express themselves. Others have stated that they sport facial hair for religious reasons and they refuse to shave all of their facial hair.
If you have facial hair and you want to become a firefighter, we recommend not letting the possible regulation regarding facial hair stop you from pursuing your new career. Most areas do allow their firefighters to sport some facial hair and only have a rule regarding the length of the hair. If the specific city that you live in doesn’t allow facial hair, there is a high chance there is a city near you that does allow some facial hair.
Other Qualifications to be a Firefighter
Other than the length of the hair on your head or facial hair, there are other regulations and qualifications you must meet to become a firefighter. The basic qualifications include being at least 18 years old and obtaining a minimum of a high school diploma or GED.
To be a firefighter, you also have to be in great physical shape. This is required because your body will be put to the test when you are a firefighter. To help you keep up and be able to have the energy needed, your physical endurance is important. When you start the interviewing process to become a firefighter, you will have to take a variety of both physical activity tests and medical tests as well. It is important to ensure you are healthy enough to meet the job responsibilities of a firefighter.
Another important part of qualifying to become a firefighter is having a clean record. During the process of becoming a firefighter, your potential department will run a background check to see what your criminal record looks like. Any significant charges or a criminal record may prevent you from qualifying as a firefighter. Some cities will even run your credit check and will look at your credit score when determining your eligibility.
Along with your physical and medical tests, most cities also do a psychological evaluation. This isn’t a test that you can prepare for or study before the actual test takes place. This particular test is provided to ensure that you are mentally stable enough to do the work as a firefighter. This career field can be very demanding both emotionally and physically. Being a firefighter comes with a high-stress level while you are on the job.
As a firefighter, it is also essential for you to be flexible. When you start a career as a firefighter, you will be required to work a large range of different shifts. At times, you will also be required to be on call and available when you are needed. Working as a firefighter is a large commitment that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Once you have passed all of the mandatory tests and exams, you will also be required to attend a Fire Academy before you can officially start as a firefighter in many areas. You also want to keep in mind that the specific tests and qualifications to be a firefighter may also depend on your area. Each city can largely vary on their specific requirements.
Do firefighters make a decent salary?
Firefighters do make a decent and competitive salary in most areas. The specific salary that you will receive as a firefighter will largely depend on what area you live in. However, the average salary for firefighters starts around $45,000 per year.
You also want to keep in mind that as you obtain more experience in your career, your salary will also increase. If you have a higher level of education, your starting salary as a firefighter can also be higher as well. With more education, you will also qualify for more advanced positions too.
What benefits come along with working as a firefighter?
There are a large amount of benefits that come along with being a firefighter. One of the biggest benefits is incredible health and dental insurance with outstanding coverage. Firefighters also enjoy competitive salaries and often receive discounts on things like disability insurance, credit union memberships, etc.
Another important benefit to mention is how rewarding being a firefighter is. When you begin your career as a firefighter, you have the privilege of knowing that you are saving lives every day you work, and you are significantly making a positive impact on your community.
What type of hours do you have to work as a firefighter?
The type of hours that you work as a firefighter can largely vary depending on the area that you work, and the hours needed by your department. However, when you are debating on becoming a firefighter, you do want to keep in mind that the shifts can be long and demanding.
In many areas, firefighters typically work 24-hour shifts on and then take 48 hours off. Other areas may have their firefighters work in 10 or 12-hour shifts. Shifts at fire departments also take place 24 hours every day, including weekends and holidays. Since firefighters are needed every day, fire departments never take a day off.
To learn how to best prepare and study for your firefighter exam click here.
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Please note: This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult a legal expert to address your specific needs.
Hi! I’m Shawn Chun and I’m so grateful that you’re here.
Civil servants are some of the hardest working, most generous people I know. I have been passionate about all types of civil service career paths for years now and enjoy sharing everything I continue to learn about them.
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