Helping write our Hair Length policies (male)
Hello everyone, I am still a fairly new Firefighter here for my department (1 year and a half so far) and I am writing this for a bit of assistance for those who may or may not have had issues within their department about hair length.
I am an African American male and I keep my hair in braids (not to be confused with dreadlocks) while I am on duty here for my department. It is written in our old policy that cornrows (slang for the braids) are not to be worn within the department if you are hired on but my assistant chief informed me that the old policy is in review and that to not cut my hair until we have officially written a new policy and new hair guidelines. I have been keeping it groomed, trimmed to where my hair does not extend past my shoulders (it is currently sitting at the middle portion of my neck), and well maintained while on duty. It does not hinder my performance on duty tasks nor has it hindered my ability to don and doff my gear in timely fashions. It doesn't extend out of my gear while on fire attack during structure fires, and it has not stopped performance of any sort while on rescue. I have made it all the way through Fire academy and more with this hairstyle, but regardless of not hurting my performance in any way the policy has to be reviewed and they will have to come with a decision of rather or not it is still in comprehensive.
My question to those who may have encountered this and have had their policy's rewritten is what are some good ways of going about the idea of reforming this policy to accommodate this form of hairstyle? Outside of wanting to keep my hair (it's what differentiates me from my other family and friends) I also feel that bringing a different style within the department adds a bit more diversity. I have had no complaints from the public eye, even some compliments of having something different within the department.
If any of you guys have anything that I can bring to the board if asked I would greatly appreciate it as I really would like to have the policy written to accommodate this hairstyle and longer hairstyles (currently in the old policy women cannot wear their hair past their ears).
Once again anything I could possibly bring would be appreciated, thanks in advance.
There should be no difference in the rules for men or women on the length of their hair and what matters is what your worker compensation regulations stipulate. I would say if your hair doesn't interfere with your duties and you can get it inside a balaclava for structure firefighting, that is all that counts.
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