In most fire stations, firefighters can have long hair as long as they groom it so that it doesn’t come in their way of duty. There is no standard hair grooming regulation in place that states that firefighters cannot keep their hair long.
Hair policies depend entirely on the departmental protocol and hence it varies from place to place.
Even though many fire stations don’t have an issue with long hair, there are a few fire departments that have strict hair policies in place, so occasionally you may come across situations where it is mandatory to trim the hair short.
Entering a life full of committed service is not easy and comes with its serious share of challenges. So in this post, we explore some of the burning questions you can have on working as a firefighter with long hair.
Let’s dive right in…
Is it Mandatory to Cut Hair to be a Firefighter?
It is not mandatory to cut your hair short to be a firefighter. But it is mandatory that you groom your hair in a way so that it doesn’t affect you in any way on your firefighting duty.
Most of the fire departments these days let their firefighters have long hair as long as they tie it up properly and maintain a tidy look. However most fire stations have standard guidelines in place as per which you will always need to keep your sideburns short.
So why do some fire stations have strict hair policies in the first place?
Let’s take a closer look at some of the prominent reasons behind that.
3 Reasons why some Fire Departments have Policies against Long Hair
1. For Proper Equipment & Gear Fitting
Firefighters have to wear a lot of equipment, to make sure they are protected in the first place. So every time you wear your gear you have to consciously make sure that your hair won’t provide you with any kind of discomfort and won’t get in your way of duty.
That’s a hefty thing to do because as a firefighter you will need to wear your gear many times a day and at times need to have the gear on for a long time.
Think about it, the last thing you wanna worry about while being in a risky situation is your hair.
So it should by no means become a cause for even a slight moment of discomfort.
2. Getting Rid of any Chances of Distraction
Firefighters are directly involved in saving the day. It’s a job that demands high respect because it is a high-risk job and it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.
They are called upon in emergencies where a split second of distraction or delay in decision-making is a matter of life and death. So when you are on a duty, you should have nothing to worry about except for the job on hand.
If you keep having issues with your mask or helmet or hoody placement cause of the long hair it will distract you and can create some serious issues down the line.
3. Tidy Impression Matters
Firefighters are involved in the public service and hence tidy first impressions matters a lot. Also, fire-resistant firefighters have to wear fire-resistant hoods and helmets for a long time while being on duty.
So if you are not careful with your hair you run the risk of roaming around with morning hair. Longer hair is numerous times harder to maintain than shorter hair.
It is a proven fact that people will judge you based on your looks long before they interact with you.
So to make that good impression you have lesser than a second. Hence dressing and grooming is important particularly in these kinds of professions associated with public dealing.
- This is because you are not only representing yourself, you are acting as the face of your department as a whole.
- So it’s a must that you need to be professional about your looks.
What if You Already Know How to Handle your Long Hair?
Well, the thing is being a firefighter is not easy.
It’s a selfless job that will make you do hard stuff you have never done before, face situations you have never faced before and take swift decisions which you probably haven’t taken before.
- The whole reason fire departments have these policies in the first place is to make the job as seamless as possible.
- Almost all the prominent policies they have in place are either related to safety concerns or with the maintenance of a professional outlook.
If the department doesn’t have any strict policies in place on the hair length, then you can keep the long hairstyle while making sure that it doesn’t affect you in any way while being on duty.
What to do in case your Fire Station has Policies against Long Hairs?
If the fire department has strict policies against long hair then unfortunately you can do nothing about it. In the end, it all comes down to how badly you wanna become a firefighter.
There are plenty of professions out there where you can work just fine with your long hair.
So ask yourself do you wanna keep doing whatever you are doing currently or you wanna make a difference in society, saving people’s lives?
If you wanna do the latter then cutting off your beloved hair may be a small price to pay. Being a firefighter calls for many sacrifices and your long hair will be a small part of that.
Department policies vary a lot from place to place. If possible you can try to apply to other fire departments that don’t have such policies in place.
So Should You Grow Your Hair Long as an Aspirant Firefighter?
The majority of the fire stations these days don’t have issues with long hair as long as you maintain a tidy look and keep it groomed in form of a braid, ponytail or bun while being on duty. Hence if you want, you can keep it growing for now.
Hair policy is department-dependent. If you apply to be a firefighter in the future you should try to know about the departmental hair policy beforehand and act as per need.
If you don’t wanna cut your hair, you can take a chance.
Just to make sure that the long hair doesn’t become a factor in your hiring, during the interview process, you can let the authorities know that if needed you can trim your hair short and it won’t be an issue.
Can Having Long Hair Disqualify You from being a Firefighter?
Even though hair length is not a strong factor in deciding whether you are a good firefighter candidate or not, it does play an important role in the first impression. This becomes more important if you are preparing for an interview process.
- The interviewers receive loads of applicants for a limited number of openings and hence they need to narrow down their list as much as possible.
So for most interview processes in the fire department, you should trim your hair short, even while applying in stations having “not so strict” policies on long hair.
Well, it is regarded as a professional thing to do and gives you a tidy look which is important in creating a proper first impression especially in this line of work.
So to be safe it’s logical to trim your hair as short as possible at least in the starting phase of your firefighting journey. After hiring, if your department doesn’t have any strong hair policies in place you can always experiment by growing your hair long.
Can Firefighters have Dreadlocks?
Fire stations don’t have any problem with deadlocks as long as you keep them tidy and well-groomed. You need to make sure it doesn’t provide you with discomfort while wearing the protective firefighter kit.
However certain fire stations can have strict hair policies which won’t allow deadlocks. Again it’s something which totally depends on the fire department itself.
Can female firefighters have long hair?
Very few fire stations have policies related to hair length in the first place. Even then, it is seen that these guidelines are mainly dedicated to male firefighters.
Female firefighters usually do not have any restrictions on their hair length. As a female firefighter as long as you keep it neatly tied and wear the protective headgear properly, it won’t likely be an issue.
However, you may need to follow some basic guidelines like:
- Having shorter bangs( so that it doesn’t cross the eyebrows)
- Keep it above the shoulder height and completely off your uniform collars
Can Firefighters Dye their Hair?
Most fire departments do not allow their firefighters to have “unnatural looking” hair colors including pink, purple, green, etc. as it’s extremely unprofessional.
Whether you can keep your hair long while working as a firefighter depends entirely on your fire department policy. Almost all the fire stations have strict policies against beard but very few of them have strict hair policies in place.
So if you are an aspirant firefighter, for the time being, you can keep it long. While applying or appearing for an interview you need to look up the hair policy of that fire department and act accordingly.
Most fire stations won’t have any issues if you groom and tie up your hair properly, and maintain a professional look. The main thing is to not let the hair length affect you in any way while being on duty.