Following are excerpts from fire department policies regulating employee hair length and the wearing of jewelry. They cover a range of options available to fire service employers for dealing with these questions. No such policy should be implemented without considering your own department's specific needs or seeking qualified legal advice.
"Hair shall be neatly groomed and the length or bulk of the hair shall not be excessive or present a ragged, unkempt or extreme appearance. (Men:) Hair may cover one half of the ear but shall not cover the entire ear. (Women:) Hair may not extend beyond the lower part of the shoulder blades.
"Members are discouraged from wearing rings or other jewelry on the fire or training ground. Female members may wear earrings providing they do not extend below the bottom of the ear."
(Women:) "Hair must be clean and neatly arranged. When in uniform, back hair must not fall more than one-quarter inch below the lower edge of the collar. No hair must show under the front brim of fire service headgear. Afro, natural, bouffant, and other similar hair styles are permitted, but... bulk of hair must not exceed two inches. In no case is the bulk of the hair permitted interference with the proper wearing of fire service headgear.
"Only pins, combs or barrettes that are similar in color to the individual's hair color may be worn to meet the requirements of the regulation. Jewelry which extends beyond the ear lobe or... is loose or protrudes and may catch in machinery or equipment may not be worn while on duty."
"It is recognized that traditionally acceptable standards for female hairstyles differ considerably from those of males. Female hairstyles that would normally not conform to the standards outlined in this S.O.P. may be pinned up or secured in order to comply while on duty. In these instances, the hair must be pinned up or secured at all times while on duty, and shall not interfere with the proper wearing of uniform hats or protective equipment, or in any way create a safety hazard."
(Men and women:) "There are many hair styles that are acceptable. So long as the person's hair is kept in a neat, clean manner, the acceptability of the style will be judged by these criteria: Hair styles that preclude the proper wearing (of SCBA) are not permitted... Hair will be worn so that it does not extend below the bottom of the uniform shirt collar while standing in an erect position. Hair may be pinned or worn in a way to keep hair above the bottom of the collar..."
"To facilitate a professional appearance, hair and grooming standards must be followed. These standards have been modified to meet contemporary styles without jeopardizing the safety of firefighters involved in the hazardous activities associated with firefighting.
"When in a normal standing position, the hair can extend to the top of the collar area. Hair will not extend beyond the bottom of the earlobe. Longer hair is acceptable if it is pinned up in a neat manner and does not interfere with the wearing of departmental headgear. No ribbons or ornaments shall be worn in the hair except for neat inconspicuous bobby pins or conservative barrettes which blend with the hair color. Hair... will not exceed two inches in height."
NETWORKING THE WOMEN OF TODAY'S FIREFIGHTING WORLD, AND PROVIDING RESOURCES TO HELP BUILD THE FIRE SERVICE OF THE FUTURE