The Atascadero Fire and Emergency Services will temporarily modify its tattoo policy, allowing firefighter personnel to leave their tattoos uncovered with some limitations.
The temporary modification will be implemented on a trial basis, taking effect July 8 through Sept. 9.
"It is common for the newer generation coming into the workforce to have tattoos that show," he said. "We would like to still be able to hire these employees with tattoos, but also have updated guidelines to restrict the offensive ones as well as those that are located on the head or neck."
Fire Chief Casey Bryson told New Times the department has hired both seasonal and full-time employees over the last several years with tattoos on legs, upper, and lower arms.
The department is reflective of the community Bryson said, and tattoos are much more common than they were several years ago.
Current department policy states that all existing tattoos for current employees shall be covered while the employee is in uniform and that appropriate measures such as long sleeve shirts or short sleeve shirts that have been modified to cover the tattoos, trousers, or natural colored bandages are used to cover all visible tattoos.
He said when temperature in the summertime approach three digits, wearing long sleeves while in uniform is not comfortable or safe.
"As a department, the trial policy will allow us to be progressive while keeping our people cooler and potentially safer in hot weather," Bryson said.
At the end of the trial period it will be determined if this will become a permanent policy modification, a summer exception, or if the Fire Department will return to current standards. With that in mind, Bryson said he welcomes any and all community feedback.
Bryson said he received input from fire chiefs around the state because departments all over the nation have gone through this discussion.
"Most have policies requiring concealment of anything offensive or any tattoo on the face, head, neck, or hand. Other departments echo the same sentiment that it has become normal in today's society," he said. Δ