We get this question a lot… Is it okay to have tattoos in the Fire Service?  Well, it depends.  Most fire departments have policies in place to deal with this very topic.  Here at FirefighterMedic we always suggest being conservative if you’re pre-employment.  What does that mean?  Consider this:

1.  Would ANYONE consider it offensive?  I understand that we all have first amendment rights… Fire Chiefs also have the right to not hire you if they choose…

2.  Do your tattoos reflect a positive image?  I know we were all young once, but if you have tears tattooed on your face I’d say that would be a solid no thank you.

3.  Do you HAVE to get it now?  If you’re thinking about getting a tattoo and you’re pre-employment, just wait.  Make it a cool “off-probation” gift to yourself (as long as it complies with all policies).  Don’t add the headache!


Most Fire Departments are becoming pretty strict.  Some don’t care at all.  Check in at the departments that you’d like to work at and find out what their policies are.  Don’t get yourself bumped out of a process for something like this.

Dave Hardenburger

Dave is a Fire Captain and Paramedic for a municipal Fire Department in San Diego County. He co-founded FirefighterMedic with Josh and currently serves as a Mentor.