Fire Service Dress Uniform Guidelines

Beyond their field work attire, firefighters appear in public in one of two dress uniform styles. Class A and Class B uniforms share some similarities, but a fire department’s individual protocol dictates the guidelines for each uniform’s use. These ensembles are meant to impart an air of professionalism; as such, departments like the one in Rogers, Arkansas, prohibit wearing dress uniforms in bars, casinos or adult entertainment facilities.

  1. Class A Uniforms

    • The highest level of dress uniform goes by different names around the country. The Lighthouse Uniform Company advises firefighters that names could include Dress Black, Dress Blue, Service Dress Blue or Class A Dress Uniforms. Whatever the name, the uniform is worn as a symbol of honor for occasions like dedications, weddings and funerals. In Winter Park, Florida, the Fire-Rescue guidelines call for a Class A men’s uniform that includes a dress long-sleeve shirt with all assigned insignia; dress coat, pants and belt; lace-up dress shoes; a bell-toe cap; and white gloves. The Oregon Fire Service guidelines for women’s Class A uniforms state that officers may opt for a single-breasted black coat, skirt and continental tie.

    Class B Uniforms

    • For occasions requiring a polished look, but deemed not formal enough for Class A uniforms, the Class B dress uniform provides a measure of professionalism appropriate for a fire station office position, school presentations, dining out or similar environments where an officer may encounter the public. Winter Park’s Class B dress guidelines for men include the same dress shirt, pants and shoes as the Class A uniform; however, the jacket is waived, and no cap or gloves are required. The officer may also wear a white T-shirt under the dress shirt.

    Fittings and Insignia

    • The appropriate touches to a Class A dress uniform vary by the guidelines of the local fire department. In Rogers, Arkansas, the coat requires a sleeve braid denoting the officer’s rank and a “Years of Service” Maltese cross sewn on lower half of the left sleeve. In Oregon, officers of different ranks wear lapel pins depicting crossed trumpets or bars. Department patches are affixed to the left sleeve.

    Funeral Attire

    • No occasion calls for more sobriety in dress than the funeral of a firefighter lost in the line of duty. In Illinois, the Chicago Fire Department Clothing Center provides dress blues suitable for public funeral services. On Christmas Eve in 2010, the store helped more than 500 men and women dress appropriately for the service of two fallen colleagues. Store owner Bob Zwick explained to CBS Chicago that he kept his shop open late just before the holiday -- aiding crew members who needed alterations or finishing touches -- because “it’s extremely important that they be in dress uniform for the funeral.”

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