working as an EMT in a skirt

addictedforever

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I am looking forward to becoming an EMT-B as soon as I can, but I'm having trouble getting accepted into a program.

I wear a skirt as part of my beliefs and so would wear a skirt on the job. I've worked in the medical field since I was 16 and up until now it has never been a problem. It is state law that EMT's wear pants, so I got uniform pants and I wear a uniform skirt over them along with the uniform shirt.

When I first contacted the instructor of the basic class I was interested in, he told me that no department would ever accept someone working in a skirt. So I went to my dad's chief and board. I got accepted to go with them, pending the training. I also went to the top OSHA person in the state and got his approval.

I've done ride alongs so that the paramedics and chief could see that I presented no safety hazard even with a skirt. But I still can't get the instructor to accept me into the program.

Should I try every other program in the state? Wait until my dad's department offers the class, maybe in a couple years? Give up my dream? Any suggestions? And how would you feel about working with someone who wore a skirt?
 

abckidsmom

Dances with Patients
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I've worked with some menonites, who just made dresses that were either plain white or plain navy, and they sewed patches and whatnot onto the right spots.

Honestly? I think it's a little silly. I have even been dresses-only at times in the past. I believe that if you are going to be so legalistic on the dresses-only thing that you let it interfere with the functionality of your job, it crosses a line.

It's work. Real physical labor at times. For your safety, your legs need to be covered by sturdy fabric, and there needs to be no loose, flowing fabric around.

For duty shifts, I believe EMS providers need to wear pants. I do think that uniform skirts look very nice for other occasions where you are not going to be actually doing the work, though.
 

bigbaldguy

Former medic seven years 911 service in houston
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I don't think there is any specific OSHA policy that requires medics to wear pants. I know of many departments that let their people wear shorts and a ankle length skirt would provide more protection than shorts in many situations. I have to think it would be a pain to wear a skirt on the truck but I personally can't see why it would be a safety issue. I know I have seen one female police officer who wears a long skirt. It looked a little odd but I can't see how it makes much of a difference in actual performance of her duties.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/64825529@N00/3688382035/
not really relevant but a funny photo I came across.
 
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crazycajun

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I am looking forward to becoming an EMT-B as soon as I can, but I'm having trouble getting accepted into a program.

I wear a skirt as part of my beliefs and so would wear a skirt on the job. I've worked in the medical field since I was 16 and up until now it has never been a problem. It is state law that EMT's wear pants, so I got uniform pants and I wear a uniform skirt over them along with the uniform shirt.

When I first contacted the instructor of the basic class I was interested in, he told me that no department would ever accept someone working in a skirt. So I went to my dad's chief and board. I got accepted to go with them, pending the training. I also went to the top OSHA person in the state and got his approval.

I've done ride alongs so that the paramedics and chief could see that I presented no safety hazard even with a skirt. But I still can't get the instructor to accept me into the program.

Should I try every other program in the state? Wait until my dad's department offers the class, maybe in a couple years? Give up my dream? Any suggestions? And how would you feel about working with someone who wore a skirt?

I understand religious beliefs. However, does your religion find it acceptable should someone see under your skirt? Would you be comfortable administering CPR and having bystanders seeing under your skirt. Remember you don't have time to fix your clothing while performing many of the tasks we do. Suppose you have to climb an embankment or a ladder. If EMS is truly your passion and calling, I believe God will forgive you for wearing pants.
 

JPINFV

Gadfly
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Since this is a religious issue, I think the following questions are pertinent. Please take these as honest thoughts and not someone trying to slam your beliefs.

1. You said that you would wear pants underneath the skirt. How is this anything but a loophole? Does your specific religion offer exemptions for specific conditions? If the difference between "male" garments and "female" garments is whether it has one opening at the bottom or 2, how do they view hospital gowns?

2. Did Jesus wear pants? If not, then does that make "male" vs "female" clothing an aspect of societal culture (thus open to change) instead of a universal truth? If the gender of specific articles of clothing are up to the culture, how are pants designed, manufactured, and marketed specifically to women (there are work pants that fit this bill) articles of clothing designed for men? After all, I'd look pretty silly wearing a pair of jeans designed for women.
 

JPINFV

Gadfly
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I understand religious beliefs. However, does your religion find it acceptable should someone see under your skirt? Would you be comfortable administering CPR and having bystanders seeing under your skirt. Remember you don't have time to fix your clothing while performing many of the tasks we do. Suppose you have to climb an embankment or a ladder. If EMS is truly your passion and calling, I believe God will forgive you for wearing pants.


...because skirts can't go down to the ankles?

Now a more serious question is that the only way to maintain modesty and mobility with a skirt is a low, moderately loose skirt. This would also present a snag hazard when it comes to working things like vehicle collisions.
 

lampnyter

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I believe it will be almost impossible for you to get a job if you can only wear a skirt. Not only does is it a hazard, most companies wouldnt want you to look different than everybody else.
 

Aidey

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Honestly? I think it's a little silly. I have even been dresses-only at times in the past. I believe that if you are going to be so legalistic on the dresses-only thing that you let it interfere with the functionality of your job, it crosses a line.

It's work. Real physical labor at times. For your safety, your legs need to be covered by sturdy fabric, and there needs to be no loose, flowing fabric around.

For duty shifts, I believe EMS providers need to wear pants. I do think that uniform skirts look very nice for other occasions where you are not going to be actually doing the work, though.

I agree. I can easily think of how a long skirt could be a problem when lifting, moving and carrying patients and when using the gurney.
 

DesertMedic66

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The point of a uniform is to have everyone looking the same. It's the same reason at least for my company that we can't have hair past our shoulders, earrings, alot of make-up, beards, colorful shoes, etc. It serves both for safety and to have everyone look the same to the most part.

In theory no I would not have a problem working with a female wearing a skirt. But if her skirt started to cause problems then Im going to call a supervisor as fast as I can. I am not going to risk mine or my partners safety for religious reasons.
 

Anjel

Forum Angel
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Its too dangerous to not have full range of motion with your legs. And you could get caught in something.

There are just certain jobs that pants are required for. Ems is not a girly light worked job.

It can be tough. And physically demanding. And u have to be able to move around freely and fast.
 

Flight-LP

Forum Deputy Chief
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I don't think there is any specific OSHA policy that requires medics to wear pants.

Actually there are two specific OSHA standards that cover this issue. The OSHA Bloodborne Pathogen standard clearly states that "appropriate" PPE is one that adequately protects skin from potential infectious exposure. Outside of that, the "catch all" General Duty Clause (OSH Act 5(a)(1)) requires employers to provide a safe work environment free from identifiable potential hazards.

There is a clause in the BBP standard that allows for temporary abstaining from the standard as well as a clause that allows a provider to forego the standard requirements if the employer agrees to an ongoing evaluation of the policy in place (i.e. FD's that allow shorts). Regardless, the employer is responsible for ensuring the safety of it's employees and is completely within it's rights to decide what said policy will be. In other words, if they say no skirts, then no skirts will be allowed. It's a hard one to dispute.
 

Sasha

Forum Chief
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At this point you have to decide what is more powerful and important.. your desire to be an EMT or your religion.

Your choice of beliefs will definitely interfere with your career choices. Sorry but I don't believe you should be able to wear a skirt and work. It's hazardous.
 

frdude1000

Forum Captain
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A few years backs we had an orthodox Jewish girl in our standby EMS group. She was allowed to wear a black skirt. I do agree it could pose some hazard. I think that is the decision of the wearer though and they should sign a document with the serivce that they are wearing the skirt at their own risk.
 

TransportJockey

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A few years backs we had an orthodox Jewish girl in our standby EMS group. She was allowed to wear a black skirt. I do agree it could pose some hazard. I think that is the decision of the wearer though and they should sign a document with the serivce that they are wearing the skirt at their own risk.

Most services probably still wouldn't be willing to take the risk. Even if the person signs a waiver, it still leaves the service open to suit.
 

JPINFV

Gadfly
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Event standby is also a different environment than working an an ambulance.
 
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addictedforever

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I understand religious beliefs. However, does your religion find it acceptable should someone see under your skirt? Would you be comfortable administering CPR and having bystanders seeing under your skirt. Remember you don't have time to fix your clothing while performing many of the tasks we do. Suppose you have to climb an embankment or a ladder. If EMS is truly your passion and calling, I believe God will forgive you for wearing pants.

I did say I would be wearing pants underneath my skirt. And I have climbed ladders and embankments with a skirt on. Trust me, I've done basically everything there is to do with a skirt on. I've done some extreme hiking, because I hunt. I'm used to it. But yes maybe God would forgive me for wearing pants.

Since this is a religious issue, I think the following questions are pertinent. Please take these as honest thoughts and not someone trying to slam your beliefs.

1. You said that you would wear pants underneath the skirt. How is this anything but a loophole? Does your specific religion offer exemptions for specific conditions? If the difference between "male" garments and "female" garments is whether it has one opening at the bottom or 2, how do they view hospital gowns?

2. Did Jesus wear pants? If not, then does that make "male" vs "female" clothing an aspect of societal culture (thus open to change) instead of a universal truth? If the gender of specific articles of clothing are up to the culture, how are pants designed, manufactured, and marketed specifically to women (there are work pants that fit this bill) articles of clothing designed for men? After all, I'd look pretty silly wearing a pair of jeans designed for women.

I agree you probably would look pretty silly wearing women's jeans. As far as a loophole, I don't know. Maybe it is. And I'm pretty sure I could not get an exception for this, unfortunately. I would be okay with wearing just pants for the job. I'll have to do more checking.

...because skirts can't go down to the ankles?

Now a more serious question is that the only way to maintain modesty and mobility with a skirt is a low, moderately loose skirt. This would also present a snag hazard when it comes to working things like vehicle collisions.

Um, you must not wear skirts. No disrespect intended. The skirt I wear for on the job does not come to my ankles, but it is below my knees. It's modest, but does not present a snag hazard. That was one of the specific hazards my chief looked at before accepting it.

The point of a uniform is to have everyone looking the same. It's the same reason at least for my company that we can't have hair past our shoulders, earrings, alot of make-up, beards, colorful shoes, etc. It serves both for safety and to have everyone look the same to the most part.

In theory no I would not have a problem working with a female wearing a skirt. But if her skirt started to cause problems then Im going to call a supervisor as fast as I can. I am not going to risk mine or my partners safety for religious reasons.

I can definitely appreciate calling a supervisor if a skirt started causing problems. I would give up my dream, if I honestly tho't I presented a serious hazard to myself or anyone else. And one of the paramedics told me that he had quite forgotten that I wore a skirt. I had demonstrated my capablity to perform the job without presenting a safety hazard, so he had stopped focusing on that.
 
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addictedforever

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Its too dangerous to not have full range of motion with your legs. And you could get caught in something.

There are just certain jobs that pants are required for. Ems is not a girly light worked job.

It can be tough. And physically demanding. And u have to be able to move around freely and fast.

I know all that. Why do you think I want the job? I know that EMS is not a girly light worked job. I also know that it can be tough and physically demanding. And before you say that I can't move around freely and fast in a skirt, you should observe me in action first. Trust me, I can move more freely in a skirt than in pants, but since I also wear pants on the job, well, I find them more restricting than a skirt.
 

PotatoMedic

Has no idea what I'm doing.
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I knew a firefighter who wore a skirt at work. She complained that it bunched up when she put her bunker pants on.

The chief offered to have a "turnout skirt" made but I think she declined.
 

ArcticKat

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I have several collegues who are nurses with a religious precedent to wear skirts, but, they also have an exemption when it comes to their uniforms and are permitted to wear pants.
 

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