Firefighter Tattoos – It’s Skin-Deep

Not all countries do things alike. Particularly in North America, firefighters are highly respected. This is why a lot of them openly display their solidarity for their fire departments, even on their own bodies.

A Canadian badge on a volunteer firefighter’s upper arm

If you tell people in our circle that you’re a firefighter, you get labeled pretty quickly as a beer drinker, or you just sort of get smiled at weakly. But it’s not like that in the States or in Canada; a person is very much respected there for being a firefighter. Here, we wouldn’t do much more than put a firefighter bumper sticker on our car, but in North America it’s taken to a different level. Fire trucks are decorated with slogans and logos, and every fire department has its own individual t-shirt. And if all that’s not enough, you just take it a step further and use your very own skin to glorify your fire department. About a year and a half ago, a Canadian who was visiting a friend of mine proudly showed us the tattoo of his badge. According to him, a firefighter tattoo such as his is no rarity amongst his firefighter buddies.

Particularly after September 11th, the number of US firefighters with tattoos has, most likely, drastically increased. There are countless pictures on the internet of not only more or less restrained badges, but entire pictures on people’s backs.

Firefighter Tattoo 1
Firefighter Tattoo 2
Firefighter Tattoo 3
Firefighter Tattoo 4
Firefighter Tattoo 5
Firefighter Tattoo 6 (for girls)
Firefighter Tattoo Übersicht

I myself am a bit more reserved when it comes to (firefighter) tattoos. For one, I don’t like the idea of putting something on my skin that will last a lifetime; also, sometimes you end up leaving your fire department or unit for a different one. And after your third or fourth switch, you’re going to run out of space on your upper arm :-) .

I’ve never really seen tattoos like this in Germany. So I’m interested in whether you guys have ever gotten inked, and, if yes, what kind of firefighter tattoos you have. I would appreciate it if you could send me pictures of your tattoos so I can publish them on my blog.

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