Play / pause Removing the Turban

Removing the Turban

  • Balbir Flora
  • Interview by: Jess Boydon


The only exception to the beard and the turban rule is

for example, if I'm going into a frontline situation

where there is genuine,

what we call a nuclear, chemical, biological threat,

where we know the enemies using

chemical weapons or things like that.

Then to protect my own life

and to stop being a risk to the wider team,

because obviously if I end up with inhaling some of those

liquids, chemicals or whatever,

and then I become a casualty,

then my team are going to trying to be responding to me,

which might mean that they might as well come under risk.

Because obviously they're too busy trying to look after me.

The rule is, the emaldi line is, that while we're serving

we carry on doing dry drills.

But obviously, if we want to go to threat line,

we then have to take the turban off,

wear a patka, which is a smaller piece of fabric.

You haven't got the bulk there,

so you can then fit your respirator,

and then you still need to get the seal,

so what you'd have to do is modify your beard

so that you get a perfect seal.

Because it's all about preserving life.

But on that point, in 37 years regular service,

I've never had to actually modify my beard.

You know, the risk is there, you just got to accept that

it might come one day.

But, I personally, have not had to shave my beard at all,

or trim it to achieve that seal

because I've never actually been in that environment.

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