Ministry of the
Solicitor General

OFM - 04-69-13

Co-ordination, Development, Approval and Distribution of Standard Operating Guidelines for Various Disciplines

Public Fire Safety Guidelines

Subject Coding

PFSG 04-69-13

Section

Fire Administration

Date

March 2000

Subject
Co-ordination, Development, Approval and
Distribution of Standard Operating Guidelines for
Various Disciplines

Page

Under Review

Purpose:

The purpose of this guideline is to assist fire departments to develop written operational guidelines.

Guideline:

A statement written to guide the performance or behaviour of departmental staff, whether functioning alone or in groups.
These guidelines;

  • enhance safety
  • increase individual and team effectiveness
  • allow for easier training and better entry level orientation
  • improve risk management practices
  • help to avoid litigation
  • form the basis of objective post incident evaluations
  • permit flexibility in decision making

Co-ordination:

  • Fire department managers may consider creating and empowering a committee to research, develop, and draft operational guidelines.
  • Committees should involve the members directly affected by various guidelines; examples include;
  • training personnel for live fire training guidelines,
  • fire Prevention personnel for inspection procedures, active firefighters for laying hose or taking hydrants.
  • two or three firefighters, two or three company officers and possibly a senior officer.
  • The committee should select its own chair and establish a regular meeting schedule.
  • The committee could become permanent, with membership assigned, as required, to assist the fire chief with the continuous improvement process demanded of modern fire departments.
  • The permanent committee could also be comprised of all company or senior officers with the SOG's as part of the monthly officers meeting agendas.

Development:

  • The order of developing procedures will be driven by local needs.
  • Activities that impact on firefighter safety, the department's most common emergency operations, or high risk operation should be top priority.
  • Each operational guideline should deal with a single objective and must describe what is to be accomplished, but not necessarily how to do the task.
  • When the subject matter has been decided upon, the committee will begin to gather the resources needed to prepare the guideline.
  • Each guideline can be broken into five basic components: purpose, scope, responsibility, performance and references.

Approval:

  • Specific items should be assigned to each committee member by the chairperson for review.
  • Each committee member will present a synopsis of the item at a future meeting for review, revision and refinement of the guideline.
  • A written draft of the operational guideline should be prepared next.
  • The draft should be posted for input from other department members. .

Distribution:

  • A copy should be provided to each member of the department.
  • Each of the guidelines should be printed on a standard form. An introductory statement should be developed for the operational guideline manual. Key information offered:
  • why the guidelines have been developed
  • why they are called guidelines
  • definition of the term "guidelines"

Responsibility:

  • Guidelines, that have been finalized and approved by the fire chief, should be implemented by the staff members who are responsible for training.

DRAFT SOG #101: STATEMENT of INTENT

ISSUE DATE:

REVISION DATE:

PURPOSE:

Standard operating guidelines (SOG) have been developed to provide information to all members of the fire department in a prompt and consistent manner.

SCOPE:

These guidelines are to be followed by all members of the department.
Every member has a responsibility to learn and understand what is required in performance of their duties and to stay current with information provided in standard operating guidelines. Direction will be provided from officers and senior staff, as required.

POLICY:

Standard operating guidelines allow administrators to accurately predict how their resources will be mobilized when called upon under emergency circumstances.
Standard operating guidelines also act as a guide for officers to follow when assigning routine activities as well as emergency responses.
Standard operating guidelines will be reviewed annually by the fire chief and all officers, updated or amended as required to improve fire protection and will be circulated for all members to reference.
Please reference SOG #102: DISTRIBUTION and SOG #103: DEVELOPING STANDARD OPERATING GUIDELINES.

NOTE:

These guidelines have been developed to be consistent with those recommended by various evaluating agencies of fire protection in the province and for the safety of firefighters and residents while endeavouring to protect life and property from fire.


DRAFT SOG #102: DISTRIBUTION O STANDARD OPERATING GUIDELINES

ISSUE DATE:

REVISION DATE:

PURPOSE:

To implement a standard procedure for consistent transfer of information to all members of the fire department.

SCOPE:

These guidelines are to be followed by all members of the department.
Every member has a responsibility to learn and understand what is required in performance of their duties and to stay current with information provided in standard operating guidelines with direction from officers and senior staff, as required.

POLICY:

New and revised standard operating guidelines will be circulated to all members through the shift and station officers in charge.
At the beginning of their tour of duty, shift officers will read or summarize the content of a new or revised SOG, which has been issued for all on-duty personnel. Where necessary, the SOG will be discussed with on-duty persons to ensure understanding and methods of implementation.
At the beginning of the first scheduled training or meeting night, volunteer station officers will read or summarize the content of a new or revised SOG which has been issued for all on-duty personnel. Where necessary, the SOG will be discussed with on-duty persons to ensure understanding and methods of implementation.
The SOG will then be circulated and each member will read and sign the acknowledgement log book maintained by the shift or station officer.
Shift and station officers will review the acknowledgement log book monthly and every three months will provide the training officer with a list of persons and the SOG numbers they have not acknowledged.
Shift and station officers will also post a notice of receipt for a new or revised SOG on the station bulletin board for persons not present when the SOG is initially circulated.

DRAFT SOG #103: DEVELOPING & REVISING STANDARD OPERATING GUIDELINES

ISSUE DATE:

REVISION DATE:

PURPOSE:

To implement a consistent method of developing new standard operating guidelines and revising existing guidelines to improve fire protection services. 

SCOPE:

These guidelines are to be followed by all members of the department.

POLICY:

All standard operating guidelines will be reviewed annually by the fire chief and all officers for necessary updates or amendments.
Where any officer or member of the department identifies a procedure or operation which may require new or revised standard instructions for end users, the person will notify the shift or station officer in charge as soon as possible following this recognition.
The shift or station officer will first review existing SOGs for content that may apply to the reported need and discuss their findings with other on-duty officers and members.
The officer in charge will notify the chief or deputy by written memo on the same or next business day of any immediate action taken and if a new or revised procedure is recommended.
Where safety of firefighters or potential damage to department equipment is imminent, the fire chief or deputy will issue interim written guidelines until the normal process for developing or revising SOGs is initiated.
Where interim written guidelines are temporary or not necessary for safety or damage to fire department equipment, the following process will be followed:

  1. The fire chief or deputy will circulate draft SOGs to each shift and station officer to discuss with all available members for their suggestions as end users,
     
  2. shift or station officers will add appropriate comments and return the draft to the training officer within the specified time,
     
  3. all draft SOGs will be discussed at the next scheduled officers meeting for final approval of the fire chief and/or deputy, and,
     
  4. approved standard operating guidelines, replacing interim guidelines, will be circulated as described in SOG #102: DISTRIBUTION.

Codes, Standards and Best Practices:

Codes, Standards and Best Practices resources available to assist in establishing local policy on this assessment are listed below. All are available at http://www.mcscs.jus.gov.on.ca/ . Please feel free to copy and distribute this document. We ask that the document not be altered in any way, that the Office of the Fire Marshal be credited and that the documents be used for non-commercial purposes only.


See also;
Health and Safety Guidelines for Ontario's Fire Services
Additional Reference:
Standard Operating Procedures and Guidelines, Cook, John Lee Jr., Saddle Brook NJ: PenWell Pub. Co. 1998