Developing SOPs & SOGs


Like a lot of fire departments, we get requests all the time for SOPs and SOGs. If a department wants to start an SOP/SOG program, they must have a place to start, even if they get a bunch of SOP/SOG examples from other departments. So, with that in mind, I’m sharing my department’s guidelines for developing SOPs/SOGs. Use it as you see fit. If you change it, please let me know what you did, as that change may work better for us, too. Further, over the next several weeks, I’ll share more of our SOPs/SOGs with you.

Click here to download a Word document of these guidelines.

1.0 PURPOSE

     1.1     The purpose of this guideline is to establish a common system by which the department can develop and implement SOPs and SOGs.

2.0 GENERAL INFORMATION

     2.1     Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are used to ensure personnel perform common tasks in a specific manner to promote continuity and reproduction of the end results.

     2.2     Standard Operating Guidelines (SOGs) are used as guidelines for personnel to perform common tasks in a preferred manner to promote continuity and reproduction of the end results.

     2.3     All department members should contribute to the development and implementation of SOPs/SOGs.

     2.4     Completed SOPs/SOGs shall be:

          2.4.1     Presented to the department for at least a 14 day review and written comment period; then,
          2.4.2     After the review/comment period, the comments shall be reviewed and the SOP/SOG revised as necessary; then,
          2.4.3     The SOP/SOG shall be read and adopted at the next regularly scheduled meeting.

     2.5     There shall be an SOP/SOG book at each station.

          2.5.1     There shall be a contents page for each SOP/SOG book.
          2.5.2     Each category shall have its own section.
          2.5.3     There shall be a permanent file at Station 1 for all SOP/SOG's and their revisions. The acknowledgement sheet for each SOP/SOG shall also be kept in this file.

3.0 RESPONSIBILITIES

     3.1     The Fire Chief is responsible for co-signing the final approval of all SOPs/SOGs.

     3.2     The Assistant Chief is responsible for overseeing the development and implementation of the SOP/SOG program. This may include, but is not limited to the following:

          3.2.1     Identifying tasks that may require an SOP/SOG and ensuring that one is developed.
          3.2.2     Appointing personnel to develop an SOP/SOG.
          3.2.3     Reviewing the final draft of proposed SOP/SOGs for content.
          3.2.4     Forwarding proposed SOP/SOG's to the required discipline officer for review:
                    3.2.4.1     Administrative - Asst. Chief
                    3.2.4.2     Maintenance - Asst. Chief
                    3.2.4.3     Fire Ground Operations - Training Coord.
                    3.2.4.4     Rescue Operations - Rescue Capt.
                    3.2.4.5     Haz-Mat Operations - Capt.
                    3.2.4.6     Support Operations - Asst. Chief
                    3.2.4.7     Training - Training Coord.
                    3.2.4.8     Station - Capt.

     3.2.5     Reviewing the final draft of and co-signing the final approval of the following SOPs/SOGs:

                    3.2.5.1     Administrative
                    3.2.5.2     Support Operations
                    3.2.5.3     Maintenance

     3.3     The Training Coordinator is responsible for:

          3.3.1     Reviewing the final draft and co-signing the final approval of the following SOPs/SOGs:
                    3.3.1.1     Fire Ground Operations
                    3.3.1.2     Training

     3.4     The Rescue Officer is responsible for:

          3.4.1     Reviewing the final draft and co-signing the final approval of Rescue SOPs/SOGs.

     3.5     Captains and/or other officers are responsible for:

          3.5.1     The Haz-Mat officer or selected captain - reviewing the final draft and co-signing the final approval of Haz-Mat SOPs/SOGs.
          3.5.2     The Station or selected captain - reviewing the final draft of and co-signing the final approval of Station SOPs/SOGs.

     3.6     All Department Personnel are responsible for:

          3.6.1     Developing and implementing SOPs/SOGs as required.
          3.6.2     Advising the Asst. Chief when SOPs/SOGs need review and/or revision.
          3.6.3     Propose revisions for SOPs/SOGs as needed.
          3.6.4     Reviewing SOPs/SOGs and commenting on them in writing.
          3.6.5     Signing the SOPs/SOG Acknowledgement sheet within 30 days of adoption.
          3.6.6     Abiding by the SOPs/SOG's.

4.0 FORMAT

     4.1     The SOP/SOG Template shall be used.

     4.2     The final draft of an SOP/SOG shall be in outline format.

     4.3     The SOP/SOG shall be numbered (aaaa-bbb) as follows:

          4.3.1     aaaa is category:
                    4.3.1.1     ADMN – Administrative
                    4.3.1.2     MAIN – Maintenance
                    4.3.1.3     FIRE - Fire Ground and Misc. Operations
                    4.3.1.4     RESC - Rescue Operations
                    4.3.1.5     HAZM - Haz-Mat Operations
                    4.3.1.6     SUPP - Support Operations
                    4.3.1.7     TRNG – Training
                    4.3.1.8     STAT – Station

          4.3.2     bbb is the next sequential number for that category.
          4.3.3     The SOP/SOG shall be addressed to all affected personnel. For example, it may be for all or some personnel, all or some officers, maintenance only or any combination of personnel.

     4.4     The "Effective Date" of the SOP/SOG shall be no later than 30 days after it's adoption.

     4.5     The "Subject" of the SOP/SOG shall be what the document covers.

     4.6     The "Review Date" of the SOP/SOG shall be no longer than 2 years from the Effective Date. However, SOPs/SOGs shall be reviewed and revised as often as required.

     4.7     The body of an SOP/SOG shall always begin with the purpose, and include any disclaimer for deviation should any be allowed.

          4.7.1     Example: The purpose of this guideline is to establish procedures for vehicle fires. This is a general guideline only and will not cover all situations. Deviations from this guideline shall be made by the on-scene incident commander, and that person shall bear the responsibility for any event resulting from any deviation.

     4.8     The remainder of the SOP/SOG body shall be made up of sections as required. These sections may include but are not limited to the following:

          4.8.1     General Information - is specifics regarding the SOP/SOG.|
          4.8.2     Definitions - any definitions that need to be clarified.
          4.8.3     Responsibilities - who is responsible for what.
          4.8.4     Procedure(s) - how is the SOP/SOG to be carried out.
          4.8.5     Forms - should any be required.

     4.9     The approval and adoption of the SOP/SOG shall be in the following format:

     This standard operating procedure has been approved and adopted. 
       
 ________       ____       ____________         ____
 Fire Chief        Date        XXXXXXXXX        Date

          4.9.1     XXXXXXXXX is the discipline officers signature (e.g. Asst. Chief, Training Coord.).
          4.9.2     The approval and adoption statement shall be signed by the Fire Chief and discipline officer at their earliest convenience, preferably at the time of adoption.
           4.9.3     The SOP/SOG shall be read and an acknowledgment sheet signed by all department personnel within 30 days of the adoption.

     4.10     Standard Fire Service and other reference texts may be used as SOPs/SOGs. For example, the CareFlite Operations SOG may simply state that the CareFlite Ground Operations Manual shall be followed.

V. Approval

This standard operating procedure has been approved and adopted.  
       
 ________       ____       _________       ____      
 Fire Chief        Date        Asst. Chief        Date

Click here to download a Word document of these guidelines.

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