One of the main stumbling blocks that fire departments face when they tackle the job of documenting their procedures is the lack of available resources to help them do the job. Adopting another department's guidelines is not a viable solution because even though the departments may have to comply with the same regulations and standards, each fire department's resources and operational procedures will most certainly vary. Additional bylaws and regulations imposed by local governments may pose differences as well. If your written procedures do not accurately reflect your operational procedures, then they're worthless.
That's not to say that sharing guidelines between fire departments is necessarily a bad thing. Sharing information can save you time as long as you keep things in perspective and only use the borrowed material to form a basis for your own guidelines.
Writing Operational Guidelines is a daunting task that requires a group effort with input from individuals who collectively and preferably have:
- extensive firefighting and logistics experience
- operational knowledge of the department (i.e., SCBA Manager, Training Officer, etc.)
- administrative experience (i.e., maintaining a Record Management System, scheduling and coordinating inspections and training courses, etc.)
- documentation expertise
After running the gauntlet and doing our due diligence with the likes of the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), the Fire Commissioners Office, and other fire departments with SOP writing experience, we have developed a plan that can be used by any fire department to quickly get underway.
We provide the following:
- A Master Outline and numbering system for the most commonly required guidelines
- A write, edit, and revise process
- A revision control process to manage amendments
- Writing services
- Editing services
- Indexing services
- Publication services (Printed Manuals, eBooks, or Internet/Intranet)
- An archiving system for quick and easy access to guidelines
- Links to Resources