Chapter 1 – Rules and Regulations, Policies, and Standard Operating Procedures
Rules and Regulations
Rules and regulations are developed by various government or government-authorized organizations to implement a law that has been passed. Rules may also be established by a local jurisdiction or within a fire department that set conditions of employment. For example, a fire department may have a rule that requires all members to wear their seat belts when riding in vehicles.
Rules and Regulations do not leave any room for latitude or discretion.
Policies are developed to provide definite guidelines and act as a building block for present and future actions. Policies outline what is generally expected in stated conditions. Policies often require personnel to make judgments and to determine the best course of action within the stated policy. For example, a policy could state that the fire officer shall ensure that the station sidewalks are maintained to provide safety from slips and falls during winter conditions. This is a directive policy because it gives the officer latitude in determining how to ensure the safety of pedestrians.
Standard Operating Procedures / Standard Operating Guidelines
Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are sometimes referred to as Standard Operating Guidelines (SOGs) and are written by a specific response organization to standardize a method or activity performed by members of the organization. They provide detailed information to perform an expected action, and allow for judgement calls, recognizing that situations can be different. SOP’s affect only the organization that wrote them. They must conform to all applicable laws and regulations; for example, a response agency cannot have an SOP that directs members to operate in chemical protective clothing without any backup. SOPs should be in place to cover all areas of activity in which an organization’s members take part. They are reviewed and amended periodically and are approved by the chief of the department.
|Rules and Regulations||Policies||Standard Operating Procedures|
|implement a law that has been passed||provide definite guidelines||provide detailed information to perform an expected action|
|do not leave any room for latitude or discretion||outline what is generally expected in stated conditions||affect only the organization that wrote them|
|leave any room for latitude or discretion||leave any room for latitude or discretion|