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Standard Operating Procedures


COPS 2007 Technology Program Advanced Training Workshops. Standard Operating Procedures. Jim Reutlinger Public Safety Technology Specialist SEARCH. Standard Operating Procedures. “The devil is in the details!” Even the grandest project depends on the success of the smallest components

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Standard Operating Procedures

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COPS 2007 Technology Program Advanced Training Workshops

Standard Operating Procedures

Jim Reutlinger

Public Safety Technology Specialist

SEARCH


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Standard Operating Procedures

“The devil is in

the details!”

Even the grandest project depends on

the success of the smallest components

Policies and proceduresare a key component


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Developing Policies and Procedures

What are policies and procedures?

  • Formalized interagency agreements on how a system will be maintained and used


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Developing Policies and Procedures

Why do we develop them?

  • Compliance

  • Operational needs

  • Manage risks

  • Continuous improvement

  • Policies and procedures establish how technology is to be used


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Developing Policies and Procedures

Who is responsible for developing

them?

  • The system Governance Board

    • Approves acceptable policies and procedures

    • Developed by User and Technical Committees in a multi-agency system environment


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Developing Policies and Procedures

When should they be developed?

  • Starting early in the project and carried on through a process of continuous improvements after implementation


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Interoperability Operations:Developing Policies and Procedures

Interoperable standard operating procedures (SOPs) require:

  • A Project Foundation

    • Key elements

      • An Executive Sponsor who…

        • is educated about the need for partnerwide interoperability SOP

        • understands the associated costs/recurring budget items

        • believes in ongoing training and exercises


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Interoperability Operations:Developing Policies and Procedures

  • A Project Foundation(continued)

    • Build SOPs around the business case, to include:

      • Radio/data communications issues

      • Equipment budget issues

      • Personnel training and exercises

      • Equipment/software use/ maintenance


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Interoperability Operations:Developing Policies and Procedures

  • A Project Foundation(continued)

    • Create an SOP committee or sub-committee under Operations User Group

      • Committee should reflect makeup of participating disciplines (Police, Fire, EMS)

      • Use existing regional task forces or advocacy group, if in place


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Developing Policies and Procedures

The best technology and infrastructure cannot make up for a poor or nonexistent set of instructions on how to use it


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Developing Policies and Procedures

Focus SOP Development onRoutine Capabilities

  • Policies and procedures for communications systems provide for agencies’ day-to-day operational needs

  • During the stress of emergencies, responders will likely perform the procedures they have learned, and used daily

  • Interagency communications procedures are only effective if used. They are most likely to be used if they are part of daily routine or practice

  • Provide key term definitions to reduce confusion


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Developing Policies and Procedures

  • Lay the groundwork for automatic behaviors during emergencies by establishing routine interagency procedures

  • Make “cheat sheets” for easy reference

  • Practice them during training and exercises

  • Include a clear and concise header block to ensure a procedure communicates the purpose and scope

  • Make clear assignment of responsibilities that identifies who does what and when

Look for Regular Behaviors


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Developing Policies and Procedures

What to Include in Your SOP Development

  • References to related documents to improve usability

  • Listing of applicable laws or regulations to communicate compliance

  • Keep a detailed list of revisions to track edit history

  • Develop forms to ensure proper control and record keeping


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Interoperability OperationsDeveloping Policies and Procedures

Creating Operational Policies

and Procedures

  • The Technical and User Committees of the governing body are commonly tasked with responsibility to:

    • Create the SOPs

    • Carry them through approval and adoption

    • Maintain them over time


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Developing Policies and Procedures

Kinds of Policies to Consider for Interoperability Systems

  • ICS Communications Unit (NIMS)

  • Incident Dispatch Teams (Tactical Dispatch)

  • Emergency Traffic (How to handle)

  • Channel Span of Control (Off-loading busy channels)

  • Standard Plain Language (Drop the use of codes)

  • Operational Unit Reporting (Standardized reporting)


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Developing Policies and Procedures

Creating Operational Policies

and Procedures

  • The Incident Communications Plan

    • SOPs drive the development of the Incident Communications Plan

    • The plan is specific to an incident due to its unique geographic location the type of operations undertaken

    • The ICS 205 Template identifies communications resources for the incident

      • Functional assignments

      • Technical parameters


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Interoperability OperationsDeveloping Policies and Procedures

  • The diagram depicts a realistic organizational chart identifying responders to a hypothetical event by their function. What is this structure called?


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Interoperability OperationsDeveloping Policies and Procedures

Establish and use a standard method. Example:

  • A purpose or objective statement

  • A technical background statement describing capabilities and constraints under which the standard, protocol, or procedure is used

  • An operational context statement addressing when it is appropriate

  • A recommended protocol/standard statement addressing related criteria that qualify use of the one being established

  • The recommended procedure, itself, describing how the task is performed,

  • A management statement describing who is responsible for supervising or managing this procedure

Interoperability Tech Guide

Standard Template


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Developing Policies and Procedures

Establish and Use

a Standard Process

  • Policies and procedures governing interagency communications are crucial for interoperability

  • Agencies that have adopted a standard method for their creation have found them easier to develop and maintain. An example comes from the one of the northern regions:Minneapolis-St.Paul, Minnesota


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Interoperability OperationsDeveloping Policies and Procedures

  • The Metropolitan Radio Board (MRB) of the Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, area oversees a radio system shared between many agencies

  • The Board has used a standardized template and approach to create an extensive set of standards, protocols, and procedures

  • Their document includes a template showing and describing seven elements:

Shared Systems in the Twin Cities


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Interoperability OperationsDeveloping Policies and Procedures

  • A document title, control, and approvals block

  • A purpose or objective statement

  • A technical background statement describing capabilities and constraints under which the standard, protocol, or procedure is used

  • An operational context statement addressing when it is appropriate to be used

  • A recommended protocol/standard statement addressing any related criteria that state why a policy/procedure being is being established

  • The recommended procedure, itself, describing how the task is performed, including individual steps and locations of reference documents

  • A management statement describing who is responsible for supervising or managing this procedure

Shared Systems in the Twin Cities


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Developing Policies and Procedures

  • Following a standardized method, you can create policies and procedures that both serve your systems and are manageable

  • What kinds of SOPs will be needed?

    • Technical

    • Operational

Create Technical Policies and Procedures


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Developing Policies and Procedures

  • Some of the more common ones include:

    • Equipment management and deployment

    • Standard equipment configurations

    • Maintenance of radio caches

    • Gateway configuration, maintenance, deployment, and use

    • Outage responsibilities and standards for repairs

    • Preventative maintenance

Create Technical Policies and Procedures – Radio System


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Developing Policies and Procedures

  • What do they involve?

    • PSAP, EOC, Incident Command, Tactical Operations

    • Suggested elements of the policy

      • Multi-agency, multi-discipline response

      • Use of plain language

      • NIMS/ICS

Mission-critical Incident SOPS


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Developing Policies and Procedures

  • Use of unit identification

  • Radio cache activation/deactivation

  • PSAP management of gateway request

  • Gateway activation

  • Gateway deactivation

Mission-critical Incident SOPS


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Interoperability OperationsDeveloping Policies and Procedures

What Does Success Look Like?

  • Region/Statewide SOP compatibility between jurisdictions, disciplines, and agencies

  • Region/Statewide integration between jurisdictions, agencies, and disciplines


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SAFECOM Continuum


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SAFECOMKey Drivers for Progression Along Continuum

  • Leadership commitment to achieve interoperability

  • Leadership support for collaboration across disciplines

  • Frequent usage of interoperability solutions

  • Coordination across all disciplines (Governance, Technology, SOPs, Training)


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SAFECOMLocal/Regional Interoperability SOPs

  • Progression along the continuum is a corresponding process

    • Example, if you procure new equipment but have not developed procedures for its use, you have not truly progressed along the continuum

  • Local Agency Goal:

    • Regionwide SOP Integration based on NIMS, between agencies and disciplines


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Developing Policies and Procedures

What are you doing in the

area of SOP development?