Fire and rescue services in the UK have an opportunity to improve their policies and procedures by building on the National Operational Guidance Programme (NOG) that is now produced centrally by The National Fire Chiefs Council’s Fire Central Programme Office.
The Fire Central Programme Office has described NOG in this way:
Operational guidance is what makes us tick effectively, efficiently, and safely. We can’t work without it, and we can’t serve the people who need us without it.
Until now we’ve had operational guidance from so many sources, it’s been hard to see the wood for the trees: too many places to look, too many versions to dissect, so much cross-referencing, and so many reams of fussy formal language to absorb.
Today, things are different. The National Operational Guidance Programme has been working hard to put together a programme of operational guidance that ticks all the boxes, and helps us to find exactly what we need, with a simple click, to stay up-to-date with what we need to know and do.
To write guidance for our local fire services more easily, and to see things more clearly today, things are refreshingly uncomplicated. No super heavy technical content, no more information overload. Today National Operational Guidance is focused on the incidents you’re likely to encounter, and all the hazards and activities that are associated with them.
These are our control measures. These are the measures that are being devised and endorsed by teams of experts with experience from across the UK’s Fire Services and our communities.
They’ve used historical insights on past hazards risks, control measures, and lessons learnt from the incidents we’ve faced, and reinvented this wheel of operational wisdom. The result is a streamlined, super easy to search and digest, playbook and toolkit, totally up-to-date, online resource that ticks every box.
With just a click, we have a framework that brings consistency across our fire services communities, delivers new guidance clearly, and creates a one-stop shop of best practice operational policies and procedures that are aligned with our emergency service partners, tailored to our local needs, and help us train, develop and perform better.
The National Operational Guidance Programme website provides different navigation paths into the content. Brigade staff can navigate by the context (e.g. industry, transport, subsurface, height, structures and confined spaces etc.), or by the activity (e.g. firefighting, performing rescues etc.). The guidance itself provides background information and action guidance (at a strategic and tactical level).
Ideally, local fire and rescue services will tie in the NOG with their local policies and procedures. This is so that staff have a central point where they can find the information they need, efficiently and without any confusion.
One of the common problems we’ve heard from the county fire and rescue services is that their current policies try to be a bit of everything. They are a mixture of guidance notes, codes of practice, and policies. The NOG can help address some of these problems. The Fire Central Programme Office is developing a service integration tool that means local fire and rescue services will be able to avoid duplicating content that’s already in the NOG.
However, the people who are developing the policies and procedures in the fire and rescue services also need to be able to write clearly. This is why we’ve had a number of delegates from fire and rescue services on our one-day policies and procedures writing course.
See our policies and procedures writing training course web page or contact us for more information.