Thread: SOP's vs SOG's

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    Default SOP's vs SOG's

    We have been discussing legal aspects of the SOP's vs SOG's. I need some input on "a rose by any other name" in court- how does changing the name of SOP to SOG, cover you in court. I have heard and read that the SOG gives you some ability to deviate if the circumstances allow, but ultimatly you are still responsible in court. Any comments are appreciated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BPFiremedic View Post
    We have been discussing legal aspects of the SOP's vs SOG's. I need some input on "a rose by any other name" in court- how does changing the name of SOP to SOG, cover you in court. I have heard and read that the SOG gives you some ability to deviate if the circumstances allow, but ultimatly you are still responsible in court. Any comments are appreciated.
    It doesn't matter what you call it.

    Anyone can sue, for any reason, anytime.

    Best bet is to develop realistic policies/guidelines based on good solid firefighting knowledge, common practices and any standards you can latch on to, and then follow them.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

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    A guideline is defined as a indication or outline of policy and a procedure is a tradition way of doing things. Neither one really states anything that I would think would change the legality of it. I would say if you stated specific NFPA regulations in it that may help you but I am not that involved with the legal aspect of it all.

    I agree with the anyone can sue for any reason at any time, it is all in documentation and records and some evidence of how you have done whatever is in question.

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    Cool Sog/sop

    My understanding is that just like it says in the name, a SOG is a guideline on how you "can or should" operate. Opposed to a SOP, which states "this is how you will" do it.

    SOGs appear to be more flexible... However, if your Department says that your SOGs are your Policies then it is "six in one, half dozen in another."

    As far as legally, any action is going to be compared in Court to what is standard in that region, state, the National Standard (NFPA and such) and what is prudent and what would be done in the situation based on professional training/experience and if another person would perform in a similar way.

    There's a technical terms for the last part of my above paragraph but I can't recall it.....
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    Quote Originally Posted by BPFiremedic View Post
    We have been discussing legal aspects of the SOP's vs SOG's.
    There are none.

    What matters is what they say; not what you call them.

    Any SOP/SOG/Doesn'tMakeAnyFDifference should be constructed to make it clear if it is a mandatory or suggested policy statement.

    If a particular SOP/SOG says that you SHALL do something (i.e. all passengers shall be seatbelted with seltbelts fastened at any time while the apparatus is in motion) then you'd damned well better be sure that it always happens that way.

    If a particular SOP/SOG says that you SHOULD do something (i.e. the first arriving engine should establish a water supply if smoke or fire is visible from a structure or water flow is evident from a sprinkler system) then you'd better document why the first arriving chose a different tactic during the incident debriefing.

    Calling your collection of standing orders "SOPs" versus "SOGs" makes no difference by itself whatsoever.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeyboy View Post
    My understanding is that just like it says in the name, a SOG is a guideline on how you "can or should" operate. Opposed to a SOP, which states "this is how you will" do it.

    SOGs appear to be more flexible... However, if your Department says that your SOGs are your Policies then it is "six in one, half dozen in another."

    As far as legally, any action is going to be compared in Court to what is standard in that region, state, the National Standard (NFPA and such) and what is prudent and what would be done in the situation based on professional training/experience and if another person would perform in a similar way.

    There's a technical terms for the last part of my above paragraph but I can't recall it.....
    I believe the technical term is standard of care, to which the trier of fact will determine if the person who had a duty to care proceeded with such reasonable caution that another prudent man would have exercised under the same circumstances. In the situation of a specific profession, the control subject (the person to whom the person under scrutiny is being compared) would be a reasonable and prudent man of the same profession, which would be defined by the standards/regulations/policies/guidelines/etc. that govern how that person should act.

    It is understood that not all guidelines, procedures, policies, etc. can be followed absolutely all the time; deviations are sometimes necessary. But when a person deviates from a guideline, procedure, or policy, it is up to the trier of fact to determine if another reasonable and prudent person in the same profession would also have made the same deviation under the same circumstances.
    Last edited by JJR512; 11-27-2010 at 05:40 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeyboy View Post
    My understanding is that just like it says in the name, a SOG is a guideline on how you "can or should" operate. Opposed to a SOP, which states "this is how you will" do it.

    SOGs appear to be more flexible... However, if your Department says that your SOGs are your Policies then it is "six in one, half dozen in another."

    As far as legally, any action is going to be compared in Court to what is standard in that region, state, the National Standard (NFPA and such) and what is prudent and what would be done in the situation based on professional training/experience and if another person would perform in a similar way.

    There's a technical terms for the last part of my above paragraph but I can't recall it.....
    In terms of department-level operations, including management issues, it's called the industry standard.

    Basically it looks at the training, operational and managerial policies of a department and compares them to departments of similar size and composition, as well as any applicable standards or regulations.

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    Cool Correct...

    Yeah, that's what they are called... Standard of Care for medical issues and the Industry Standard is what we are compared to on the rest of our Job.

    Thanks Guys...

    Base your SOP/SOGs on these; what the Feds are training, what the State is training, the Standard of Care established by your Medical Authority and the Industry Standard. By doing this, you should get some pretty solid Policies/Guidelines.
    "Be LOUD, Be PROUD..... It just might save your can someday when goin' through an intersection!!!!!"

    Life on the Truck (Quint) is good.....

    Eat til you're sleepy..... Sleep til you're hungry..... And repeat.....

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