How comes a Standard Operation Procedure about?
A Standard Operation Procedure is a procedure that describes how to intervene in case of a certain incident to limit the risk as much as possible for the people involved and the emergency services. Yet, each incident is different, depending on the environment and the circumstances. SOPs should therefore be considered as a best practice commanders can deviate from after the assessment of each incident.
A SOP comes about in different phases:
The existing Standard Operation Procedures are developed by fire experts who work for the Centre of Expertise for the Civil Security. These fire experts act as the pilot and draw up an action plan in this framework, they appoint a working group of minimum six experts in this theme and they develop certain SOPs in co-operation and consensus with this working group.
2. Test phase
After a temporary approval of a Standard Operation Procedure by the Validation Committee, it passes through a test phase. After all, the most important thing is that a SOP corresponds to the reality of the field, that is meets the most recent intervention techniques and that it is sufficiently flexible for the application of the SOP in both a rural and an urban environment in the entire country.
After the publication of a SOP on this website, it is tested by different emergency rescue zones in Belgium. Testing and assessing a SOP in a realistic situation by at least two emergency rescue zones is the strict minimum. They can transfer their remarks on the basis of their findings to the Centre of Expertise for the Civil Security after which the pilot of the project can adapt the SOP with the help of his working group.
3. Best practice
After a test phase in at least two emergency rescue zones, a Standard Operation Procedure can be “definitively” validated by the Validation Committee and then the SOP is considered to be a best practice. Emergency rescue zones can use it if they want to. Nonetheless, SOPs are not a regulation and therefore don’t need to be applied obligatory.
When it proves, after acquiring new insights on the subject or evolutions in the domain, that the SOP can still be improved after the test phase, this can off course be done by contacting the Centre of Expertise for the Civil Security.
4. Training, practice and exercise
As soon as a Standard Operation Procedure has become a best practice, trainings and exercise cards can be linked to it to prepare the relief workers even better for certain interventions. If needed, the necessary specialized equipment can be bought as well, to be able to optimally execute certain interventions.
Contact the Centre of Expertise for the Civil Security
You can contact the Centre of Expertise for the Civil Security through the contact form . Mention as the subject “standard operational procedures”:
- for remarks regarding published Standard Operation Procedures.
- to propose yourself the development of a certain SOP.
Each constructive remark to improve our SOPs will be examined and included in the new version.