Fire Prevention Standard Operating Guidelines

Fire Prevention Standard Operating Guidelines

Columbia Southern University

Fire Prevention Standard Operating Guidelines

Subject: Recordkeeping Number: 001.2018
Effective Date: 04/11/2018 Revised: 04/13/2018

4.0 Maintenance

  • Introduction
  • Rockledge Fire Prevention Department and its Fire Prevention Officer are committed to ensure the highest level of fire safety and property protection allowing citizens, visitors, and investors to feel safe and protected within the community. This goal is accomplished through different activities, such as inspections, incident investigations, and tests, just to mention some of them. All the actions conducted by the department have to be properly documented and these documents have to be maintained, stored, managed, and disposed. This is an activity as much important as the others conducted and the main purpose of this Standard Operating Guidelines (SOG) is to warrant the accuracy of recordkeeping for the Rockledge Fire Prevention Department. This policy will ensure that the Department is in compliance with the local, state, and federal laws regarding recordkeeping of public records. It is important to highlight that public record not necessary means a record accessible to the public; therefore, the purpose of this SOG is to address this important part also. Finally, these guidelines will address proper training on the topic regulated and will adhere to the following department mission statement.
    • Mission Statement
    • The Rockledge Fire Prevention Department is committed to serving the Rockledge area community with the highest practical level of life and property protection. The Department will achieve this goal by providing excellent and compassionate service in an atmosphere that encourages innovation, diversity, and professional development. The mission of the Fire Prevention Department is to protect lives and property of the people of Rockledge from fires, natural disasters, and hazardous material incidents; lives are saved by providing emergency medical services; fire are prevented through inspections, tests, educational programs, and appropriate recordkeeping. The Rockledge Fire Prevention Department is made up of a group of dedicated personnel that represent the diversity of the community. These persons work every day to improve the quality of service provided to the community (Rockledge Fire Department, 2008).
  • Objectives
  • This operating procedure will enter in effect on the date indicated in the chart at the beginning of the document and it will affect all the records across the department. The primary responsibility of recordkeeping, according with this policy, will relapse on the bureau crew specifically hired for this task but it is not limited only to them, since it is responsibility of all department personnel to cooperate with them. In this document special attention is dedicated to the following main objectives:
    • Inspection records
    • These records consist in fire inspection reports containing findings, logs, summaries, corrective actions and its implementation. This type of documents shall be retained for at least 4 calendar years after the inspection (State of Florida, 2015).
    • Incidents records
    • These records consist in documents regarding incidents or unusual occurrence involving fires happened at public facilities, commercial, or residential properties. The records shall include incident reports, witness statements if any, pictures, sketches, and eventual follow-up investigations. The files should also contain records of alarm malfunctions, security breaches, hostile actions by employees or publics, suspicious person, maintenance issues that led to the fire incident, and any other circumstance that could had developed the fire. This type of records shall be maintained for 4 anniversary years from the date of the accident and may not be disclosed to the public since they can contain sensitive and private information.
    • Testing records
    • This archive contain documents on fire tests conducted on private and commercial buildings. The tests provide measure of fire response on fire prevention elements present in the buildings, such as smoke detectors, sprinklers, acoustics alarms, or exit signs. Other elements tested can be measurement of the transmission of the heat and walls, partitions, and roof tests.
    • These records should be maintained for four years from the date the test has been conducted (ASTM International, 2018).
    • Re-testing
    • This activity is performed once the first test failed. In this case a timeframe is granted to resolve the issue and a second test need to be performed to ensure that the concern has been resolved.
    • This documentation shall be maintained on file for four years.
    • Re-inspections
    • Re-inspections are performed once the first inspection identified some findings that needed to be fixed. In this case the inspectors allow time to resolve the issue. This time will be granted in accordance with the type and seriousness of the problem. These activities have to be recorded and the documentation shall to be maintained on file for four years.
  • Storage
  • Document storage is an essential element of recordkeeping since storing records in the proper way will avoid loss of data that can lead in criminal charges. All the records produced by the department have to be stored to ensure readily access as needed and it is necessary to choose the most adequate storage system to warrant efficiency, effectiveness, and sustainability (Diamantes, 2016). The documents have to be organized by type, year, and topic. The first necessary step is to identify the documents by type dividing them in sensitive, confidential, and general records, therefore, three types of main archive will be necessary. Each one of these three type of files can be stored in two different ways, manually, or in paper copies, and electronically; both ways have advantages and disadvantages. The main benefit of storing documents manually, keeping the paper copies of each inspection, investigation, or tests is that they are always available even when there is no power. Another advantage of keeping paper copies of documents is that they cannot be corrupted or hacked. On the other hand, a disadvantage is that manual storage requires space and personnel according with the volume of files generated. Another negative aspect of the paper documents is that they have to be protected from destruction that could happen due to fires or flooding. As mentioned, the other way to store documents is electronically, using computers and pertinent programs. This way to maintain archive require a more expensive initial investment because is necessary to buy computers and programs that suit the needs of the department, but on the long run it can result cheaper than the other system. The biggest advantage of storing documents electronically is the space. Storing documents electronically does not require too much space, only a computer with enough memory is essential. A disadvantage of electronic storage is the vulnerability to hackers which is a main concern nowadays, thus, is necessary to invest in cybersecurity.
  • Rockledge Fire Prevention Department generate a medium volume of documents and the way to store documents that best fits the department is electronically.
    • Sensitive Security Documents
    • These type of documents contain information that are sensitive in nature and they cannot be disclosed to the general public. Generally, they can be available for official use only and they cannot be reproduced. They are governed by U.S.C. 552 and 49 CFR part 15 and 1520. Example of sensitive documents can be ongoing investigations, medical records, and crimes. Our department will treat these documents in accordance with the rules above mentioned.
    • General Documents
    • These files are open to the public and they can be viewed and reproduced as necessary. A log in sheet will be compiled to track who requested the document and the type of request (view only or view and copy). Reproduction is allowed upon the payment of the established fees.
    • Responsibility
    • The responsibility to store properly all the department’s documents is to ensure privacy, compliance with the law, and effective service to the citizens. A crew of four people properly identified has been created for this purpose and on them lays the primary responsibility to maintain and to store the documents. However, all management is ultimately responsible of this task.
    Prepared/submitted by: Gennaro Saliceto, Fire Prevention Officer Approved by: Prof. Scott Avery

    References

      • The maintenance of all stored documents is a vital aspect of recordkeeping and information management systems. Rockledge Fire Prevention Office, hired four civilian individuals that are responsible for all the aspect of recordkeeping, including maintenance. All the documents will be maintained in accordance with the local, state, and federal rules and regulation and they will be maintained as explained in this SOG section 2.0 and 3.0. All the files will be maintained electronically and a backup system has been established to avoid loss of data. The department also hired a cybersecurity expert that will monitor eventual hacking attempts.
      • Disposal
      • Once a document reaches its expiration for retention, it will be destroyed and removed from the archive. In case of paper copies, those will be shredded and the remained parts will be secured for disposal in proper containers.
      • Training
      • All personnel with direct responsibility on recordkeeping will receive appropriate training on how to manage, store, maintain, and dispose documents. Special attention will be dedicated to the management of sensitive and confidential documents. All others employees will also receive a short instruction in recordkeeping.

    ASTM International (2018). Standard Test Methods for Fire Tests of Building Construction and Materials. ASTM E119. Retrieved from https://www.astm.org/Standards/E119

    City of Rockledge (2008). Fire Department Mission Statement. Retrieved form the Rockledge Fire Department.

    David Diamantes (2016). Principles of fire prevention (updated 3rd Ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

    Federal Emergency Management Agency (1999). U.S. Fire Administration. Guide to Developing Effective Standard Operating Procedures for Fire and EMS Departments. Retrieved from https://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/publications/fa-197-508.pdf

    Michael D. Duncan, Sally R. Littau, Margaret Kurzius-Spencer, and Jefferey L. Burgess, and Mel and Enid Zuckerman (2012). Development of Best Practice Standard Operating Procedures for Prevention of Fireground Injuries. Retrieved from CSU Online Library

    State of Florida (2015). Department of State Division of Library and Information Services. General Records Schedule GS1-SL for State and Local Government Agencies. Retrieved from http://dos.myflorida.com/media/693574/general-records-schedulegs01-sl.pdf