Hale Fire Protection District

This manual establishes Standard Operating Procedures for Hale Fire Protection District.

Standard Operating Procedures

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Standard Operating Procedures Introduction

These are fire department-specific policies. These policies are meant to provide guidance when dealing with fire department-specific issues and situations, and to help ensure department activities are consistent, effective, efficient and safe. 

The Department shall provide for the safety, health and wellness of department members by establishing a fire department-specific policy manual and accompanying procedures. 

All fire department personnel shall follow these policies and accompanying procedures to the best of their ability. 

All members will understand and follow these policies and procedures. Officers of the department are responsible to ensure their subordinates understand and follow these policies and procedures. Officers will document and report deviations to the Fire Chief, or his/her designee, for review.


The mission of the Hale Fire Protection District is to minimize loss of life, property and the environment from fires, natural disasters, life threatening situations, and to assist other emergency agencies.

Junior Program

Under direction of a Firefighter, Lieutenant, Captain, Assistant Chief, or Chief, provides direct services, individually and as a member of a team in response to fire, rescue, hazmat and other incidents. The Junior Firefighter has not completed entry level firefighter coursework and may not be permitted to participate in structural firefighting activities which require the individual to enter or be in close proximity to the building, enclosed structure, vehicle or vessel.

Probationary Firefighters

All new recruits of the Hale Fire Protection District are subject to a minimum of a 90 Day probationary period. Each probationary member will be required to successfully complete the Entry Level Firefighter Training. Probationary members are also required to attend in-house trainings.

Active Firefighter Status

In order to remain in good standing with the Hale Fire Protection District and remain on the active roster you must attend at least one of the two trainings a month and make it to at least 50% of all calls.

Disciplinary Action

If you do not follow the SOP in this book you will be held accountable. If you do not comply to these Standard Operating Procedures the disciplinary action will be as follows.

1st Offense: Verbal warning from command staff. (Command staff will relay what happened to the Chief if not on scene)

2nd Offense: Written warning from the Chief. (Command staff will advise chief if chief is not on scene. You will receive your written warning from the chief personally)

3rd Offense: Be put back on probationary status. (Decisions made by chief and his command staff)

4th Offense: Removed from fire department active status.

Driving Requirements

State and local laws may provide certain exemptions for authorized emergency vehicles from regular traffic laws when responding on emergencies. However, neither state or local laws nor these guidelines are intended to absolve an emergency vehicle driver of the responsibility of due regard for the safety of others on the road.

Fire apparatus may only be operated by individuals meeting all of the following requirements: 

  1. Members of Hale Fire Protection.
  2. Members who have a valid driver’s license.
  3. Members who have been authorized by the Chief or Command Staff to do so.
  4. Members over the age of 18.
  5. Members who have satisfied their probationary period.

Before entering a fire station: 

  1. A Spotter should always be used when backing, if available.
  2. Consideration must be taken for the possibility of pedestrians within the fire station.

Before exiting from a fire station:

  1. The driver will ensure all apparatus compartment doors are securely closed. 
  2. All personnel are seat belted in proper locations. 
  3. Ensure apparatus bay door is raised fully and enough clearance is available to clear apparatus height. 
  4. Test brakes before entering street.

 Safe Driving: 

  1. All audible and visible warning devices shall be in operation when responding to an emergency incident. 
  2. The driver shall maintain a speed that is safe under the prevailing conditions.
  3. When approaching a controlled intersection (i.e. stop sign, traffic light): 1. The driver of an authorized emergency vehicle may proceed past a stop sign or red light only after slowing down or stopping to ascertain that the intersection is clear. 2. The driver or an authorized emergency vehicle may disregard regulations governing the direction of movement and turning in specific directions as long as he/she does not endanger life and/or property. 
  4. School zone related driving: 1. Observe the posted speed limit for school zones when children are present or when speed warning lights are flashing. 2. Fire apparatus, both emergency and non-emergency traffic shall stop for school buses loading or unloading as indicated by the buses flashing lights and/or stop sign. 
  5. Upon first unit’s arrival on an emergency scene: 1. the scene should be evaluated. 2. If the situation is not urgent, other responding units should be advised to continue to the scene “non-emergency” or disregard and return to their respective stations. 
  6. Drivers of fire apparatus shall be directly responsible for the safe and prudent operation of the vehicle at all times. 
  7. Any member of the Fire Department who is involved in an accident while responding to an incident shall remain on the scene of the accident and immediately notify the proper authorities and Fire Chief.
  8. Any member responding in a personal vehicle to Station or scene is permitted to drive 10 MPH over the posted speed limit. In order to do so the vehicle must be equipped with blue lights and an audible siren.

When backing an apparatus, a minimum of one spotter shall be at the rear of the apparatus. The spotter(s) is/are responsible for guiding the Driver and ensuring that any potential hazards are avoided. The spotter shall position themselves to have an unobstructed view and be in visual and voice/radio contact with the apparatus driver. Spotters shall not ride the tailboard while backing the apparatus. If the Driver loses visual contact with the spotter(s), the Driver shall stop the apparatus immediately. Vehicle mounted cameras or other devices are not a substitute for a spotter. In situations where assistance is not available and the apparatus must be immediately moved, the Driver shall first walk completely around the apparatus before backing to ensure no obstructions will interfere with vehicle operation.

The driver of any Fire Department vehicle or apparatus shall be directly responsible for the safe operation of the vehicle. When the driver is under the direct supervision of an officer or acting officer, that officer or acting officer shall also assume responsibility for the actions of the driver.

Drivers shall not move fire department vehicles or apparatus until all persons are seated and secured with seat belts in approved riding positions. 

All persons riding in fire department vehicles or apparatus shall be seated and secured by seat belts or safety harnesses at any time the vehicle is in motion. Riding on tail boards, side steps, running boards, or in any other exposed positions, or standing while riding shall be specifically prohibited.

Department members are exempt from wearing seat belts while actively performing emergency medical care while the vehicle is in motion, where requirements to be seated and restrained with seat belts would jeopardize patient care. The driver shall take extraordinary precaution in recognition of the additional danger that exists while driving with unrestrained member(s). All other persons in the vehicle shall be seated and restrained with seat belts in approved riding positions while the vehicle is in motion.

Incident Command System

Driving Requirements

Command procedures are designed to offer a practical framework for emergency operations and to effectively integrate the efforts of all members, officers, and firefighters. This will facilitate an organized and orderly tactical operation and a more effective effort. Those who function in command staff positions shall train further to the advanced ICS levels.

 The Incident Commander (IC) is responsible for managing and/or controlling resources by virtue of explicit legal, agency, or delegated authority. The individual responsible for the overall management of the response is called the Incident Commander. 

The IC is responsible for all aspects for the response, including developing incident objectives and managing all incident operations both written and verbal. The IC sets priorities and defines the ICS organization for the particular response. Even if other positions are not assigned, the IC will always be designated. 

The IC is faced with many responsibilities when he/she arrives on scene. Unless specifically assigned to another member of the Command or General Staffs, these responsibilities remain with the IC. Responsibilities of Command:

  1. Stabilize the incident and provide for life safety 
  2. Conservation of property 
  3. Conservation of environment
  4. Remove endangered occupants and treat injured 
  5. Assure the safety and welfare of department personnel

Function of Command:

  1. Assume Command 
  2. Size up the incident
  3. Evaluate Conditions 
  4. Develop a plan
  5. Assign units
  6. Provide continuing command
  7. Request additional units 
  8. Disregard and return units to service
  9. Terminate Command 

The first member of Command to arrive on scene is the IC. This will either be the Chief or Assistant/Battalion Chief. THE INITIAL INCIDENT COMMANDER SHALL REMAIN IN COMMAND UNTIL COMMAND IS TRANSFERRED OR THE INCIDENT/COMMAND IS TERMINATED.

The member or unit establishing command initiates the command process with an initial radio report. The initial radio report shall contain the following: 

  1. Identify unit arriving on the scene
  2. Give a brief description of the incident. 
  3. State any safety concerns
  4. Establish and name command based on location

This standard establishes schedule for the inspection and maintenance of all apparatus and equipment owned or operated by the department. It ensures that emergency response vehicles are maintained in a constant state of readiness. It implements a preventative maintenance schedule for all apparatus and establishes procedures for the daily inspection of apparatus, equipment, and support vehicles.

  1. Apparatus and equipment shall be:
    1. Maintained in a constant state of readiness.
    2. Refueled whenever the fuel level drops below ½ of a tank. Oil and ancillary fluid reservoirs shall also be kept full at all times.
    3. Kept clean at all times.
  2. All maintenance, both preventative and repair, shall be recorded in the appropriate vehicle logbook.
  1. Every vehicle used shall be inspected. The member performing the inspection shall record his findings in the appropriate vehicle logbook.
  2. The member performing the inspection shall correct the defects that are found provided that the member has the expertise, tools, and supplies to do so. The items that are corrected shall be noted in the comments section of the vehicle logbook.
  3. Defects that cannot immediately be corrected shall be noted in the vehicle logbook and reported to the Chief or Officer in Charge.
  4. If a defect requires that a vehicle be placed out of service, the person doing the Inspection shall notify the Chief or Officer in Charge.
  1. All apparatus and equipment used shall be inspected. The member performing the inspection shall record his findings in the appropriate vehicle logbook.
  2. Refueled whenever the fuel level drops below ½ of a tank. Oil and ancillary fluid reservoirs shall also be kept full at all times.
  3. All engine-powered equipment shall be run for a minimum of five minutes. Their fuel tanks shall be refilled whenever the level drops below ¾ of a tank. The oil will be checked and oil shall be added if necessary.


A reliable communications system is essential to obtain information on emergencies, and to direct and control our resources responding to those situations. A department’s communication system can set the stage for efficient actions and improve effectiveness of tasks being performed on emergency scenes. 

General Communication Guidelines 

  1. Any time you go in route, arrive on scene, or clear a call you must advise dispatch. 
  2. (Example: Hale Fire 405 , is en route to .”) 
  3. Be sure the receiver is ready to receive the transmission, make sure the message is acknowledged once the message has been sent. A brief repeat of the message is far better than just a ”COPY”. Repeating briefly what has been said lets the sender know the message has been received correctly.
  4. Know what you are going to say before transmitting. Choose terms that communicate the desired message clearly without wasting air time. Per NIMS all radio traffic is to be done in a “common English” fashion, and try to control your emotions to prevent garbled transmissions.
  5. Orders given over the radio should tell you what to do, not necessarily how to do it.
  6. DO NOT interfere with other transmissions unless you have Emergency Traffic.

Structure Fires

  1. The Officer will provide a scene size-up, assume command, and develop a fire suppression plan 
  2. The Officer will complete a 360 degree viewing of the structure to determine number of stories, type of structure, what is showing, location of problem, exposures, what is burning, where it is going, and the need for additional resources 
  3. The Officer will ensure that a proper communication system has been coordinated for fire ground activities
  1. There shall be at least 2 personnel on any interior attack hose-line.
  2. There shall be at least 2 personnel on any interior search and rescue.
  3. Personnel must be authorized and properly trained before participating in any interior structural fire attack or search and rescue operations.
  1. Human life is the most important consideration at a fire or other emergency.
  2. Rescue of humans override all other strategic considerations at a fire.
  3. The primary functions of an adequately staffed truck (if available) shall be rescue.
  4. A primary and secondary search shall be conducted at all structure fires. During search all rooms should be marked by some means to indicate that the particular room has been searched.
  1. Exposure protection is the strategy of preventing a fire from spreading to the uninvolved building(s) or in involved parts of the fire building. 
  2. The Incident Commander shall be responsible for ensuring the initial protection of exposures and assigning teams appropriately.
  1. The strategy of confinement means preventing the fire from extending to uninvolved sections of the building.
  2. Whenever possible, the most effective method of confining fire spread is a direct attack on the fire. 
  3. The Incident Commander shall decide whether to make an offensive approach, aggressive interior attack, or a defensive approach, attacking the fire from the outside. There maybe situations when both approaches could be used, but a defensive attack should not be used when crews are operating on the interior. 
  4. All avenues of fire spread must be considered examples: shafts, openings, utility raceways, ducts etc. 
  5. Where fires involve concealed spaces (attic, ceilings, construction voids, etc.) it becomes very important that the vent crews open up and fire attacks operate fire streams into such areas.
  1. In most fire situations a quick and aggressive attack on the seat of the fire will take care of rescue, exposures, and confinement at the same time.
  2. The size-up will provide information as to techniques, equipment and manpower needs to overcome the fire.
  1. The purpose of overhaul is to make sure the fire is completely out. 
  2. Overhaul operations must be properly coordinated with fire investigation efforts.
  3. Unsafe conditions should be identified early in the overhaul process and definite efforts made to avoid the possible problems associated with the same. 
  4. During overhaul most fire fighters are more relaxed, tired, perhaps less alert and thus more apt to get injured.
  5. Personnel should not remove their breathing apparatus until the area is completely cleared of toxic gases.
  6. When available, a fresh crew should perform overhaul.
  7. Particular attention should be given to hidden areas during overhaul.
  8. During overhaul care should be given to protect personnel from exposure to carbon monoxide and other by products of combustion.
  1. Based upon the situation, ventilation may need to occur anytime during the operation.
  2. Ventilation shall be employed to: 1. Channel heat, smoke and flames from potential victims. 2. To prevent backdraft and flashover.
  3. To remove heat and smoke from the building so to reduce property damage.
  4. To allow the interior of the structure to be more tenable and safer for firefighting operations.
  1. Salvage may need to begin at various points during a fire operation. 
  2. Salvage is those operations required to safe guard personal property, furnishings, and the unaffected portions of a structure from the effects of heat, smoke, fire and the weather.
  3. Salvage should include: 
    1. The use of salvage covers.
    2. Removing water from the structure. 
    3. Removing furniture and personal belongings to a safe location. 
    4. Debris removal.
    5. Removal of valuables from debris. 
    6. Covering openings to keep weather out and to secure the building. 

All members are expected to perform in a manner that continually reduces loss during fire operations.


  1. Utilities should be shut down and brought under control to ensure that they will not contribute to the fires spread, overall damage or create any type of safety hazard.
  2. At structure fires where electrical involvement or damage has occurred, request via radio the response of the proper electric company.
  3. If the electric company is not available in time, fire personnel may shutdown the power via circuit breakers.
  4. If necessary, shut down gas lines at the meter and have the Gas Department notified. Meters that have been shut off by fire department personnel should be properly locked.
  5. If necessary, shut down water supplies to the structure at the valve closest to the point of usage

Vehicle Fires

  1. The Driver Operator will position the apparatus in a way that will provide the best protection for the crew during fire suppression activities
  2. The driver operator will engage the pump and stand by the pump panel for further instructions
  3. The Officer will provide a scene size-up, assume command, and develop a fire suppression plan
  1. Ensure that unauthorized/untrained personnel do not enter the hazardous area
  2. See HAZMAT procedures for vehicle fires involving Hazardous Materials
  3. Traffic Hazards
  1. The attack team will pull the hose line instructed by the Officer
  2. Additional firefighters will do as instructed by the officer 
  3. The driver/operator will charge the hose line when directed and continue to monitor the pump operations
  4. The attack team will approach the vehicle slowly from the side extinguishing the fire as they approach. Caution should be taken as the team approached for exploding bumpers, fuel tanks, tires, etc. 
  5. When the fire is under control the engine compartment and trunk of the vehicle on fire will be opened and cooled. The vehicles battery cables should be disconnected or cut when possible.

Vehicle Accidents

  1. The Driver Operator will position the apparatus in a way that will provide the best protection for the crew during rescue and operation activities
  2. The Officer will provide a scene size-up, assume command, determine type of incident, number of vehicles involved, extent of damage to vehicles involved, extent of injuries, and if extrication is needed C. The Officer will request additional resources as needed (EMS, MedFlight)
  1. Ensure that unauthorized/untrained personnel do not enter the hazardous area 
  2. Provide High Visibility PPE and other safety measures for Traffic Hazards

Incident Actions Command will assign teams as needed for:

  • Fire and Hazard Control
  • Extrication
  • Patient Care
  • Landing Zone
  • Traffic Control

Wildland Fires

  1. The Officer will provide a scene size-up, assume command, and develop a fire suppression plan
  2. The Officer will determine the location and size of the fire, direction and characteristics of fire travel, the fuel burning, and exposures 
  3. The Officer will request additional resources as needed 
  4. The Driver/Operator will park the apparatus in a safe, accessible location pointing away from the fire with the windows closed and the keys in the ignition
  5. Consider evacuations of citizens
  1. All personnel should know the location and direction of the fire travel 
  2. Escape Plans shall be known to hall fire personnel
  3. Be cautious for Spot fires
  4. Be cautious for Flare-ups 
  5. Be aware of wind direction and velocity 
  6. Be aware of topography
  7. Monitor crews for exhaustion 
  8. Be aware of down wires, electric fences, etc. 
  9. Be aware of equipment and personnel working above or around teams
  1. Base all actions and strategy on current and expected fire behavior
  2. Establish staging area for additional arriving apparatus and personnel
  3. Life safety and structural protection take priority over extinguishment of forest, brush, or ground cover 
  4. If offensive attack is indicated, the head of the fire is to be attacked first. If that is not possible, the flanks should be attacked while working toward the head of the fire.
  5. If the fire is large and fast moving, then a direct attack may not be possible. In such cases, an indirect and/or parallel attack may be utilized by creating a fire line a distance ahead of the fire to halt the progress of the fire. 
  6. Different methods of attack may be used simultaneously according to the situation
  7. Teams assigned to structural protection must keep hose lines flexible enough to be able to quickly break away in the event of being over run 
  8. Collaborate with the DNR, County Officials, and specialists/technicians as needed I. Communications and accountability of all incident personnel shall be maintained at all times

Social Media

Recent current events have shown the ease at which sensitive or private information may be spread worldwide via electronic means and the internet in general. Something that may seem rather routine to us as the fire service may bring tremendous personal pain, anguish, and disgust to those not closely involved with our profession. In order to avoid serious damage to our reputations and to protect the privacy of those we serve: 

Personnel shall not use any personally owned devices to photograph, document, or record any emergency scene/incident while on-duty and in attendance as members of the Fire Department at those scenes. For the purposes of this policy, personally owned devices include but are not limited to: film cameras; digital cameras; video recording cameras and devices, cell phones and cell phone cameras. 

Personnel may photograph, document, or record emergency scenes utilizing department owned devices with proper authorization from the Fire Chief or Incident Commander of the scene. Any electronic media documenting the incident such as digital pictures, video or other records of the incident that are collected by any member of the department in this manner are and shall remain property of the department.

Such electronic media and/or other documentation shall be for internal, investigative or training uses and shall not be transmitted by any means outside the department unless expressly authorized by the Fire Chief or their designee. The Fire Investigator is authorized to transmit this type of information outside the department in association with an ongoing fire investigations as may be necessary as part of the fire investigation process.

Fire department operations allow us access to situations, investigations and crime scenes from which the media and press may be excluded due to operational, safety, or investigative reasons. As such, electronic media, information, and pictures gathered at emergency/incident scenes must be strictly controlled to be in accordance with HIPPA and other regulations so as not to jeopardize patient confidentiality; fire, accident or crime scene investigations; or shine an unprofessional light on the department. Members who violate this policy will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including suspension from the department.

Equal Opportunity, Discrimination, and Harassment

The Hale Fire Protection District will maintain a policy of non-discrimination with regard to all personnel and applicants for employment and membership. Hale Fire Protection District prohibits, forbids, and does not tolerate discrimination against anyone on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, national origin, veteran status, disability or any other basis prohibited by applicable federal, state or local laws. All aspects of employment and membership within. Hale Fire Protection District will be governed on the basis of merit, competence, and qualifications. All members and applicants are guaranteed equal opportunities. 

The most productive and satisfying work environment is one in which work is accomplished in a spirit of mutual trust and respect. Harassment is a form of discrimination that is offensive, impairs morale, undermines the integrity of employment relationships and causes serious harm to the productivity, efficiency and stability of our organization. The Hale Fire Protection District does not now, nor will ever endorse or condone any form of discrimination or harassment by any members. All employees have a right to work in an environment free from discrimination and harassing conduct, including sexual harassment. Harassment on the basis of an employee's race, color, creed, ancestry, national origin, age, disability, sex, arrest or conviction record, marital status, sexual orientation, membership in the military reserve or use or nonuse of lawful products away from work is expressly prohibited under this policy. 

DEFINITION: In general, harassment means persistent and unwelcome conduct or actions on any of the bases underlined above. Sexual harassment is one type of harassment and includes unwelcome sexual advances, unwelcome physical contact of a sexual nature or unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. 

Unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature includes, but is not limited to:

  • The repeated making of unsolicited, inappropriate gestures or comments;
  • The display of offensive sexually graphic materials not necessary for our work.


Harassment on any basis (race, sex, age, disability, etc.) exists whenever:

  • Submission to harassing conduct is made, either explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of an individual's employment.
  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for an employment decision affecting an individual.
  • The conduct interferes with an employee's work or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.

Discrimination or harassment may be subtle, manipulative and is not always evident. It does not refer to occasional compliments of a socially acceptable nature. It refers to behavior that is not welcome and is personally offensive. All forms of gender harassment are covered. Men can be sexually harassed; men can harass men; Women can harass other women. Offenders can be fellow co-workers, Officers, Chiefs, and others. 

Some examples: Verbal: Jokes, insults and innuendoes (based on race, sex, age, disability, etc.), degrading sexual remarks, referring to someone as a stud, hunk or babe; whistling; cat calls; comments on a person’s body or sex life, or pressures for sexual favors

Non-Verbal: Gestures, staring, touching, hugging, patting, blocking a person's movement, standing too close, brushing against a person's body, or display of sexually suggestive or degrading pictures, racist or other derogatory cartoons or drawings.

Any member or employee who believes he or she is being discriminated against or harassed, or any member or employee, who becomes aware of discrimination or harassment, should promptly notify his or her Officer or the Fire Chief. If the individual believes that the Officer is the harasser, another Officer or the Fire Chief should be notified.

Firefighter Code of Ethics

I understand that I have the responsibility to conduct myself in a manner that reflects proper ethical behavior and integrity. In so doing, I will help foster a continuing positive public perception of the fire service. Therefore, I pledge the following…

  • Always conduct myself, on and off duty, in a manner that reflects positively on myself, my department and the fire service in general.
  • Accept responsibility for my actions and for the consequences of my actions. 
  • Support the concept of fairness and the value of diverse thoughts and opinions.
  • Avoid situations that would adversely affect the credibility or public perception of the fire service profession. 
  • Be truthful and honest at all times and report instances of cheating or other dishonest acts that compromise the integrity of the fire service. 
  • Conduct my personal affairs in a manner that does not improperly influence the performance of my duties, or bring discredit to my organization. 
  • Be respectful and conscious of each member’s safety and welfare. 
  • Recognize that I serve in a position of public trust that requires stewardship in the honest and efficient use of publicly owned resources, including uniforms, facilities, vehicles and equipment and that these are protected from misuse and theft. 
  • Exercise professionalism, competence, respect and loyalty in the performance of my duties and use information, confidential or otherwise, gained by virtue of my position, only to benefit those I am entrusted to serve.
  • Avoid financial investments, outside employment, outside business interests or activities that conflict with or are enhanced by my official position or have the potential to create the perception of impropriety. 
  • Never propose or accept personal rewards, special privileges, benefits, advancement, honors or gifts that may create a conflict of interest, or the appearance thereof. 
  • Never engage in activities involving alcohol or other substance use or abuse that can impair my mental state or the performance of my duties and compromise safety. 
  • Never discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, creed, age, marital status, national origin, ancestry, gender, sexual preference, medical condition or handicap.
  • Never harass, intimidate or threaten fellow members of the service or the public and stop or report the actions of other firefighters who engage in such behaviors. 
  • Responsibly use social networking, electronic communications, or other media technology opportunities in a manner that does not discredit, dishonor or embarrass my organization, the fire service and the public. I also understand that failure to resolve or report inappropriate use of this media equates to condoning this behavior.
Standard operating procedure

* Active Hale Fire Department Firefighters have read and agreed to adhere to these Standard Operating Procedures.

** Standard Operating Procedures are subject to changes and/or modifications.

Standard operating procedure

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