11. Response Policies

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National standards for emergency response policies and procedures should be developed and championed.

Many in the fire service have long argued the need for uniform response standards as a means to increase fire service operational effectiveness, and to give credibility to the observation that the fire service is a bona fide profession in the sense of education, credentialing, training, and execution. Success has been limited at best due to competing opinions from fire service organizations categorized as volunteer, combination, or career. Unification in the fire service has also been difficult due to geographic demands which drive local priorities and response policies. Unlike many other fire service systems internationally which are organized, trained, and funded at the national level, the U.S. fire service has developed into over 30,000 idiosyncratic and separate systems. Undoubtedly, this is the source of much pride, but it also has led to massive system inadequacies.

The 11th Initiative calls for a minimum set of activities that are universally recognized and understood to assure life safety at every fire—regardless of organizational composition, or geographic location. Common standards provide the added benefit of allowing multiple responding agencies to operate with similar strategic and tactical considerations, regardless of the complexity of the event.

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