Ah, Politics. “Politics (from Greek: πολιτικός politikos, definition "of, for, or relating to citizens") is the practice and theory of influencing other people. More narrowly, it refers to achieving and exercising positions of governance — organized control over a human community, particularly a state. Furthermore, politics is the study or practice of the distribution of power and resources within a given community (a usually hierarchically organized population) as well as the interrelationship(s) between communities.”
When the At the Ready team first discussed dipping our toes into the policies and politics of emergency services we had to take a pause. First Responders cross ALL political, religious, and international boundaries to assist those in need. So, where are all the politics coming from? Everyone recognizes the need for a well trained and equipped emergency response system for every community… right?
We can acknowledge that any operation without rules are ineffective and often costly. Neighboring departments do things differently, different specialties have different training and focus, and some departments have more cooperation and funding than others. We would be dishonest if we glossed over the fact that these differences are driven by decisions made, many at the very smallest levels of emergency services. And the decisions behind these differences are all made by people. Often with very narrow swim lanes to protect from encroachment.
A quick search uncovered lots of guidance for developing policies to ensure a legally sound organization. These guides cover the federal, state, and even local levels of government agencies. This includes FEMA, and New York State's Department of Health.