Fancy phrase for critiiques but more positive I think. Do your evaluations follow a specific format or agenda? Is it a wing-it and pray for no fistfights or is there sommething the dept. has in place to support a successful incident evaluation?
You know, we have done both in the past. We used to be more formal, but with some changes in the hierarchy of the department, we have gotten lax. One good side to the recent change it that we are doing more "tailboard" sessions while we still have everyone handy to talk to, and the stories haven't gotten bigger than life...yet. I would like to see a combination of both to use in the future.
tailboard sessions are great bu tose lessons should not be forgotten at the tailboard -- they should be passed on to everyone
in north hudson,m we use a standard fireground evaluation format
here is a blurb from my book on how we run our incident evals
The format the incident evaluation takes covers the following areas.
Were transmissions prioritized?
Was proper radio etiquette followed?
Were personnel on the fireground being “stepped on? Chief officers should never be stepped on.
Secure a copy of the dispatch tape. It is like the eye in the sky and can tell you a lot about how well things went in regard to communications. It also doesn’t lie. Like in football, if the referee says you were holding, you were.
Were SOPs followed?
Were there obstacles to response?
Were there any unusual circumstances and how were they addressed?
As mentioned earlier, one piece of apparatus out of position can affect the entire fireground. Improper positioning can never be brushed under the carpet.
Was freelancing an issue?
Were accountability procedures followed?
How well coordinated was the relief and rehab of companies?
Were companies broken up as a result of an injury or other unforeseeable occurrence? How was that handled?
Reinforce fireground discipline at this time. Violations of the principle of company integrity are unacceptable and cannot be tolerated at any time for any reason.
Officers discuss their positions and assignments.
What problems were encountered?
What solutions were utilized? How effective were they?
What lessons were learned from the incident?
Safety considerations; this portion is conducted by the safety officer
Was everyone wearing proper protective equipment?
Were department SOPs followed?
Was the fire attack coordinated with proper and timely support?
Did companies stay together, or was freelancing evident?
Did the operation provide for emergency firefighter egress from the interior?
Did the operation provide for emergency firefighter egress from the roof?
Were communications conducive to safe operations?
Were tools and equipment used safely and properly?
Was the RIT properly equipped and ready to be deployed?
The real value of the safety officer’s input into the evaluation is that it should be from a point of view of someone that is standing back and taking in the big picture at the fire scene. This point of view should be from a different angle than the operating companies. It should be a constructive session, aimed at improving the department’s performance from a safety standpoint. A safer operation will always translate into a better, more effective operation.
Finally, anyone, regardless of rank, who has something to say should be given a chance to talk about the incident. Allowing all players input into the evaluation process makes them more likely to buy into the process.
We also fill out a form called an After action report -- the palest ink is better than ther sharpest memory -- the form is ued at the eval and forwarded to the COD
Good stuff aa. I should have mentioned we have a form and policy, but its a bit old and not often used. I am working on improving the relay of info to all members as you mentioned. This topic and a couple of other issues in other forums have helped me put that issue high on my "to do" list. I think when I update that old form we have now, I will borrow some of your aforementioned items to add to the new one. Thanks - Jeff
Unfortunately, my department lacks a format for post incident critiques, evaluations, or whatever. Instead, it is the "wing it and pray" style. Informally, incidents get critiqued around the kitchen table by individual or small groups of companies. Having served in a vacation coverage pool my first four years with this department, what I've noticed is that people use it as an opportunity to cover their own mistakes and slag the other guy or other company. At times I couldn't even tell if they were talking about the same fire!?! When we do have post incident evaluations, nobody says anything for fear of getting embarrassed by other companies. The Deputy Chiefs hold critiques because they have to and not because they want to. They don't make it a learning experience. In fact, they would rather gossip from station to station. Post incident citiques should have a clearly defined format with clear objectives as to what is being looked for so that it doesn't devolve into he said/ she said fights. This is the most important way to make sure you get the most experience out of every fire you go to.
Your format is an interesting approach to the critique process. The department that I belong to is 100% volunteer, that at best acknowledge each other sometimes. On a company level we sort of do the tailboard discussions, but on a departmental level (if there is a discussion) it’s usually days or weeks later. How do you ensure that the evaluations take place?
DON’T be the next one, BE safe!
Check the Fire Engineering Archives for my web article called " Curbside Critiques". It illustrates the way we have come to review and pull "lessons learned" from smaller incidents. Concerning larger incidents, we require a formal post incident analysis. This takes place at the earliest opportunity after the incident at Battalion HQ. We try to have all companies at the incident attend. Audio from the incident as well as any video available is played as each company officer reports their actions, problems, thoughts for next time. Firefighters also provide their views and constructive comments about the operation. The session is moderated by the chief who commanded the incident. Our goals are pretty simple, provide a constructive forum to discuss what we did, what went well, what could have gone better, and how to improve in the future. Under this format the chief running the show has quite a bit of latitude to keep things moving and keep disention to a minimum. It may not be the most formal system in use, but it has helped us through many incidents and increased members awareness of critical issues at several fires.
Our department has not had the focus on big fires that I beleive is necessary. The tailboard talks are great, but often do not have a significant result. Our structure on post incident analysis is lacking. I have sat through sessions that did nothing but praise crews for a good stop and pass over crews that could have done better. I believe that there is something to learn from every fire, not that you should talk about every single one, but at least having a structured evaluation for certain incidents. With your permission, could I take your model, possible modify it and present it to our training chief. I can only assume that our department has a model to follow, I honestly have not looked into it, but I do know that it is not a fully structured analysis, Thanks for the time you put into this.
-We use a formal debrief and even take statements for incidents involving arson, fatalities or firefighter injuries.
-For the routine stuff we use to have more Tailboards but that seems to have gone by the wayside as well. I guess when you have the dispatcher screaming that he has more calls coming in and wants to clear companies as soon as possible or send some of them to another job there really isn't time to hang around for the tailboard.
-The real downside is that by the time shift change occurs the stories have gotten a lot better. Makes for a good cup of coffee though.
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