1. #1
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    Default Report Writing Training

    Does anyone have any good programs/books/videos to recommend or provide on effective fire incident reporting or first-in observation reports? Trying to make a more effective training for our company and command staff officers in the oh-so-favorite art of "paperwork!" Thanks for any recommendations.
    -Mitch Nolze
    www.swrfa.org


    "I have no ambition in this world but one, and that is to be a fireman. The position may, in the eyes of some, appear to be a lowly one; but we who know the work which the fireman has to do believe that his is a noble calling. Our proudest moment is to save lives." ~Edward F. Croker

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    If you were not at the scene ------- what would you want to know - and how would you want the info presented ? Go from there
    ?

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    There are many scanner audio feeds from all over the country - seek them out and listen for a while.

    East Podunk County may not have much traffic, but many others do. Because my son is in the area, I occasionally listen to Harve's world (PG County).

    That said - what SJY said - for the first due report, paint a picture.

    "Two and one half story frame residential, 30' x 40', fire out windows on the second floor, A and B sides, smoke pushing from the eaves. Exposure A is the street, exposure B is another 2.5 story residential, exposure C is the back yard, exposure D is an empty lot."

    Anybody not able to visualize what we've got here?

    Some jurisdictions include water supply, and other pertinant factors, some give less than my sample, but still enough to get an idea of what's going on.

    All of this requires that your folks know basic building construction and types - not always a given. Part of your training can be standardized terminology.

    There are plenty of videos and images on-line of fires. Show them to your group and ask them to do a size-up report based on what they see. I'm sure that the group will have some great discussions as they critique their classmates offerings.

    We had an instructor from MFRI who was giving a daytime class in the area and he offered to do an evening session for us (to kill one of his otherwise empty evenings) - it was well attended and well received, with plenty of group participation. He discussed size-up.

    For writing reports, the same is true - paint a picture. Also remember the truism: If you didn't write it down, it didn't happen. Probably the biggest challenge these days is the spelling, grammar and syntax (or lack thereof) resulting from extensive use of social media.

    I Googled "effective writing" and found lots of resources like this one.

    "Drill" for writing reports might be providing a synopsis of an incident, and/or using an actual incident they are familiar with, then somehow critiquing those reports.

    Being a grammar nazi for such critiques is not a bad thing...
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

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    I'm confused. Are you looking for how to do a better size-up, or how to write a better post-incident report? The size-up of the first-in unit is more then just 'paperwork' and sets the tone and direction for the entire incident. There's more to it then just effective writing.

    For post incident reports we're luck in that the Dispatcher's notes get dumped into Firehouse. This helps jog the memory when we go to add our own narrative. It basically comes down to 'what did you know, and when' and 'How did it affect your actions'.
    So you call this your free country
    Tell me why it costs so much to live
    -3dd

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    I apologize for the confusion... I was looking for direction with post-incident written reports. We are fairly standardized in our verbal size-ups and direction, but I want to better my own report writing and some type of standard that I can pass down to others for formatting the narrative. Appreciate all the input!

    Thanks.
    -Mitch Nolze
    www.swrfa.org


    "I have no ambition in this world but one, and that is to be a fireman. The position may, in the eyes of some, appear to be a lowly one; but we who know the work which the fireman has to do believe that his is a noble calling. Our proudest moment is to save lives." ~Edward F. Croker

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    I think it depends on if you're filling in the report as a Company Officer or as the Incident Commander. Here the CO's mainly report on what they saw, what they were ordered, what they did until the incident is complete. IC's (which may also be a CO) would fill in higher-level description of how the incident progressed.

    If I had to create a Post-incident "Mad-Libs" it would be something like:

    {Unit 1}, {Unit 2}....{Unit N} dispatched to {Location} for report {Reason}. {Your Unit} responded from {Your Location} at {Emergency/Reduced} speed with a crew of {Number}. While in route was notified by Dispatch that the caller was reporting a {Caller Description}.
    {If First-In} On Arrival {Your Unit} reported a {Your Initial sizeup} and tasked {Orders to your crew or incoming units}
    {If not first-in} On arrival was tasked by {First in unit} to {Your Assigned task}.
    {Description of assigned tasks on scene.....}
    Once complete {Unit} was released from the scene and returned to quarters.
    Last edited by voyager9; 12-16-2011 at 09:56 AM.
    So you call this your free country
    Tell me why it costs so much to live
    -3dd

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    What you were dispatched to.
    What you found on arrival.
    What you did (Specifics).
    What was the outcome.

    Responded to a report of a paseneger care fire next to a structure. Arrived to find a fully involed 4-door sedan on the D side approx. 10' away from a single story single-family wood frame residental structure. 1st due Engine 2 pulled (1) 1 3/4" line, extinguished limited surface fire under eaves and cooled wall. Pulled 2nd 1 3/4" line and attacked vehicle fire. 2nd due engine (Engine 5) and 1st due truck (Truck 7) investiagted interior of structure with TIC and found no extentsion into structure. Squad 5 overhauled eaves utilizing TIC. Engine 2 overhauled vehicle using Class A foam. Investigated cause of vehicle fire (see attached). vehicle was totalled with fire throughout. Damage to structure limited to wooden panels under eaves and surface heat damage to D side wall. All companies returned to service 1524.
    Train to fight the fires you fight.

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