By Navin Nageli, Founder & CEO

Responders are often busy moving from one incident to another. It is hard to find time to sit down and analyze incident responses in an After Action Review (AAR). However, AARs, when done correctly, significantly improve overall safety and efficiency. Here are four must-follow AAR tips to maximize effectiveness:

After Action Review on a clipboard1. Create guidelines for when an AAR is necessary.

For example, establish a clear guideline that states responders must complete an AAR for any traffic incident that lasts more than a specified amount of time or is above a specified incident level. Setting a guideline prevents teams from debating the necessity of an AAR in any given situation.

2. Complete the AAR promptly.

Typically, the AAR should be done within few days of the incident. This will prevent key details from being forgotten. Additionally, the few days buffer still allows time for team reflection on what could have been handled better.

3. Assign a strong facilitator to lead AARs.

There are usually multiple responders involved in an incident, so it’s essential to gather input in a collaborative, but timely manner. An AAR facilitator drives discussion, ensures everyone gets the opportunity to share, records responses, keeps the discussion objective, and avoids the blame game or finger pointing.

4. Track and communicate AAR information.

Be sure to track and share who was involved in the incident, pictures, lessons learned, and any assigned action items related to the incident or review. Make the review available to other TIM Teams to maximize learning. Other teams can use this information to proactively apply lessons in their own organization. It also creates a record for teams to reference and compare if a similar incident occurs. Sharing this valuable report also encourages a culture of open communication between TIM Teams that will benefit the entire industry.

Using the suggestions above will streamline the AAR process, maximize accuracy, and ensure improvements in future incident occurrences. For more information or examples of AAR reports, click here.