By Chief Wade Watkins
As the Unified Fire Authority serves Riverton City it is important to continually improve the service provided. Riverton’s front-line firefighter Paramedics and EMT’s embrace this approach. They as a “Team” and as an “Individual” strive to improve and get better every time they respond on an emergency incident. The tool that is formally and informally in use is called an After-Action Review or (AAR).
An AAR is a technique for improving process and execution by analyzing the intended outcome and actual outcome of an action and identifying practices to sustain, and practices to improve or initiate, and then practicing those changes at the next iteration of the action AARs in the formal sense, were originally developed by the U.S. Army.
Applied to Emergency Services this process immediately addresses the challenges that were not considered best practice and focuses on sustaining the practices that delivered the outcomes desired. Embracing this process into our culture has been key in effectively serving the community.
Annually, Riverton’s crews respond to over two thousand emergency incidents within Riverton. With every incident being different and having nuanced challenges and problems to overcome, there is always room for improvement.
The below questions to the group/team create an opportunity to recognize what gaps and shortfalls happened and what can be done on the next incident to improve.
On large incidents and fires a more formal process will happen. If the incident is small, the process can be adapted to be a simple conversation of what went well? What can we improve on next time?
Knowing your audience and team is key in facilitating an effective process. Being objective, kind, and open to everyone’s perspective and lived experience creates an environment to let your respective guard down and improve.
As we all look toward the future, we need to improve. This is a refined way to do it and learn from each other. The next time you see your firefighters circled up after a fire, you’ll now know what they are doing.
If you have any questions or concerns about your UFA services, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Battalion Chief Wade T. Watkins firstname.lastname@example.org.