As a follow up to a Wide Area Training Net, a Public Service Event, an Agency Exercise, a drill or a disaster, we are presented with another opportunity to practice and improve our communicator disaster skill sets. We participate in these events, actual disasters included sometimes, to learn the ropes and if we don’t do the follow up we don’t learn anything.

We each need to conduct our own after action evaluation and prepare an Incident After Action Report. From it, we and other volunteers can attempt to derive some lessons learned from our participation. Use our successes or failures and our ability or inability to effectively participate in the exercise/event to make the next event even better. These reports will be required after an actual disaster event so practice now.

The Incident After Action Report is a very simple form. It primarily consists of two boxes. In the first you document how things went well during the event. In the second you list what went wrong. This is not meant to assign guilt or fault and names or callsigns should not be used. It is simply a method to identify and correct any failure points in your system. Lessons can be passed on to others so they can benefit from the learning.

Those not able to participate effectively need to identify the area or areas of concern that inhibited them. Was there a failure on the part of your equipment, lack of antenna height and/or location, power setting, interfering trees or buildings, etc. Could a crossband system have helped a communicator in a bad situation? Were you given bad or misleading instructions? Was a communication not clear or misunderstood? Were mistakes corrected (training) and if so was an individual singled out? In any case the failure points need to be identified if possible. We try to cover the bases in our training articles but such a review could highlight a need for a future article.

Also, determine if the information you received before the event was useful or how could it be improved? Could you make the initial contact with the talk-in net, the primary net serving your assigned group, the timing net, the medical net, etc. or was it necessary to use an alternate because you weren’t given the correct repeater settings for a given net? Were you able to communicate effectively? How were you received by the agency? Did shift replacements or assignment changes go smoothly? Did you hear comms. issues by another communicator that needed to be addressed as a group training reminder? Were procedures properly followed?

The collation and summary of each success or failure should generate important lessons learned to prepare all of us to be more effective in the future and the After Action Report is the vehicle to share those lessons.

After Action Reports can be written during and discussed as part of an event debrief session (ideal) or they can be emailed to the Comms Coordinator for the event and your EC who can decide how best to share the information gathered.

That concludes tonight’s training. Are there any questions, comments or suggested additions to this material?

Thanks, this is (callsign) clear to net control.