AAR part 2

Fire Communication
Page Last Modified / Reviewed: 
Mar 2020


Continued from: AAR part 1

The “Chainsaw” After Action Review

It's 0'dark thirty. The crew has worked the fire for sixteen hours straight. No one has eaten a hot meal for days and oh yeah, you might as well be cold. No time for the After Action Review (AAR)? – Think again! It's time to bust out the …CHAINSAW AAR. 

The idea behind the Chainsaw AAR is simple; SPEED.  When you need to get an After Action Review done quickly try this simple format.

  1. Have the team form a loose circle.
  2. Start with a single team member and ask one of these questions:
    • What is one thing that went well on this shift? What is one thing that went bad on this shift?
    • What is one thing you would do different next time?
    • What is one thing you learned today?
  3. Continue around the circle until everyone has had a chance. It may be necessary to place a time limit on each individual (i.e. 30 seconds).
  4. Avoid unnecessary discussion (dinner is waiting).
  5. Note the comments for future discussion.  

The Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program website has additional references on conducting effective AARs, many designed specifically for wildland firefighters and leaders. See the resources below.


Additional Resources

Incident Management Situation Report (IMSR)
Incident Response Pocket Guide (IRPG), PMS 461
NWCG Standards for Helicopter Operations, PMS 510
RT-130, Wildland Fire Safety Training Annual Refresher (WFSTAR)
Interagency Standards for Fire and Fire Aviation Operations (Red Book)
Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center

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