The Standard 4 Questions
This is the AAR format originally developed by the US Army. It is now used worldwide by other military organizations, government agencies, and private industry. The wildland fire support reference for this can be found in the Incident Response Pocket Guide.
It's 0'dark thirty...the crew has worked the fire for 16 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? Think again! The idea behind the Chainsaw AAR is simple; SPEED. When you need to get an After Action Review done quickly try this simple format.
The "What" Approach
Sometimes when you have a temporary task group or team that is put together for a specific or one-time assignment the standard format may not work, especially if many of the participants are not familiar with it. In this case, asking three simple "What" questions may provide useful feedback regarding the recently completed activity.
Special Emphasis Formats
You may want to dig down into very specific aspects of the event you are reviewing. For example, looking at how risk was managed or discussing how a team integrated concepts from high reliability organizations.
P.L.O.W.S. is an alternative to the standard After Action Review emphasizing
safety in a learning environment. Information as it pertains to facilitating an
AAR in the standard format is still relevant and applicable.
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