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Critical Incident Analysis

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Helping agencies and jurisdictions assess and learn from their response to real-world emergencies, incidents, and events

Thankfully, severe incidents, such as those that cause significant damage and/or loss of life, are relatively rare, yet all types of incidents and pre-planned events provide important opportunities to gain knowledge that can enhance preparedness. CNA is a not-for-profit research and analysis organization with more than 75 years of experience helping agencies and jurisdictions learn from assessments of real-world incidents.

What types of incidents or events should be reviewed?

Any incident or event that caused an agency to activate or use its emergency and/or continuity procedures and plans is an opportunity to assess the effectiveness of those plans and identify gaps. Examples include severe weather events, other natural disasters, terrorist attacks, and disease outbreaks. In addition, pre-planned events that require an agency or jurisdiction to activate resources (above and beyond normal day-to-day operations) may warrant review. Examples include parades, festivals, marches, and demonstrations.

How does CNA assess real-world incidents or events?

CNA employs a scalable approach to conducting after-action reviews that we tailor to the complexity of the incident/event, the resources and time available to conduct the review, and the desired outcomes. We advise clients to begin reviews as soon as practical to capture data (including observations, documents, and feedback from personnel who responded to or were affected by the incident) that can be perishable. The types of activities that we may conduct during a review are listed in Table 1, along with products that we can develop to share findings from these reviews.

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  • Publication Date: 12/20/2020