Answered By: Kristie Keuntjes, Learning Services Coordinator
Last Updated: Jan 09, 2019     Views: 22

What is an after-action report?

An after-action report is a tool used to provide feedback after an incident.  The report summarizes what took place during the event, analyzes the actions taken by participants, and provides areas needing improvement.

Why write an after-action report?

Writing after-action reports can really help an institution evaluate emergency preparedness and allow for an in-depth review of the incident to continually work toward improvements.

What are the main components of the after-action report?

Although after-action reports may vary, here are the main components you need to be sure to include:

  1. Incident overview​.  What happened, when did it happen, how did it happen, etc.
  2. Analysis.  What was observed?  What was expected?  Was anything unexpected?  Who was involved in the incident?  What are the strengths?  What are the areas of opportunity?  The analysis portion of your post-action report should be the longest and most detailed portion of your report. 
  3. Recommendations.  In the recommendations section of your report, detail ways to improve performance for future incidences.  
  4. Improvement/action plan.  In the improvement plan, you will detail corrective actions to be taken for future incidences.  Be sure to include any additional training requirements, equipment needs, or any additional planning that needs to be completed.  Be sure to list the party responsible for completing these steps and include a due date.
  5. Conclusion.  The conclusion is a summary of all of the sections of your report.  

What are some examples of after-action reports?


California Hospital Association. (n.d.). What is an after action report?  Retrieved from

Massey. M. (2017). After action reporting and improvement plans made simple [PowerPoint]. Retrieved from

San Francisco Department of Emergency Management. (n.d.). Phase 4: After action report and improvement planning. Retrieved from

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