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Writing Incident Reports

A comprehensive overview of incident report writing.

Jen Correia

on 15 August 2016

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Transcript of Writing Incident Reports

Writing Incident Reports
Style Guide
How to Refer to Individuals:
First iteration:
Resident Assistant John Smith; Resident Jane Goodwin
Future iteration:

RA Smith; Resident Goodwin
Groups of people:
RAs Smith and Cook; Residents Goodwin and Jackson
Guest Hansen or Non-Resident Clemens
Writing Tips
How would describe this image using the third person narrative?
Incident Report Review
During the incident:
Be observant and take notes
Who, what, when, where, why, how
Direct quotes, photos, etc.

Let's Write a Report!
RA Phoebe Buffay has asked you to observe a roommate mediation that she is facilitating. The roommates are Rachel Green and Monica Geller. Things go very wrong and you need to write an Incident Report. Notebooks out!
The Report
Resident Assistant (RA) Phoebe Buffay asked RA Chandler Bing to observe RA Buffay conduct a roommate mediation between Residents Rachel Green and Monica Geller (Room 20).

When Resident Green began speaking, Resident Geller mocked her silently by using facial expressions and hand gestures. Resident Green noticed Resident Geller's mocking expressions, so RA Buffay stepped in and offered Resident Geller a chance to speak.

Resident Geller began by snapping at Resident Green. Resident Green responded by yelling. Resident Geller stood and yelled back. At this point Residents Geller and Green were standing very close to each other.

Resident Green became frustrated and flicked Resident Geller in the forehead. In return, Resident Geller flicked Resident Green in the forehead. Residents Geller and Green each repeated the flicking action several more times.

The aggression escalated when Resident Geller slapped Resident Green on the arm. Resident Green slapped Resident Geller in return. RA Buffay attempted to intervene when Residents Geller and Green began slapping each other on the arms and legs.

The aggression further escalated when Resident Green tackled Resident Geller to the couch. Resident Geller stood and dragged Resident Green to the floor by Resident Green's leg, causing Resident Green's sock to come off. Resident Geller began hitting Resident Green with Resident Green's sock.

RA Buffay yelled, "Okay, now I'm gonna kick some ass" and pulled Residents Geller and Green into kneeling positions by grabbing Resident Geller's right ear and Resident Green's left ear. Resident Geller and Green expressed that they were in pain by repeating "ow" several times.

RA Buffay said, "Now, I will let go if you both stop."
Why Third Person Narrative?
Incident Reports can be subpoenaed, so it is vital that they are written as clearly and as professionally as possible.
Any Questions?
Writing the Report:
Write in the third person narrative (new)
Include facts and descriptions, not opinions!
Submit electronically via the on-call website
Attach any supporting material(s)
After the incident:
Follow up with the resident(s)!

I, RA John Smith, saw Resident Jane Goodwin smoking marijuana. When I confronted her, she screamed and ran away. As she ran away, she threw the marijuana joint on the ground.
If direct quotes are taken out of context, who is "I" and who is "she?"
Resident Assistant John Smith saw Resident Jane Goodwin smoking marijuana. When RA Smith confronted Resident Goodwin, Resident Goodwin screamed and ran away. Resident Goodwin threw the marijuana joint on the ground while running away.
This may sound a little strange, but it is much easier for individuals who were not involved in the incident to determine a clear understanding of events.
How to Describe Events:
Use active voice:
“Resident Goodwin slapped Resident Jackson” instead of “Resident Jackson was slapped by Resident Goodwin.”

Avoid excessive use of the word “then;”
if you write about Event A in one sentence and Event B in the next sentence, readers can infer that Event A happened before Event B without the use of the word “then.”

Explain the incident with enough detail to communicate what happened while
keeping your writing concise to increase clarity. Avoid “him/her,” “she/he,” “they,” etc.
whenever possible.

Only include facts and descriptions in your reports
; do not include opinions or information that does not relate to the incident that you are writing about.
Tip 1: Avoid a Zombie Apocalypse
Passive voice, especially when used extensively, can make it harder for readers to follow your thought process and can make you seem unsure of your conclusions. If you can add the phrase “by zombies” to the sentence, you’ve written in a passive voice.

Example: “The paper was written (by zombies) yesterday.”
Correction: “I wrote the paper yesterday.”
Tip 2: Say It Like You Mean It
Excessive filler words can weaken your conclusions. Don’t hedge around your conclusions; be assertive!

Avoid filler by looking for instances where the main subject and verb have been separated with words such as: may, seem, might, seen, etc.
Tip 3: Don't Be a Serial Killer
Commas save lives -- think about the difference between “Let’s eat Grandma!” and “Let’s eat, Grandma.” Beyond the lifesaving skills of the direct address comma, the serial comma (or the “Oxford comma”) also adds clarity.

Example: “John thanked his parents, Mark and Lucy.” (Mark and Lucy are John’s parents)
Correction: “John thanked his parents, Mark, and Lucy.” (John’s parents, Mark, and Lucy are four different people)

A resident opens a quad door and this is what you see.
Gary Graham
Louis Long
Shawn Smith
How would describe this image using the third person narrative?
You walk by an open door and this is what you see.
Jordan James
Tammy Thompson
How would describe this image using the third person narrative?
You and another RA enter a room for a noise violation and this is what you see.
Julie (Guest)
? (runs away)
Mike Martin
Greg Gibson
Rewrite the following sentences to maintain the meaning with as few words as possible:
He dropped out of school on account of the fact that it was necessary for him to help support his family.
He dropped out of school to help support his family.

It is expected that the office schedule will be announced by the ACs within the next few days.
The ACs will announce the office schedule within the next few days.
There are many ways in which a student who is interested in meeting foreign students may come to know one.
There are many ways for students get to know foreign students.
It is very unusual to find someone who has never told a deliberate lie on purpose.
It is unusual to find someone who has never lied.
Trouble is caused when people disobey rules that have been established for the safety of all.
When people disobey rules, trouble ensues.
The subjects that are considered most important by students are those that have been shown to be useful to them after graduation.
The most important subjects to students are those that will be useful after graduation.
In the not too distant future, college freshmen must all become aware of the fact that there is a need for them to make contact with an academic advisor concerning the matter of a major.
College freshmen quickly realize that they need to contact an academic advisor to declare a major.
In our department there are wide-open opportunities for professional growth with a department that is known for being so interdisciplinary.
Our department has many professional growth opportunities and is well known for being interdisciplinary.
Some judicial hearings are with the ACs, while others are with the Deans or Honor Council; there are many factors that decide if one or the other gets chosen.
Many factors dictate whether a judicial hearing is conducted by an AC, a Dean, or the Honor Council.
Fix the passive voice in these sentences:
There is a considerable range of expertise demonstrated by the RAs.
The RAs demonstrate a considerable range of expertise.
It was determined by the ACs that an energizer was needed by the RAs.
The ACs determined that the RAs needed an energizer.
The RAs were invited by the HRs to sit with them at lunch.
The HRs invited the RAs to sit with them at lunch.
The third person narrative will most likely be protested by RAs.
The RAs will most likely protest the third person narrative.
The missing office supplies were returned by the RAs, which resulted in the ACs being very happy.
The RAs returned the missing office supplies, which made the ACs very happy
Writing Workshop
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