Writing an Incident/Trouble Report

Many businesses require employees to submit an incident report for any accidents that occur in the workplace. In addition, public safety officials (firefighters, police officers, emergency medical employees) as well as medical workers (doctors, nurses, technicians) have to keep detailed records of incidents and accidents that occur.

Use the following situation to write an incident report:

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You are a technical writer for ABC Software, a technology company that creates educational software. While at work one day, you walk into the shared break area to find a fire inside the microwave. Since the microwave is still going (14 minutes remaining), you turn it off immediately. You find a fire extinguisher on the wall, and use it to douse the flames in the microwave. As the smoke clears, you see that a bag of microwave popcorn caught fire and exploded. Knowing that you will have to write a report, you jot down some quick notes:

Ø  Tuesday, October 5, 2008

Ø  Generic brand popcorn (open box is on the counter next to the microwave)

Ø  2-minute recommended popping time

Ø  14 minutes remaining on microwave timer

Ø  Bob Smith (Accounting Department) put the popcorn in the oven.

Ø  Frequently makes popcorn at his 2:25 p.m. break

Ø  Thought that he set the timer for 2 minutes.

Ø  Went outside to smoke a cigarette while the popcorn cooked

Ø  You walk into the break area 2:34 p.m. (clock on the wall)

Ø  Fire extinguisher on the wall next to the microwave

Ø  Charred remains in the microwave

Ø  Smoke extends throughout the building with a charred smell

Ø  Firefighters called at 2:38 p.m.

Ø  Firefighters arrive at 2:43 p.m. from fire station one block away

Ø  Alan Martin (Programming Dept.) and Dennis Alcott (Programming Dept.) reported difficulty breathing

Ø  Taken by ambulance to General Hospital at 3:00 p.m.

Use the accident/incident report guidelines in your textbook to plan your report:

What happened?

How did it happen?

When did it happen?

Why did it happen?

Who was involved?

Organize the report (in memo format) in a way that communicates the information clearly and succinctly.

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