How to Write and Submit Rapid Lesson Sharing (RLS) Reports

Have you experienced an event that changed your perspective—maybe a close call? Have you devised a new approach to a common task? Maybe you were part of a success that is worth highlighting.

These scenarios often lead to personal lessons.

We want you to share your hard-earned lessons with others so we can all learn and improve.

If you have lessons related to wildland fire, here are some best practices on how to share them with the greater fire community:

How to Write and Submit Rapid Lesson Sharing (RLS) Reports

Writing Tips

  • Strive to adhere to the “A.B.C.” best practice writing principle: “Accuracy, Brevity, Clarity”. Your RLS draft should be accurate, be brief, and be clear.
  • From two to four pages seems to be an ideal length for an RLS – of course, where appropriate, there will always be exceptions.
  • Begin by briefly telling the story of what happened. Keep this portion succinct. There’s a tendency to want to get down into the weeds here. Try to avoid that tendency.
  • After the story, describe your lessons. Remember, your “Lessons” section is extremely important. Use these prompts to develop good lessons:
    • What do folks now know that they wish they’d known before the event?
    • What would folks share with others who could be in a similar situation?
    • What were some successes and challenges?
    • What actions can be taken moving forward?

Formatting Tips

  • It is not necessary for you to format the RLS draft that you first submit to the LLC. You can simply submit the text for your Narrative and Lessons sections and include your photos without embedding them into the text. The LLC can then format/design your RLS package for you into the “official” RLS format.
  • Of course, for those who would rather format their RLS submission, that is perfectly fine.
  • Always including caption information with your photos is helpful. And if you have included direct “pull” quotes from folks in your RLS submission, please remember to include the identity/source of the quote.
  • Once the LLC has updated this first draft of your RLS submission, it is returned to you for your review.

Review Process

  • The LLC takes great strides to honor the work that is submitted to us. We see our role as doing a “light hand on the land” type editing. This usually involves places (sometimes a single sentence) in the text that might be confusing or unclear. In these cases, we will suggest and implement a rewrite for the author’s review or ask the author to please clarify.
  • We also ensure that terms and capitalization are correct and consistent, and that hyperlinks function correctly. And, of course, we’re always on the lookout for minor typos and to help with minor wordsmithing where necessary.
  • Our Golden Rule at the LLC is to never make any substantial changes to the RLS without the consent of the RLS author. When the RLS is posted to the LLC’s Incident Review Database this should always be the final draft that the author has reviewed and approved.

—————————————-

If you’d like to print out this one-page RLS tips sheet, here’s the link to it:

https://www.wildfirelessons.net/viewdocument/tips-for-writing-and-submitting-rap

You can send your RLS draft—or its components—to the LLC’s Writer-Editor: paul.keller@usda.gov.

In addition, there’s another option for submitting an RLS to the LLC. You can simply fill out an online form:

https://www.wildfirelessons.net/resources/rapidlessonsharing

—————————————-

Whichever way you choose to submit your RLS, the LLC staff is here to provide you assistance and support. And you’ll always be able to review your RLS before it’s posted online. The main thing is, your lessons—the learning—will be shared with the broader wildland fire community!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.