Best Practices For Interviewing Following An Incident Part II

Properly conducted interviews of witnesses following an incident are as important to understanding what occurred, as is saving data and information following an incident (presented in the first paper of this series). If interviews are not done correctly, information can be lost to the incident investigation team, and later for the litigation, should it occur. The interviews must take into account human nature, an understanding of it, and the fragility of human memory. This paper will try to illustrate some of the problems encountered in performing interviews and suggests techniques to plan and conduct interviews. Due to space limitations it must be recognized that this is not a detailed discussion of this topic.

Initial Statements

The first interview with personnel should take place as soon as possible after an incident. It is recommended that this interview take place after the site is secured and before personnel leave the site. All staff, including location management that are involved in the incident, as well as the emergency response team, should be interviewed before they leave the site. This should not be a long interview.

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