HOME Forums Reply To: Note Taking (Inspections, fire investigations, ect)

Dave BakerDave Baker

I have attached the pertinent sections of our note taking OG. It should be noted that your municipality probably has a file retention by-law and may contain requirements for documents that must be added to property files. Our municipality has begun an electronic file system and we are slowly moving toward record retention digitally. It is a slow process but eventually the volume of documents will necessitate the need to go digital.

The other issue to consider is inspections vs. investigations. Inspection notes for us are typically kept with the property file. Investigation notes are typically kept in the officers issued personal note book. Keep in mind that all may be subject to FOI requests.

On a side note, I am involved in a POA court case where the defendant will be arguing to have my notes (containing incriminating statements) thrown out because I failed to inform them that I was conducting an investigation. Though there is no legal requirement to do this, there is reference either under common law or Charter challenge (I can’t remember which). The outcome should be interesting and I will post results in the new year.

Suppression staff each have issued personal note books.

“Notes shall be recorded in Fire Prevention personnel’s official notebook or on Follow-up Report forms as attached to an Inspection Order. Where notes are necessary and pertinent to the property or location they will become part of the property file. Fire Prevention personnel may be required to support their notes in a court of law and may be subject to full disclosure.”

“Fire Prevention personnel must be able to prove that:
 notes were made by you
 notes were made at the time of the event or shortly thereafter
 there are no changes, alterations or deletions to your notes”

All inspections and re-inspections shall be recorded by Fire Prevention personnel on the forms provided, and as follows:
 Entries of your notes shall be made as soon as possible at the time of the events.
 Each entry shall bear the date, time and location.
 Entries shall be made in black or blue ink.
 There shall be a chronological dated history attached to inspection reports.
 Inspection notes/files shall be filed by address.
 Always sign and date entries made in your inspection notes.
 Do not leave spaces between entries.”

I hope this helps.