I spent some time this morning submitting a Freedom of Information Act request for documents relating to Tuesday’s grass fire in Manchester Township to the Manchester Township Fire Department. I usually only submit FOIAs a few times each year, so I always have to re-familiarize myself with the format and wording. I usually search for a template and found a great site showing an example.
I love to use FOIAs when needing information from a government agency that may not return your phone call. It’s a formal way to let the agency know you need the information and have a right to have it. Since the Manchester Township Fire Department can be difficult to reach, most are volunteer firefighters, it can be helpful to submit a formal document requesting what you need.
FOIAs are just for journalists. Any citizen can request government documents through the process. We’re actually offering a class called, “Citizen Journalists and FOIA” Aug. 30 at the lab. Stop by and learn how to get the documents you want.