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AN EVALUATION OF PRELIMINARY DAMAGE ASSESSMENT PLANS - page 12 / 38

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Preliminary Damage Assessment

11

In 2000, the Department was given the additional responsibility for Emergency

Management operations taking over from the Dept. of Public Works. Existing policies on PDA

predated the change in management. As presented in the Executive Analysis of Fire Service

Operations Emergency Management course, it is the responsibility of the Executive Fire Officer,

[in this case the emergency manager] to ensure that all procedures for conducting damage

assessment be formulated and a part of all disaster management plans (National Fire Academy

[NFA], 2006).

Without a comprehensive Damage Assessment Plan for use with future disasters, federal

funding may not even be an option for government agencies, individual business and

homeowners.

Descriptive research will be used to answer a series of survey questions designed to

investigate current PDA plans in place and determine the essential elements of these successful

plans. This data will be used in the development of a comprehensive Damage Assessment Plan

for Accomack County. The plan will assist Accomack County in meeting the United States Fire

Administration operational objective of “developing comprehensive all–hazard risk reduction

plans” (p.1).

Literature Review

When a community has experienced a catastrophic event, understanding the full extent of

the damage incurred is a critical first step toward recovery. Damage assessment is the process by

which the degree of damage is categorized and measured. In general terms, damage assessment

occurs in two phases. First, the immediate assessment of a community needs to determine the

essential services required to protect life and health and to prioritize these services for

appropriate resource allocation. In most communities, this initial, immediate or rapid damage

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