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AN EVALUATION OF PRELIMINARY DAMAGE ASSESSMENT PLANS - page 13 / 38

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Preliminary Damage Assessment

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assessment is performed by First Responders, police, Fire EMS agencies (NFA, 2006). The

research will examine the second phase of damage assessment: Preliminary Damage Assessment.

A PDA generally focuses on not the immediate life threatening hazards but assisting a

community during the recovery period of a disaster. A PDA provides the critical data element

used to support a governor’s request for a Presidential Disaster Declaration. This declaration can

open the door for federal assistance both to the public and private sectors in the form of grants,

low interest loans, housing assistance and a host of other state and federal mitigation initiatives

(FEMA, 2005).

According to FEMA (2005), a PDA is divided into two branches: Individual Assistance

and Public Assistance. Individual Assistance is divided into two categories: damage to homes

and damage to commercial enterprises. Public Assistance is divided into seven basic categories:

Debris Clearance, Protective Measures, Road Systems, Water Control Facilities, Public

Buildings, Public Utilities, and Other. Because the Public Assistance branch of a PDA requires

more in depth knowledge of specific areas, this damage assessment is typically performed by the

public employees working in those facilities. The scope of the Individual Assistance PDA is

much wider and can encompass tens of thousand of structures. The emphasis of this literary

review will limit its focus to Individual Assistance PDA.

Regardless of the means or personnel used to determine damage it is imperative that the

correct system for grading damage be in place. A review of literature has shown that there are

two dominate systems currently being utilized nationwide. One was developed by The American

Red Cross which places emphasis on the services and aid that they are able to provide to

localities and the other by FEMA (McDowell & Moore, 2002). The FEMA system although

similar to that of the American Red Cross defines damage per category differently. It is

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