Preliminary Damage Assessment
important to note that it is the FEMA system format that the joint state and federal assessment
teams will be using to determine degree of damage to a locality. The use of a single system
assures uniform damage reporting standards. The unique factor within the FEMA system is the
assignment of structural and flood criteria and percentage of loss in addition to defining five
eligible categories. These tools provide guidance in arriving at an accurate financial damage
assessment figure (FEMA 2005).
The literature did reveal one state that deviated from the majority, the State of Delaware.
Delaware Emergency Management Agency (2005) has its own system based upon a scale of 1-
10. The system does provide a conversion table to coordinate with both the FEMA system and
the American Red Cross system. According to McDowell and Moore (2002) this system may
prevent some duplication of effort by different organizations because a common working
platform has been established for all to follow.
The Emergency Operation Plan for the Commonwealth of Virginia (2005) requires
localities to use the FEMA system for reporting damage estimates to the state. Any system
developed for Accomack County will need to be able to produce results and figures in
accordance with the FEMA system.
According to FEMA (2005), the most common method of assessment is a windshield
survey. A windshield survey is completed by driving through effected areas, while personnel
record observable damage on worksheets that then are compiled at the Emergency Operations
Center. These worksheets may have different categories for commercial, residential, and mobile
home property types.
Another common method is the fly-over survey. It is completed using fixed-wing or
rotor aircraft. This method gives an excellent overview of the extent damage and an accurate way