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AN EVALUATION OF PRELIMINARY DAMAGE ASSESSMENT PLANS - page 14 / 38

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Preliminary Damage Assessment

13

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

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