Preliminary Damage Assessment
to map surge inundation, particularly in flooded and inaccessible areas. However, much of the
specific information needed in a PDA may not be obtainable from the air. Although the flyover
is a good way to determine accessibility especially in the hardest hit areas, it can also provide the
information needed to dispatch ground crews (McEntire, 2002).
Door to door inspections are yet another survey method. Completing surveys on foot can
provide the specific detailed information that is required or when areas are inaccessible by
vehicle (FEMA 2005). During Hurricane Andrew damage assessments crews were unable to
move through localities efficiently due to frequent flat tires caused by nails and other debris in
the roadways. This forced many crews to walk through neighborhoods in order to complete the
PDA (McDowell & Moore, 2002).
The literature revealed a litany of departments and/or individuals under the umbrella of
local government authorized to complete damage assessment. Responsibility for damage differs
with each locality. Poe (2002) reported that building inspectors, Department of Public Works,
police and fire personnel were the most likely individuals to perform these duties in most
While local government has the primary responsibility for damage assessment, other
groups such as the Red Cross may also be conducting their damage assessment at the same time
(Red Cross, 2004)
It should be noted that the literature review revealed some jurisdictions with unique
approaches to damage assessment. Several communities are using Community Emergency
Response Teams [CERT] to perform the damage assessment. These volunteers have been
trained by the localities to perform this traditional local government function, thus allowing first
responders and other officials to continue working in other areas of need (FEMA 2003).