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AN EVALUATION OF PRELIMINARY DAMAGE ASSESSMENT PLANS - page 15 / 38

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Preliminary Damage Assessment

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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

localities.

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).

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