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AN EVALUATION OF PRELIMINARY DAMAGE ASSESSMENT PLANS - page 19 / 38

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Preliminary Damage Assessment

18

This information was logged into a laptop computer, which had a GIS based street map

with 911 addresses and parcel information. Each parcel was then marked using the appropriate

color code listed above. This allowed displaced citizens with internet access a means to obtain

accurate information with regard to their homes and/or businesses (Webb and Hampton, 2003).

According to Webb and Hampton (2003), immediate access to information was a key component

in the process, because it demonstrated to the public that progress was being made and local

officials were responding to the needs of the community.

Having a complete and comprehensive damage assessment plan in place is critical for

every local emergency manager or fire chief responsible for their community’s safety post

disaster (Plantiz, 1999). If damage assessment is not planned for in advance, it can easily

become one of the actions that falls though the cracks especially in the face of mounting pressure

to get things done. Too often the result is that estimates of damage and needs are grossly

inaccurate (Kreps, 1991). A sound damage assessment plan is the trigger that activates and

deploys both state and possibly federal resources. The literature review has identified several

key elements to effective damage assessment plans.

Procedures

A literary search of the National Fire Academy Learning Resource Center Library and

the Internet [World Wide Web] was conducted to locate information pertaining to preliminary

damage assessment systems currently in use in the United States and abroad. The search

criterion included: Damage Assessment, Preliminary Damage Assessment, Recovery, Hurricane

Response, Individual Assistance, Public Assistance and Initial Damage Assessment.

A questionnaire was devised to answer research questions one and two. The

questionnaire was developed using an electronic internet based format. SurveyMonkey was the

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