Preliminary Damage Assessment
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.
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