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AN EVALUATION OF PRELIMINARY DAMAGE ASSESSMENT PLANS - page 31 / 38

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Preliminary Damage Assessment

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With regard to who should be appointed to complete damage assessment, Poe (2002)

alluded to a mix of local government agencies and representatives to carry out the task. The

research reinforced the point that no single agency should be solely responsible for all facets of

the process. The research listed building inspectors as the most commonly used group of

individuals assigned to conduct the PDA. Very few plans addressed the use of outside agencies

in completing the Public Assistance portion of the damage assessment process. The research did

not touch on the use of other available resources such as the Department of Transportation for

road access, school personnel for assessing school damage and local utilities for assessing power

loss and costs associated with restoration. The research did produce one jurisdiction using

outside resources to assist local government. The Town of Chincoteague, VA is using local real

estate personnel to assist in estimating the property values.

In the Commonwealth of Virginia, their damage assessment plan recommends that

localities use a fly-over approach to get a full picture of damage in an area. FEMA (2005) also

indicated that a fly-over was a key element in determining hardest hit areas. Very few of the

plans examined and only four indicated they had included an aircraft fly-over as a part of their

damage assessment plan. At this point it is this researcher’s belief that most localities are

placing all of their efforts and manpower resources in the ability of ground surveyors to

determine those issues.

McDowell & Moore (2002) discussed the issue of damage assessment being conducted

quickly before restoration efforts begin. This issue was raised by some of the respondents as

well. Although timely completion of damage assessment was identified as one of the essential

elements in completing a PDA, timeliness was not always for the same reason. One reason that

was listed was to provide data in order to expedite state and federal assistance. Some of the

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