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AN EVALUATION OF PRELIMINARY DAMAGE ASSESSMENT PLANS - page 32 / 38

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Preliminary Damage Assessment

31

respondents, especially emergency managers, expressed a need to get the information up through

the chain of command as soon as possible in order to maintain continuity in the mitigation of on-

going events. Although gathering and analyzing information before damage restoration begins is

important it should not be the driving or the deciding factor.

The research did point out one surprising element with regard to damage assessment

plans. Several respondents felt that their plans needed further improvement and did not consider

their plans as totally successful. Although none provided a definitive explanation for their

opinion, this researcher concluded that perhaps because these plans are not exercised frequently,

proficiency is not at its highest. In addition, the idea that providing accurate information drives

the process may take localities beyond what accurate [Italics added] was intended to mean. The

data is an estimate of damage. This could be the reason why FEMA continues to use paper

forms and broad-based estimates.

The implication for this research has been the development of a damage assessment plan

for Accomack County. The plan is outlined in the results section and was built upon the

information gathered from the literary review and data collection process. A significant

departure from the information gained from the research was the use of career fire medic

personnel to perform the hard-count damage assessment. Neither the research nor the literature

review mentioned the benefits of placing Fire Medics out into the public sector immediately after

an event to conduct assessment. Some jurisdictions reported that fire department personnel were

used in damage assessment but they did not indicate if this was their sole function or if they were

a part of an apparatus unit responding to incidents and reporting damage in general terms.

Accomack County is in a position to use career Fire Medic personnel because of the large

number of volunteer fire and EMS personnel available through out the County. Having them in

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