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AN EVALUATION OF PRELIMINARY DAMAGE ASSESSMENT PLANS - page 33 / 38

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Preliminary Damage Assessment

32

place allows the use of Fire Medics to perform the assessment collection without interfering with

emergency service to the community. A few of the benefits of using this specific group has been

pointed out in the results section, however their presence in the community is invaluable as they

are able to assist the public directly in a variety of ways especially immediately following a

serious event.

Recommendations

Based on the plan developed for Accomack County and the fact that an opportunity for

testing portions of that plan presented itself during our regional table-top exercise, an exercise

should be conducted with the actual assessment team members using the damage assessment

guidelines contained in the plan. Training sessions could be completed in a three hour in-service

using materials depicting various levels of storm damage.

In addition to a review of the training component, an analysis of the capability of the

County’s GIS Department should be completed. It is imperative to ascertain if the GIS

Department is able to integrate and reproduce all of the information required using the

recommended technology. Can the GIS Department actually provide all of the materials with all

of the required elements needed in a very short period of time? During the tabletop exercise the

Department indicated that they were able and ready. The only way to be certain is to conduct an

actual hands-on field simulation in advance of a real event. Another aspect of the plan that needs

to be evaluated is the testing of field-based software that will be used by assessment team

members. Questions that need to be answered are: what is the useful life of a computer battery

in actual field conditions, are vehicles prepared in case of break-downs, flat tires etc., are current

district maps accurate and up-to-date, and should streets be prioritized so that the progress of

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