Preliminary Damage Assessment
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina grabbed our attention by providing us with example after
example of the tremendous damage hurricanes can inflict on a community, city, county or state.
In the past 75 years, coastal communities throughout the United States have seen a remarkable
increase in population and growth. Researchers indicate that the United States is the early stages
of a hurricane cycle, the expectation being a greater number of storms and, as well as, a
significantly larger number of severe storms to the United States coastline are expected. This
cycle of increased storm activity is predicted to continue through the year 2025. Given the
increasing popularity of coastal living and the increasing number of hurricanes and tropical
storms the likelihood of significant loss of life and property along coastal communities is only a
matter of time.
As with any significant disaster event whether it be earthquakes, tornados, hazardous
materials spills, hurricanes or tropical storms, no one local government system can handle all of
the response needs, recovery needs and mitigation issues that will follow. The City of New
Orleans in 2005 is a highlighted example of how even large cities need assistance from both state
and federal organization post event. But getting that assistance is a matter of political and legal
process as much as it is need. The process is clearly defined in the Stafford Act of 1994,
outlining the steps needed to obtain federal assistance. The first critical action any locality must
under take is to document the need for assistance in the form of damage assessment figures. This
research paper will focus on that first step of providing accurate, conscience, and reproducible
damage assessment figures.
Accomack County Department of Public Safety was established in 1997 in order to
provide an immediate response to both routine Fire and EMS issues, as well as, service the