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AN EVALUATION OF PRELIMINARY DAMAGE ASSESSMENT PLANS - page 9 / 38

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Preliminary Damage Assessment

8

Background and Significance

Even though Robert R. Stafford Act legislated permission allowing the federal

government to provide immediate federal assets to states and localities post disaster and the

Federal Code of Regulation outlines the process that must be followed in order to obtain those

funds not all communities located in disaster prone areas have familiarized themselves with the

requirements and constraints that control the application for these funds. The process is an

escalating hierarchy as outlined in the Federal Code of Regulation. In brief, it requires a locality

to declare a local emergency. This is a legal declaration that is signed by local government or

local elected officials. This declaration along with a rapid damage assessment and needs

assessment is then sent to the state representative. The state then can deploy resources to assist

the locality in meeting its needs. If the event and local needs are beyond the capacity of the

state, the governor of that state declares a State of Emergency. This declaration is sent to the

President of the United States who than can declare a federal disaster and release funds and

resources under the Stafford Act. The two most prominent sources of federal funding aid are

Public Assistance Grants and Individual Assistance Grants. In order to get to this step, a

Preliminary Damage Assessment PDA must be conducted in the damaged area. Normally joint

federal, state and local teams verify the PDA totals that have been reported by the locality. In

order to become eligible for federal funds both the state and locality must be able to validate the

amount of loss to the satisfaction of the Joint PDA team. This information is then funneled

through the Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA] and FEMA provides a

recommendation to the President. Federal funding assistance to areas in need can not be

expected until a verifiable field damage assessment has been completed.

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