Damage Assessment

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Damage assessment is a process that occurs after a major disaster strikes the county. This process guides the county and its citizens through the steps necessary for possible federal and state assistance. Before aid can be requested, the county must show that a significant amount of damage has occurred. This damage is expressed as a dollar amount known as the “damage threshold amount”. The beginning of the process is outlined in the following graphic.


Once the state reviews the Initial Damage Assessment (IDA) and it is determined that the damage threshold amount has been met, county and state officials conduct a Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA) to determine the extent of the disaster and its impact on individuals and public facilities. While the IDA is a very quick and approximate dollar value assessment, the PDA is a more detailed assessment. This information may be included in the governor’s request to show that the disaster is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the state and the local governments and that supplemental federal assistance is necessary.

There are two types of disaster declarations that the federal government may authorize: Emergency Declarations and Major Disaster Declarations. Both declaration types authorize the President to provide supplemental federal disaster assistance. However, the event related to the disaster declaration and type and amount of assistance differ.

Throughout this recovery period, it is important to monitor local radio and/or television reports and other media sources for information about when and where to get emergency housing, food, first aid, clothing, and financial assistance.

It is also important to realize a few facts about disaster assistance so that you can plan now to keep your family safe and secure before disaster strikes.

  • Damage assistance is not available for damages that are covered under your homeowners/renters insurance policy.
  • Flood losses are not covered under homeowners’ insurance policies.
  • There is a 30-day waiting period before flood insurance goes into effect.
  • Flood insurance is available whether the building is in or out of the identified flood-prone area.

FEMA’s website http://www.fema.gov/rebuild/recover/after.shtm provides a lot of useful information on disaster recovery.

Also, the website http://www.disasterassistance.gov/ provides information on disaster assistance. Available at this site is a download of FEMA publication An In-depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness that provides much useful information. While useful information is printed throughout the guide, Part 5 gives information specific for disaster recovery.

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