Fairfax County Completes Damage Assessment Plan


June 20, 2008

News Highlights 

Fairfax County’s Damage Assessment Plan, which was compiled on May 30, 2008, provides detailed procedures for assessing the conditions of homes, business establishments, private property and all other non-government owned buildings and structures affected by a disaster.

“The longest and most daunting phase of a disaster is recovery,” said Cullen L. Henderson, recovery and compliance specialist for the Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management.  “One of the most integral steps in recovering from a natural or man-made disaster is the accurate analysis of the actual damage sustained by residences, businesses, publicly owned roads, buildings and equipment, and the types and amounts of debris left behind.” The damage assessment process dramatically aids coordination of relief efforts, reconstruction and financial reimbursement. 

Theplan was completed just days before Fairfax County experienced damaging storms. The plan assisted in coordination and communication efforts among emergency response agencies while identifying and evaluating the affected areas. Severe thunderstorms, torrential rains and suspected tornado touchdowns affected residential, business and local government properties, and interrupted power and telephone service to large numbers of county residents. 

Damage assessment is a major task throughout the response and short-term recovery phases of a disaster. After establishing a baseline during the initial damage assessment, the county partners with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other agencies to complete the preliminary damage assessment (PDA). The PDA enables federal and state authorities to evaluate sustained damages to assist the governor in making the decision to declare a state of emergency or, if further assistance is needed, the president in approving the governor’s request for a presidential disaster declaration. The accuracy of the analysis and information tracking during each of the assessments is particularly crucial when final justifications for financial reimbursement are made at the end of the long-term recovery phase.

The plan was developed by Fairfax County’s Department of Public Works and Environmental Services, Office of Emergency Management, Fire and Rescue Department, Department of Planning and Zoning and the Health Department. It will be shared with the National Capital Region as part of the county’s program focused on the long-term recovery and revitalization efforts after a major disaster.              

The plan satisfies the requirement of the National Flood Insurance Program, a federal program enabling property owners in participating communities to purchase insurance to protect them against flood losses. More information on the flood insurance program can be found at www.fema.gov/business/nfip.

For more information, contact the Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management at 703-324-2362, TTY 711, or visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/oem.

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Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 551
Fairfax, VA 22035-0065
Contact: Merni Fitzgerald, Director of Public Affairs
703-324-3187, TTY 711, Fax 703-324-2010
Media Pager: 703-324-NEWS (6397)
publicaffairs@fairfaxcounty.gov

Fairfax County is committed to nondiscrimination on the basis of disability in all county programs, services and activities. To request this information in an alternate format, call the Office of Public Affairs at 703-324-3187, TTY 711.


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