Teams visit communities impacted by May 6 flooding
For emergency management, responding to the disaster is just the beginning
CHARLESTON, W.VA.—The West Virginia Emergency Management Division is certainly busy when a disaster strikes the Mountain State. In the words of Gov. Justice, everyone “runs to the fire"; jumping into action and assuring local agencies have the supplies and assistance they need for their communities.
Before the response phase ends, EMD begins working with local emergency management agencies on the most grueling and lengthy part of emergency management: the recovery process.
As with all emergencies, disasters—both natural and man-made—begin and end at the local level. While communities are preparing for cleanup, local emergency management agencies began an initial damage assessment. This assessment allows local officials to quickly estimate the extent of the damages and if their jurisdiction may possibly reach the threshold to request a federal disaster declaration.
Today, teams from EMD, FEMA and the Small Business Administration began joint damage assessments for Cabell and Wayne Counties. The joint damage assessment teams will meet with a local official who represents the community, accompanying the team as they visit impacted areas. During these visits, team members validate the reported damages and make a united decision for the joint damage assessment submission.
At the state level, the resulting submission is used to determine if the Governor will request a major disaster declaration from the President. At the federal level, FEMA uses the damage assessment to document recommendations made to the President in response to the Governor's request.
“I'm really pleased with the teamwork shown every day between local emergency managers, EMD, FEMA, and partners like the Small Business Administration," said EMD Director GE McCabe. “This has allowed West Virginia to improve not only our response to disasters, but to improve the efficiency of the recovery process."
Joint damage assessment teams will be in Huntington on Tuesday with plans to complete assessments of impacted areas in Cabell and Wayne counties by the end of the week.
For more information on the disaster declaration process, please visit How a Disaster Gets Declared or www.fema.gov.
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