Posted by: Tony Robinson, Deputy Regional Administrator, Region 6
Joint Preliminary Damage Assessment teams, consisting of local, state, FEMA and Small Business Administration representatives are continuing to survey tornado damage in Tarrant County, Texas today. We’re standing shoulder to shoulder with our state partners and will continue to do so until all affected locations requested by the state have been assessed.
Texas, April 6, 2012 -- Preliminary Damage Assessment teams fanned out across the Dallas Fort Worth area in the aftermath of the Tuesday tornadoes. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, (r) is Joined John Nelson, of FEMA (L) and Ruby Dailey (c) of Texas Department of Emergency Management.
These “PDA teams” aren’t just looking at the numbers of damaged and destroyed homes, but we’re also gathering information on the impact to these communities as a whole. In a past blog post, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate mentioned that our states have developed robust capabilities to respond to these events. With those capabilities in mind, our partners and teammates at the federal, state, tribal, and local level, as well as voluntary agencies and the private sector bring many types of aid with them to assist in times of need. So we are also looking at whether or not there are enough resources within the state and communities, along with insurance to meet the needs of those that have been impacted.
Throughout much of the day, teams will be walking through tornado-ravaged cities and towns, knocking on doors, and talking to as many residents as possible.
Lancaster, Texas, April 6, 2012 -- Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins (r) leads state and federal team members through a tornado stricken neighborhood as part of the damage assessment process. Joint preliminary damage assessments are ongoing following the tornadoes that struck the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Obviously, the teams won’t be able to talk to every single survivor. So if you’ve been impacted and you don’t see one of our teams, make sure to report your damages to local or state officials. These reports will be shared with the PDA team and cross-referenced with the street report, then all of the information will be considered for the assessments.
While assessments are ongoing, you should clean up as needed and be sure to contact your insurance company as soon as possible and file a claim.
As the teams speak with disaster survivors, they will be asking about whether the damage to homes will be covered by insurance. Often, levels of insurance can be a major consideration when determining whether a state should request a FEMA declaration. Ultimately FEMA cannot duplicate benefits like insurance.
As Administrator Fugate has mentioned before, insurance is often the first and best way of protecting your family and property from disaster. Depending on the coverage limits, disaster survivors may be made far more whole by their insurance policy than they would from supplemental federal disaster assistance.
In any event, it’s always a good idea for survivors to keep receipts of any disaster-related expenses such as lodging, medical, repair and cleaning supplies, etc. You may also want to make a list of the major items that have been damaged such as utilities, appliances, furniture, and personal property.
If you have immediate needs such as shelter, food, water, clothing, etc., you should seek help from the local voluntary and faith-based groups in your area.
The PDA teams are working as quickly and as safely as possible to complete the assessments, so that next steps can be taken by local and state officials.