Chapter 7

Damage Assessment


To provide a uniform damage assessment process to document damage from incidents or disasters occurring at Buena Vista University. Information gathered with this process may be used to determine the extent of damage and impact on the University community.

Assumptions and Planning Factors

The prompt and accurate assessment of damage to University property following an incident will be of vital concern to University officials in order to facilitate an effective and rapid response.

Organization / Responsibilities

  1. EMC - The EMC manages the damage assessment effort and assigns team leaders. Specific responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:
    1. Serves as primary contact at the University during all phases of an emergency/disaster
    2. Gathers and organizes information from other agencies and sources
    3. Manages the damage assessment process
    4. Activates the Damage Assessment Team
    5. Makes an initial determination of the extent of the damage
    6. Submits information to the EOT
    7. Applies information gathered to local needs, such as recovery and hazard mitigation
  2. Damage Assessment Teams (DAT) - Damage assessment teams will consist primarily of personnel knowledgeable of the impacted area.
  3. The emergency mission of the DAT is to:
    1. Respond to the EMC's call for damage assessment
    2. Work with other team members to collect damage data needed for preliminary, interim and final assessments
    3. Complete assessments in required time frame

Concept of Operations

  1. The first assessment conducted should focus on the people's needs. This begins with identifying the extent of damage to University property.

    The threshold for determining when to conduct assessments is whenever the disaster is of such magnitude and impact that the University cannot conduct daily operations. The primary focus is on the number of structures that sustained damage. The teams' evaluated extent of damage earmarks a structure in one of following levels of damage: Destroyed, Major, Minor, Affected but Habitable, and Inaccessible. Information gathered by the DAT provides an in-depth look at the disaster event.

  2. Preliminary Damage Assessment -- Once a determination is made to activate the DAT, it conducts preliminary data gathering. The DAT conducts on-the-scene surveys and assessment of damage to University property. The information is given to the EOC, who summarizes the data and transmits that report to the EOT.
  3. Final Damage Assessment -- The Final Damage Assessment is conducted to update, verify and collect detailed information on damages and their costs. The Final Damage Assessment will begin immediately after the completion of the Preliminary Damage Assessment or as soon after the Initial Damage Assessment as allowed by conditions.

Forming and Training the Teams

Being able to respond quickly with well-trained staff familiar with campus buildings and equipment will help lessen the chaos caused by a disaster event. The EMC will be responsible for forming the response team.

Administration and Logistics

  1. Plan Maintenance -- The EMC should meet annually with the DAT to review and/or revise this portion of the plan.
  2. Damage Assessment Team:
    1. Keith Schmidt
    2. Liz Merten
    3. Suzette Radke

Damage Assessment Emergency Response Checklist

Checklists are here only for guidance in developing a more specific checklist appropriate for each locality.

Readiness Phase


  • Attend training in the damage assessment process
  • Establish central point of contact
  • Establish Damage Assessment Teams
  • Train Damage Assessment Teams
  • Purchase supplies/equipment for Damage Assessment Team such as cellular phones and pagers to facilitate direction and control

Response Phase


  • Notify DAT and other agencies with damage assessment responsibilities
  • Define perimeter of disaster area
  • Ascertain safety of affected areas prior to sending field teams in for damage assessment
  • Coordinate and compile damage reports from DAT and advise EOT
  • Train and assign personnel to assist in collecting damage reports. Provide for expedient training of DAT if necessary

Note: Depending on the circumstance, situation and speed of the incident, you may want to activate the Damage Assessment Team during the Response Phase.

Recovery Phase


  • Activate DAT
  • Complete the Preliminary Damage Assessment and submit to EOT
  • Complete Final Damage Assessment Summary and submit to EOT


  • Complete Preliminary Damage Assessment. Provide information to EMC
  • Be prepared for more comprehensive assessment