Damage Assessment

Damage Assessment is the systematic process of determining and appraising the nature and extent of loss, suffering and/or harm to a community resulting from natural or human-made disasters.

Damage assessment is concerned with determining the who, what, where, when, and how of a disaster and is an integral part of the decision making process. Properly assessing damages can:

  1. Provide an intelligence base to assist decision-makers in determining appropriate courses of action and the resources required for effective response and recovery.
  2. Assist Warren County in preparing requests for supplemental assistance from the State.
  3. Provide information to assist in identifying hazard mitigation projects or activities to lessen the impacts of future disasters.
  4. Keep the public accurately informed regarding the magnitude of the event and any available assistance.

Damage assessment produces a descriptive measure of the severity and magnitude of the disaster. Response requirements and capabilities, effectiveness of initial response operations, and requirements for supplemental assistance can be determined by assessing damage immediately following a disaster.

Damage Assessment Process

Once an emergency/disaster has occurred, determining the type and extent of damage is the only way to ascertain if state/federal assistance is warranted. With this information, collected in a timely manner, Warren County officials can determine the appropriate course of action. It is fundamental to timely and accurate initial damage assessment to assign personnel who are trained and/or experienced in emergency/disaster situations. WCEMA relies of trained volunteer teams to assist with damage assessment in Warren County. These teams are responsible for contacting local jurisdictions to assess damage as well as cataloging damage to residences. Damage Assessment reports created from the Recovery Branch of the Joint Emergency Operations Center are used to support Warren County’s request for state/federal assistance.

WCEMA must forward initial damage assessment reports to Ohio EMA within 12 hours of the emergency/disaster occurrence. Given the limited time frame, WCEMA relies on the assistance of trained volunteers to assist with the process. This initial assessment is often the basis of a request to the Governor of the State of Ohio to declare an emergency. Once the initial assessment is completed and forwarded to the State, a more detailed damage and needs assessment is started. This Damage and Needs Assessment must be forwarded to Ohio EMA within 36 hours of the disaster/emergency occurrence. Again, this timeframe is necessary in order for the State to determine if federal assistance may be warranted and to provide updated situation reports to the Governor’s office.


Damage and Needs Assessment Form
Damage Assessment Field Guide