Florida Governor Rick Scott talks to a local resident in Live Oak Thursday as state workers take core samples on Warren Street S.W. next to Big Wheel Market Place which was declared to be too dangerous for occupation due to the ground sinking. The Courthouse and annex at to the right, out of view. (LakeCityJournal.com photo)
TALLAHASSEE –The State Emergency Response Team (SERT) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will begin joint preliminary damage assessments (PDA) on Friday to survey damage caused by Tropical Storm Debby. As of 5 p.m. Wednesday, Debby lost all tropical characteristics and river flooding remains the primary concern of emergency response efforts.
“Flooding events require long term coordination by emergency management agencies and the SERT will continue to respond to protect life safety and transition into long term recovery when appropriate,” said Governor Scott. “I’m confident in the capabilities of the state and local emergency management teams as well as our private and nonprofit partners to ensure Florida remains the best place to live, work and play.”
Ten Public Assistance and ten Individual Assistance teams composed of SERT and FEMA representatives are coordinating with local emergency management agencies on plans to assess damage in impacted communities. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will also deploy three beach specialty PDA teams to assess coastal damage. The purpose of preliminary damage assessments is to verify the severity of the impact and justify the need to pursue a request for federal assistance.
Individual Assistance PDAs are conducted in order to guide State response efforts, assess the need for federal assistance and estimate disaster impact to businesses, individuals and families. Individual Assistance PDA teams are deployed to disaster sites to evaluate damages specifically to homes and businesses. The determination to provide Individual Assistance is based upon several factors, including but not limited to, concentration and level of damages, trauma, special populations, lack of available voluntary agency assistance, underinsured or uninsured population and recent multiple disasters.
Preliminary Damage Assessments are initiated by county emergency management agencies. Individuals who have experienced disaster-related damage to homes or businesses should call the local county Emergency Management Office to receive disaster-related information and to document damages.
The objective of the FEMA's Public Assistance Grant Program is to provide assistance to state, tribal, local governments and certain types of private non-profit organizations so that communities can quickly respond to and recover from major disasters or emergencies declared by the president. In Florida, the damage threshold for federal disaster relief assistance is more than $25 million.
Visitwww.FloridaDisaster.org/recovery for details about the damage assessment process and types of assistance that may be available.
Due to the impacts of Tropical Storm Debby, Governor Rick Scott signed Executive Order 12-140, declaring a statewide state of emergency on Monday afternoon. The State Emergency Operations Center is operating at a Level One, full activation.
For additional information on response to and recovery from Tropical Storm Debby, call the Florida Emergency Information Line at 1-800-342-3557. The Atlantic Hurricane Season runs from June 1 – November 30. To GET A PLAN! visitwww.FloridaDisaster.org. For the latest information on the 2012 Hurricane Season, follow us on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/flsert and on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/FloridaSERT.