The damage assessment program was developed in 1991 in cooperation with a number of individuals and municipalities. The programs intent was to establish a formal process using the disciplines of the Incident Command System as a means to ensure peak efficiency, accurate and uniform data collection, safety, and security. The program was tested in a live deployment in 1992 following the Big Bear-Landers (California) 7.3 earthquake in the rural mountains of Southern California. The highlight of the operation was that a small group of trained individuals conducted over 800 damage assessment 360 reviews in one 9-hour operational period. The damage assessment 360 review was performed days after the initial windshield survey. A 360 review is a walk around of each structure within the assigned area ensuring exterior damage is documented.
In 1992 digital maps were generally unavailable. Use of commercially aviable maps were integrated into the process covering each division's assigned area which covered many miles of rural roads.
Each assigned division included sub assigned teams. One key to efficiency was that every division and team was tracked and in continual communication with the field command post via 2-way radios.
The plan utilized in the 1992 earthquake was refined and subsequently tested in the City of Anaheim (California) following a suburban hillside community experiencing a slow-moving landslide. The program evolution is illustrated below in the form of sample (actual) assignment documents:
Due to the difficult nature of the assignment and the numerous instruments within the area measuring ground movement, the city also required the American Red Cross teams to utilize the formal damage assessment plan to deploy personnel and collect data. In keeping with the plan, all personnel assigned were required to attend a formal briefing which included the information guide (below) along with their assigned areas and radio channels.
For a complete view of the original program which remains the core process used today visit the link button below.
A Modern Approach