ST. PAUL — Preliminary Damage Assessments (PDAs) will begin tomorrow to assess storm damage in 13 counties and the Fond du Lac tribal nation.
Four teams composed of federal officials from FEMA, state officials from the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) and local officials will tour the following affected areas:
Tuesday: Cook County, Crow Wing County, Dakota County and Sibley County
Wednesday: Lake County, Aitkin County, Goodhue County, Meeker County, Kandiyohi County
Thursday: St. Louis County, Carlton County, Rice County and Pine County
Friday: Fond du Lac Tribal Nation
“It’s important for the water to have receded and enough debris cleared away for the teams to access the areas they need to see,” said Kris Eide, Director of HSEM.
The preliminary damage assessment is the first step in determining if Governor Mark Dayton will make a request for a presidential declaration of disaster:
- Local and state officials conduct an initial impact assessment.
This began last week when HSEM engineers met with local officials to identify facilities impacted, damage, impacts to the communities and their demographics.
- HSEM requests FEMA to conduct a preliminary damage assessment.
Teams from the affected county, HSEM and FEMA conduct the assessment. They view the damage and collect the cost estimates from county officials. The teams review local emergency response records, American Red Cross records if individual homes are involved in the assessment, and compile figures for all affected counties. If the damage exceeds the federally determined damage threshold of $7.2 million statewide, the process continues.
- HSEM prepares the governor’s request for a disaster declaration.
Letter details the event and cites National Weather Service data. It must document factors that determine severity, magnitude and impact. It also documents what local officials did to respond to the emergency.
Local input regarding impact to the community is gathered and incorporated in the letter. This includes the amount and type of damage, impact on infrastructure, impact on essential services, concentration of damage, level of insurance coverage, assistance available from other sources, and if there is an imminent threat to public health and safety.
- Governor submits the letter to the president through FEMA.
FEMA reviews and sends the letter, with its recommendation to the president.
The president is the only one with authority to grant a Presidential Disaster Declaration. If assistance programs are approved, HSEM officials work in partnership with FEMA to assistance disaster victims in their application for funds.
The preliminary damage assessments conducted this week will focus on Public Assistance which is federal money to repair damage to public buildings, certain roads, sidewalks and other infrastructure as well as reimburse for debris removal and emergency response costs.
Home and business owners in all affected counties should report damage to their county emergency managers so officials can begin to determine the extent of damage to private property. Visit the Minnesota Recovers page www.minnesotarecovers.org