Friday, November 7, 2014

Red Cross Damage Assessment Training

By 2d Lt Karin Hollerbach, photos by Lt Col Juan Tinnirello

1st Lt Chavez
Home Land Security Officer
On 21 October, Squadron 188 hosted the Red Cross in delivering a Detailed Damage Assessment Training, aka Windshield Assessment Training.  The class was organized by 1st Lt Alvaro Chavez and taught by Go Funai, Disaster Program Manager, Alameda, from the Red Cross.

The purpose of the class was to train CAP members in performing effective damage assessments.  In this course, we learned how to:
  • Perform a Detailed Damage Assessment (DDA)
  • Describe safety precautions to take while performing a DDA
  • Learn how to complete a “Street Sheet”
  • Identify criteria for each damage classification category
  • Describe and classify damaged dwellings

CAP has a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Red Cross, and CAP members may be called upon to support and/or work together with the Red Cross in disaster relief missions. A DDA is normally conducted from a slow-moving vehicle or on foot. In addition, in the context of CAP’s airborne photography (AP) missions, this training will help provide perspective on what to look for when performing disaster relief missions from the air. 

Go Funai, Red Cross
According to the Red Cross, a disaster assessment mission helps to provide decision-making information for a disaster relief operation, and supports effective service delivery through the gathering, analysis, interpretation and distribution of accurate and timely information. 

In disaster relief missions, the Red Cross conducts Impact Assessments, Preliminary Damage Assessments and Detailed Damage Assessments.  This class was specifically about the Preliminary Damage Assessment, in which a preliminary estimate is made of the number of dwellings affected, and each affected dwelling is categorized according to the extent and scope of the damage. 

The 5 damage classifications discussed in the training included:
  1. Inaccessible – unsafe to enter the area, or there is standing water or impassible access routes
  2. Affected – cosmetic damage, e.g., some shingles or siding missing, dwelling is livable without repairs 
  3. Minor – minor structural damage, e.g., damage to small sections of roof, several broken windows, large portions of roofing materials and/or siding missing, penetration damage without structural damage 
  4. Major – large portions of roofing material missing or debris penetration, one or two walls missing, slight twisting or bowing of mobile home frame, forceful penetration of walls with debris
  5. Destroyed – total collapse, residence has shifted on the foundation, not economically feasible to repair, mobile home collapsed or turned over, frame buckled or significantly twisted

A “good description” in the damage assessment is one that contains evidence and data: percentages (“50% of roof shingles missing”) and counts (“2 windows broken”) are most effective. 

In the class, we practiced describing and then classifying based on our descriptions 20 different damaged residences (from photographs, for in-class training purposes). 

The class was attended by members of squadrons from throughout Group 2.

Participants in the Red Cross training course, hosted by Squadron 188.

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