Our ground operations team is an essential component of disaster relief efforts, focused on conducting ground-level search and rescue missions, as well as collecting critical information. Our team utilizes the FEMA windshield assessment approach, which involves gathering data and observations from the perspective of individuals on the ground. We also rely on the Field Survey app, formerly known as ArcGIS Survey123, to efficiently and accurately collect and analyze data. This technology allows us to quickly gather and interpret information, such as mapping out affected areas and identifying priority needs for relief efforts. Our focus on ground-level operations and utilizing innovative tools and techniques allows us to effectively support relief efforts in challenging and dynamic environments.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides a useful tool for emergency management professionals. This tool is known as the Windshield Assessment, and it helps assess the nature and extent of damage caused by a disaster. In this guide, we'll explain why a windshield assessment is so important and how you can conduct one quickly and effectively.
What is a FEMA Windshield Assessment?
The FEMA Windshield Assessment is an inspection process that allows responders to assess disaster-related damage without entering buildings. It involves driving around an affected area and noting the conditions of structures, roadways, utility poles, vehicles, etc. By recording what they see, responders can better identify areas in need of assistance and prioritize resources accordingly.
How to Conduct a Windshield Assessment
Conducting a windshield assessment requires thorough preparation. Before heading out into the field, responders should review all available data on the disaster's location and scope of damage. They should also develop an incident action plan that outlines their objectives for the assessment, any safety protocols they will follow in the field, and any resources or personnel that might be needed during the assessment period.
Once these preparations are complete, responders can begin conducting their windshield assessments. During each assessment period, our responders will record their observations electronically using the ESRI Field Survey application as they drive through affected areas. When possible, photos should be taken to document conditions more accurately. Responders should note whether roads are closed due to debris or flooding; if there are downed power lines; if homes have been damaged; or if there are other signs of destruction such as broken windows or collapsed walls. All observed data will be collected so that it can be used in real time to create action plans for relief efforts. After completing their initial assessments, responders will perform follow up inspections of an affected area to ensure up to date situational awareness of the evolving disaster.
A FEMA Windshield Assessment is an invaluable tool for emergency management professionals who are tasked with assessing damage caused by natural disasters such as floods or hurricanes quickly and efficiently without putting themselves in danger by entering affected buildings or properties directly. By following this comprehensive guide to conducting a windshield assessment—gathering all available information before beginning your journey; carefully observing conditions in the field; documenting data thoroughly; and performing multiple inspections—you can ensure that your team has all the necessary information needed to create effective action plans for relief efforts following a major disaster event!