Preliminary Damage Assessments are conducted to enable FEMA, as well as state, local, tribal, and territorial partners to determine the magnitude of damage and impact of disasters. The process starts at the local level where damage details are initially collected, shared and validated by State, Tribal, and Territorial authorities. The state, tribe or territory generally has 30 days from the start of the incident to determine whether or not federal assistance in the form of FEMA Individual Assistance, Public Assistance or other federal programs may be necessary. Not every incident will result in the need for a PDA or federal assistance. Extensions may be granted upon request.
If the incident is of a severity and magnitude that resources needed to recover are expected to exceed local and state or tribal government capability, the director of the state or tribal emergency management agency may request a Joint PDA from the appropriate FEMA Regional Administrator to validate damage and evaluate impact. This request should include any counties or Tribal lands to be assessed, and will begin discussion on the general timeline for the Joint PDA.
Once a request for a Joint PDA is made, a summary of the information verified by the State or Tribal emergency management should be provided to the FEMA Regional Recovery Division. FEMA programmatic representatives should coordinate with State or Tribal emergency management to discuss the information submitted, determine team requirements, establish a PDA briefing time and location and develop an overall PDA coordination plan.