ORLANDO, Fla. -- At the request of the State of Florida, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Preliminary Damage Assessment Team (PDA) members were deployed at 8 a.m. today to Volusia and Pasco Counties which were struck by tornados on Christmas Day. FEMA received the request Dec. 26 shortly after 5 p.m.
Joint PDA teams, led by county emergency managers, include local and state officials as well as representatives of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and FEMA. The teams will visit and inspect damaged areas and document the findings.
“This is a partnership effort designed to provide a clear picture of the extent and locations of damage to primary residences, businesses and infrastructure,” said Scott R. Morris, director of FEMA’s Florida Long-Term Recovery.
At the state’s request, the Florida Long-Term Recovery Office (FLTRO) deployed two individual assistance teams and three public assistance teams to Volusia County. One individual assistance team was deployed to Pasco County. FLTRO also sent a debris specialist to each county to proactively assess and anticipate any debris removal needs.
The state will review the information gathered during the assessments. If the state determines the damage exceeds state and local resources it may seek a presidential declaration by submitting a written request to the President through the FEMA regional office, which will recommend a course of action.
FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident, initiates mitigation activities and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA works closely with state and local emergency managers, law enforcement personnel, firefighters and other first responders. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.