Broward County is introducing a new Home Damage Assessment Program that encourages residents to help quickly identify areas of devastation after a hurricane by reporting damage to their own home, even before damage assessment teams are able to canvass the County. It's easy for residents to participate, and a great service to the community.
Here's how it works:
1. Before the storm, visit www.broward.org/hurricane and click HOME DAMAGE ASSESSMENT PROGRAM. Print the series of four photos depicting various levels of damage and flooding. Keep the photo page with other important documents in your hurricane kit.
2. After the storm passes and it's safe to go outdoors, survey the damage to your home.
3. Compare your home to the four photos, and pick the number of the photo that best represents the condition of your home for damage level and/or flood level. It doesn't matter if you live in a single family home, condo, townhouse, apartment, duplex or mobile home.
• Damage Level 1 - No or minor damage; habitable
• Damage Level 2 - Major damage; habitable
• Damage Level 3 - Major damage; uninhabitable
• Damage Level 4 - Destroyed
• Flood Level 5 - Street
• Flood Level 6 - Home
4. If you do not have power or Internet access, you can phone in your report to the Broward County Hurricane Hotline. Call 3-1-1 and provide your street address, city and zip code, and the number of the picture that best represents the level of damage to your home.
5. If you still have power and access to the Internet (or if cell phone service is available and you have a cell phone with Internet service), you can report your damage online. Visit www.broward.org/hurricane and click HOME DAMAGE ASSESSMENT PROGRAM.
Remember, you must have access to the photos to make a report, as Hurricane Hotline call takers will only be able to accept damage and flood level numbers, not descriptions.
"Resident reports do not constitute a request for individual assistance and do not replace the normal grid-by-grid assessments performed by County assessment teams," said Broward County Emergency Management Agency director Chuck Lanza, "but they are an excellent tool to assist first responders in identifying areas with the greatest recovery needs, enabling a quicker, more targeted response."
As an added plus for South Florida emergency responders, a similar program using the same photographs is also in place for Miami-Dade County.