Damage Assessments Are Important… Really

Deric Shea

Learn the importance and value of good damage assessments in the disaster relief space.

Ever been on a Strike Team where you arrive to a house only to find you don’t have the tools needed for the job?  Maybe you arrive to find a work order that consists of a few drywall cuts instead of a full muck out.  Maybe you were on a saw team and after you arrived, you found you needed a Sawyer 2 to get started, but you only had Sawyer 1s on the team. Have you ever wrapped up a job, called in for your next assignment and been told to standby? Meanwhile, you’re chopping at the bit to get going.

Have you ever been assigned to a Damage Assessment team and said to yourself “Damn, I wish I got picked to do real work so I could get shit done!”?

Good Damage Assessments play a key role in preventing the type of situations referenced above and are fundamental to preventing the garbage in/garbage out scenarios many of us have seen. They frame the job so the Command Staff and Strike Team Leaders have the information they need to get the right teams with the right equipment to the right places.  Damage Assessments give a sense of the size and scope of the tasks to be completed so that the Command Staff can more effectively schedule Work Orders making sure you’ve got your next job when you need it.

Good assessments aren’t easy and they take time. They also highlight unusual circumstances or dangers so that teams stay safer. Greyshirts conducting damage assessments are often the first contact the impacted residents have with Team Rubicon and it’s our opportunity to give hope to those that have been devastated and feel hopeless.

Part of doing good Damage Assessments is using Palantir.  At times, it may seem cumbersome and sometimes you may not fully understand what all the fields are for, but taking care and providing lots of detail really helps the process.  When you’ve got tens or hundreds of Leads and Work Orders, Palantir beats a wall of sticky notes every time and with each revision the software gets better. Palantir is all about getting the right information to the right people.

The bottom line is that great Damage Assessments codified in Palantir are real work that start the flow of jobs and help us be safe, get shit done, and serve communities in need in the wake of a disaster.

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