First Environment was retained through a subcontract to provide damage assessments of private residences and businesses damaged by Hurricane Sandy for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The project is part of a task order contract issued by FEMA under its Hazard Mitigation Technical Assistance Program (HMTAP) that provides damage assessment and technical support services throughout the U.S. First Environment was tasked to provide technical assistance to FEMA under its Substantial Damage Estimations (SDE) program where we inspected individual structures for damage. We then quantified the damage as a percentage of the assessed value of the structure prior to Hurricane Sandy’s landfall in October 2012.
First Environment’s damage assessment teams consisted of experienced structural engineers and emergency management personnel who have been tasked by FEMA to quantify the storm damage to the homes so that a financial estimate of the damages could be calculated. Damage estimates range from 0% to 100% with the more destructive storm surges coming in unprotected areas both by the ocean and the bay sides of many shore areas. The FEMA HMTAP contract required a rapid response with a six- to seven-day per week, 12-hour per day commitment from First Environment’s project staff. Three thousand homes were scheduled for inspection during the months of May-August 2013. Because of the aggressive rapid deployment schedule, the work was able to be completed one month ahead of schedule, which allowed FEMA to move into additional phases of the assessment ahead of its August 31, 2013 deadline.