On The Road With PDA Teams in Contra Costa County

Preliminary Damage Assessment teams are scouring counties all over California, trying to tally the cost of damage to public infrastructure during the storms in February.  For the governor to declare a state of emergency, and for a possible presidential disaster proclamation and receive financial help from the federal government, the state must know what reasonable damage and repair cost estimates are. Both state and federal representatives conduct PDA’s. In the video below we shadow one PDA Team in Contra Costa County (we want to thank them for allowing us to tag along, and for their patience with us.)

Once all the data has been compiled by federal teams (FEMA), it’s turned over to Cal OES, which compares it to their own data.  It is important to remember that PDA teams do not determine whether a major disaster declaration will be issued.

The information that is collected is provided to the state for the governor to determine if he or she will request federal assistance. If the Governor believes the damages “are beyond state and local capabilities,” he or she will submit the written request to the President and specify the type of assistance needed and which counties are affected. It is important to remember that FEMA assistance is supplementary in nature and will only be authorized when a disaster is of the severity and magnitude to be beyond the effective response of the state and affected local governments. Moreover, legally, FEMA cannot duplicate assistance received through any other source including insurance or other federal programs.

To be considered eligible for federal assistance, you need to apply with FEMA once a declaration has been made – either by calling our toll-free number (Call (800) 621-3362 / TTY (800) 462-7585) or registering on our full website or mobile site.

We understand that dealing with the aftermath of a disaster is a stressful and trying time, and we hope that you will never need to go through the process of assessing and reporting damages. The true fact is that disasters happen, and every bit of knowledge we have about the process arms us all in a way to make the recovery just maybe a small bit easier.

Proclamation Process & Initial Damage Assessments


Emergency Proclamations Reference Guide


Individual Assistance







Shawn Boyd

Shawn Boyd joined Cal OES as a public information officer in 2014 after a 20-year career in television news as a reporter, anchor and executive producer. He's a Cal State Sacramento alum and former US Navy yeoman and Air Force brat.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: