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Updated Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA) Guide

If you want a presidential declaration, you have to do a PDA.

by Eric Holdeman / May 18, 2020

While the rest of the emergency management world was responding to COVID-19, the wheels at FEMA were continuing to turn. One aspect was the production of a new PDA guide. Links below provide information on the guide itself and also announces multiple opportunities for webinars to attend on what the new guide says.

There are bound to be changes!

FEMA Releases Updated Preliminary Damage Assessment Guide

Updated Guide Is Effective June 8, 2020

FEMA announces the release of the agency’s updated Preliminary Damage Assessment Guide (PDA Guide) and its accompanying Preliminary Damage Assessment Pocket Guide (PDA Pocket Guide). The PDA Guide will be effective on June 8, 2020 and will have a one-year public comment period until June 8, 2021. The purpose of the public comment period is to give state, local, tribal, and territorial government partners and stakeholders who participate in preliminary damage assessments (PDAs) an opportunity to provide feedback to FEMA on the PDA process.

The PDA Guide and its accompanying PDA Pocket Guide establish a framework for how emergency management officials, at every level of government, document and validate details of damage following a disaster. The guide includes a concept of operations, defined roles and responsibilities, recommended methodologies and the documentation and data required to validate damage. The PDA Guide supersedes FEMA’s 2016 Damage Assessment Operations Manual.

Find the PDA Guide and PDA Pocket Guide and comment matrices on the FEMA website: Preliminary Damage Assessment Guide | Use the appropriate comment matrix and submit comments to

Webinars Offered

Please join one of FEMA’s three webinar opportunities to learn more about the PDA Guide:

May 26, 2020, 14:00 EDT

May 27, 2020, 14:00 EDT

May 28, 2020, 14:00 EDT

Captioning will be available on the webinar. If you need a copy of the webinar PowerPoint, please provide details on the registration page or contact us at

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