ALPINE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — The storms that hit West Michigan in August are long gone, but efforts to add up the damage continue.
Tuesday, a team of local, state and federal disaster relief specialist visited some of the area’s hardest hit areas.
“Going through a storm like this is pretty traumatic situation,” said Michigan State Police Emergency Management-Homeland Security Lieutenant Orville Theaker.
Wallingford Drive in Comstock Park was among the neighborhoods Theaker and his team visited. Wallingford was in the path of the August tornado that cut a swath of damage from Walker to Rockford.
“We look at how much damage the structures have sustained, and that’s really the data we’re collecting, as well as all the tree debris that has fallen and things of that nature,” said Theaker.
He and the crew are part of a Joint Preliminary Damage Assessment team.
“It’s where we invite our federal partners and state partners to come in to conduct damage assessment,” said Theaker.
The assessment effort actually started the day after the storm.
Local emergency management teams got their first look at the damage, sharing it with state and federal partners.
“We’re going around and we’re just validating that information that they were able to collect back a little bit closer to the event,” said Theaker.
“FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) will produce a report for us. Other state officials will review that information and then they’ll make a determination … ultimately the governor will make a determination whether she will request federal assistance or not.”
One key to finding damage and making these surveys complete is self-reporting.
“We utilize that self-report information to be able to help us know where the hard-hit areas are,” said Theaker.
Many counties, like Kent, have self-reporting apps listed on their web and social media pages.