An official-looking entourage of emergency personnel wearing navy windbreakers and carrying clipboards arrived at a home on Parkway Boulevard Saturday to inspect damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.
The group consisted of South Whitehall Emergency Management Coordinator Jeff Kelly, Jim Myers of FEMA, Melissa Hobaugh of SBA, Ron Rutt of Lehigh County Emergency Services and a PEMA representative. On Saturday afternoon they were on their last South Whitehall stop before moving on to another township.
The visits to damaged properties were part of a FEMA process known as Preliminary Damage Assessment or PDA. Kelly picked properties based on information homeowners gave the township late last week.
On Nov. 2, South Whitehall issued a request asking homeowners to call in and report all damages.
"The amount of damage seen during the PDA can determine whether or not a disaster area can be declared," said Rutt. "If it is, then FEMA can set up an office and help organize all the local agencies."
Rutt said he hopes FEMA declares an emergency because county and local resources have been stretched thin.
"For instance - we've been looking for generators but everyone is out," Rutt said.
FEMA is the Federal Emergency Management Agency, SBA is the U.S. Small Business Administration and PEMA is the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.