|One of the houses we looked at in Bay County.|
A state disaster declaration was issued June 24 for Midland and Isabella counties to allow state dollars to be used in cleanup efforts. U.S. Rep. John Moolenaar and several other officials asked Gov. Rick Snyder to seek federal emergency aid. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said federal assistance was needed to help families recover.
I was a member of a team sent into Bay County, July 5 to July 9, that visually inspected homes whose owners had called the county to be put on a list of damaged property. Our team, like the teams in other counties, used an unmarked black state-owned Suburban vehicle, driven by a state trooper. The trooper made initial contact with the owners we visited.
In addition to the state trooper, our team consisted of two FEMA analysts and two analysts from the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division. We also had a county deputy sheriff with us to provide directions.
|Sitting alongside the state trooper driving our Suburban.|
What we were doing is officially called a joint preliminary damage assessment. Homes we looked at were rated as being destroyed, having major or minor damage, or unaffected. None of the houses we inspected were rated destroyed. Several were listed as having major damage. Most were considered as having minor damage or being unaffected. From what I saw, the majority of houses had what I call "squishy basement carpet." If the reports that were compiled from the four counties meet the threshold set by the U.S. government, then the governor will officially request federal assistance. The request would be given to the administrator of FEMA, forwarded to the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security and then given to the president for consideration.