NCBIA’s Disaster Assistance Response Team may be one of the first safety evaluation teams to arrive in the event of a natural or man-made disaster. The Team will be conducting rapid evaluation inspections generally requiring 10-30 minutes for each property. The team would be responsible for determining quickly if a building is safe enough to occupy, and if not, to decide what restrictions to place on its use or re-entry. The results of the inspection will be documented and an appropriate placard placed near the entrance to the building that indicates the building is Unsafe (RED), Restricted (YELLOW), or safe to occupy (GREEN). Additionally, the information collected on damaged structures will be utilized to assist property owners and communities in their recovery efforts.

D.A.R.T. FAQ's

Q: What is the DART program?

A: DART stands for Disaster Assistance Response Team. Effectively it is inspectors helping other inspectors following an emergency. This is a county-based program supervised by the Office of State Fire Marshal (OSFM) through the Web EOC process. Essentially a municipality in need would request assets through their county EM coordinator. The Web EOC request for inspector assistance is made to the Office of State Fire Marshal (OSFM). The request is then forwarded to representatives of the North Carolina Building Inspectors Association (NCBIA), who contact team leaders in the region that was unaffected by the disaster. Upon filling the request, the team leaders inform their personnel to contact OSFM for further deployment instructions.

Q: What type of Inspections am I doing ?

A: Inspectors will be doing post-disaster inspections to determine habitability. The role of NCBIA’s DART team is not to conduct code inspection but rather quick assessment safety evaluation of buildings impacted by a disaster.

Q: Is the jurisdiction reimbursed?

A: As long as the request comes through the county EM coordinator and is placed on Web EOC, it will be assigned a mission number. Typically any task with a mission number is a reimbursable activity. However, the responding county/city will not be seeking reimbursement from FEMA. Since the responding county is not the “declared” or affected county, their request for reimbursement is sent to the county/city for which they provided assistance. The affected county that received the assistance pays the responding county/city that the DART member works for. The DART member must seek reimbursement in accordance with the established practice in the county/city they are employed. The county/city that requested the assistance will turn their expenses in to FEMA and the state Emergency Management Division for reimbursement under the PA program. If a disaster is declared, the reimbursement will come from FEMA, if not then a partial reimbursement may come from the state.

Q: What form does the county/city I’m employed by use to submit for reimbursement?

A: In an attempt to make reimbursement requests uniform for the DART teams, NCBIA has been provided with the state estimation forms for reimbursement. These forms may be utilized by counties/cities to request reimbursement from the jurisdiction for which assistance was provided.

Q: What is a mission number?

A: A mission number is assigned to a task entered into Web EOC. Without a mission number, the operation is occurring without the knowledge of Emergency Management or OSFM and would subsequently not be tracked. DART members should never activate for a mission without a Mission Number. OSFM will not deploy DART without a mission number, and responding counties should be aware that without the mission number, they are acting with no assurance or documentation of performing a reimbursable activity.

Q: What am I expected to do pre-deployment?

A: The DART member is required to get all clearances from management to deploy before the disaster occurs and the request for assistance is made. Once a call for deployment is received by OSFM, there cannot be a waiting period for clearance from county managers or supervisory staff to respond. All permissions should be received prior to the disaster, pack a bag the day before and carry it to work with you if it is a forecasted disaster (such as a flood or hurricane). A slight lag time in response is expected when the disaster is not forecasted.

Q: Where will I report when asked to help?

A: OSFM will have the deployment information for all responding personnel. All responders must check in with the OSFM coordinator as required. Contact information for the OSFM coordinator will be provided previous to your departure.

Q: What equipment do I need?

A: The DART team will be supplied with most equipment that will be used. Any necessary equipment from the responding county is covered under the mission and may be billable back to the requesting county. Any equipment damaged or destroyed during deployment shall be billed to the requesting county, which should request reimbursement from FEMA for the equipment.

Q: What level of certifications and training do I need, Level 1, 2 or 3?

A: The requesting county/city will specify what level inspector is required. It is possible to be deployed as a Level I inspector, but chances of deployment increase as the level of inspector increases. Specialized DART training in damage assessment will be provided to the team members.

Q: What inspection forms do I need to identify issues?

A: Forms will be provided by NCBIA or OSFM and utilize the ATC45 format for documentation. Additionally, NCBIA or OSFM will provide the placards used during an event.

Q: Will I be performing non-emergency functions (i.e. completing standard inspections for the jurisdiction)?

A: Under no circumstances should any DART team member perform activities that are not disaster-related. The only work that is reimbursable by FEMA is disaster-related work. If you are requested by the requesting county to perform standard permit inspections unrelated to the mission number and subsequently unrelated to storm damage, the DART team member should inform the requesting county representative that they must contact the OSFM coordinator prior to you being re-tasked.

Q: Where will I stay at night?

A: Overnight accommodations are ultimately the responsibility of the requesting county. Accommodations can be obtained by a representative of the responding county or inspector as long as it is within reasonable travel distance (less than 60 miles) to the work station. The OSFM coordinator can be contacted for possible information on the closest available lodging locations.

Q: Do I need to drive my own car?

A: The responding county should provide a vehicle for the DART team member. Resources such as vehicles are typically not readily available in disaster areas. Requesting counties will be expecting the DART team member to come fully equipped including a vehicle.

Q: How does the workers comp work?

A: Workers Comp Insurance is expected to be provided by the county the DART member is employed by, despite responding to a different location. Policies are expected to cover a redeployed employee regardless of their geographical location as long as the injury is work-related.

Q: Who do I contact for more information?

A: Contacts for DART team membership will be provided through the North Carolina Building Inspectors Association (NCBIA). A primary team leader and regional team leaders will also be provided by NCBIA and can be found on our website at https://ncbia.org.

Q: How do I prepare for a possible deployment?

A: As discussed earlier, get pre-approval from all administration and management staff necessary. As part of the DART team, access to flooded areas will be a likely event. A Hepatitis vaccine, tetanus, and any other hazardous duty vaccines should be kept up to date in case of deployment. The DART member should pack a ready bag and contact their individual team leader to indicate they are a deployable resource. Team leaders should keep a list of members volunteering for the event.