National Weather Service (2024)

Warning Decision Training Division

Office of Chief Learning Officer > Warning Decision Training Division

Welcome to the Post-Storm Damage Surveying training page. WDTD is hosting three courses: The EF Scale, The Damage Assessment Toolkit, and the comprehensive course titled Post-Storm Damage Survey Training. NOAA users: Please refer to the for estimated lesson availability and strategies for taking the courses or individual lessons within the Post-Storm Damage Survey Training Strategies Page

Training resources

  • Introduction to Damage Surveying: Web Version | LMS Version
  • The Damage Assessment Toolkit (DAT) Course:
    This course will be available as of April 2022 and is meant to be taken by NOAA employees intending to use the DAT. The goal of this course is to introduce you to using the DAT and best practices for surveying using this tool. This course is coming onboard in April and standby for further updates.
  • Content:

    • Introduction to the DAT: Web Application: Web Version | LMS Version
    • Introduction to the DAT: Mobile Application: Web Version | LMS Version
    • Damage Assessment Toolkit: Non-field Data Entry: Web Version | LMS Version
    • Using the Tools of the Damage Assessment Toolkit for Post-Damage and Pre-Damage Analysis: Web Version | LMS Version
    • The Damage Assessment Toolkit: Field Data Collection: Web Version | LMS Version
    • Tornado Track Analysis: The Tornado Vortex Centerline: Web Version | LMS Version
    • Tornado Damage Swath Analysis Techniques: EF-rating contouring and the Perimeter: Web Version | LMS Version
    • Producing Derivative Products: Web Version | LMS Version
    • Using the Damage Assessment Toolkit for Flood and Flash Flood Damage Surveys: Web Version | LMS Version
  • Stress Management for Damage Surveys Course:
    In the Critical Incident Stress Management Module (WOC Human Factors) you learned the basic signs and symptoms of Critical Incident Stress. You also identified situations where it could be experienced in the NWS and strategies you could implement to reduce the impacts of CIS. In this module, you will build upon those basic concepts and apply it to the context of performing damage surveys. We will cover both sensory exposure and navigating interactions with survivors, providing additional resources for help available to you and others. This course will be available as of April 2022 and is meant to be taken by NOAA employees.
  • Content:

    • Stress Management for Damage Surveys: Web Version | LMS Version
  • EF Scale course -

    This course gives you an introduction to the EF scale and a process to apply EF-ratings to damaged structures. This course has two lessons, two case studies and a final quiz in the LMS. The two case studies, narrated by experts in the NWS field, help you practice what you've learned in the lessons.

    In each lesson, please access the references tab (upper right) to access the link to the EF kit and the EF scale document to help you answer some of the questions.

    There are some changes since the EF-Scale training has been started in 2007. The EFkit has been improved to include more pictures and an easier interface for those using tablet PCs. The new EFkit features a front page with links to the training modules and a glossary of construction terms found in the EF-Scale Damage Indicator descriptions. Two case studies have been added as separate lessons.

    Accompanying the lessons, the EFkit is available for use in training or in the field. It is a tool to help you become more familiar with the EF scale as you take the lessons and as you conduct a real damage survey.

    NOAA employees and affiliates: To receive credit for completing the EF-Scale Training, you must take the EF-Scale course by requesting and launching the curriculum in the Commerce Learning Center!

    Please take the lessons in the order below before taking the quiz.
    1. Lesson 1: Introducing the Enhanced Fujita Scale - online
    2. Lesson 2 Damage Surveys with the Enhanced Fujita Scale - online
    3. End of course quiz in the LMS. A score of 80% is required to pass.
  • The new EFkit: A PC-based tool kit, version 2 updated 2008- 120 mb zipped file
    The legacy EFkit, version 1.1 - 8 mb zipped file.
  • Additional resources

  1. The EF-scale page at SPC -
  2. The EF-scale report by McDonald and Mehta:
  3. The Post-Storm Data Acquisition page (internal NOAA site):
  4. The Guide to F-Scale Damage Assessment:
    also at
  5. The WCM resource center at UCAR:


WDTD thanks the following for helping to develop the EF-Scale training:

  1. Steve Kuhl, MIC, NWS, Quad Cities, IA/IL
  2. Brian Smith, WCM, NWS, Valley, NE
  3. Dan McCarthy, WCM, NWS/SPC
  4. Kishor Mehta, Paul Whitfield Horn Professor, Texas Tech University
  5. Jim McDonald, Professor emeritus, Texas Tech University
  6. Greg Stumpf, NWS/MDL
  7. Tim Marshall, HAAG Engineering
  8. Michael Smith, NWS/OCWWS
  9. Chris Maier, National WCM for the NWS
  10. Don Burgess, OU/CIWRO
  11. External Reviewers: Tom Matheson (WCM - NWS MTR), Rick Smith (WCM - NWS OUN), Gary Woodall (WCM - NWS FTW), Steve Amburn (SOO - NWS TUL)

WDTD also thanks the following contributors to the DAT course

  1. Parks Camp, SOO, NWS Tallahassee, FL
  2. Lori Schultz, Research Scientist, NASA SPoRT
  3. External Reviewers: Robert LaPlante (SOO - NWS CLE), Steve Nelson (SOO - NWS FFC), David Nadler (WCM - NWS FFC), Anthony Sturey (WCM - NWS GSP), Chris Maier (National WCM)

The Post-Storm Damage Surveying training has come about into its present form after years of development that began with the adoption of the EF Scale in 2007. The EF Scale course was the first training to come out as the EF Scale was adopted. WDTD thanks Dan McCarthy (then WCM SPC) for co-authoring lesson 1, Steve Kuhl (then MIC NWS Quad Cities) and Brian Smith (WCM NWS Valley, NE) co-authored lesson 2. To develop the original EF Scale course was a result of numerous meetings between the lesson authors, the developers of the EF Scale (including Jim McDonald, Professor Emeritus of Texas Tech; Kishor Mehta, Paul Whitfield Horn Professor of Texas Tech; Tim Marshall of Haag Engineering Inc.; and Don Burgess of OU/CIWRO) and other experts in NWS damage survey operations (Chris Maier, NWS National WCM; Michael Smith then in NWS/OCWWS; and Greg Stumpf then with OU/CIWRO, NWS/MDL). The external review team greatly improved the EF Scale course including Tom Matheson (then WCM NWS/MTR; Rich Smith WCM NWS Norman; Gary Woodall, then WCM NWS FTW; and Steve Amburn, then SOO NWS Tulsa).

The next course to come about was the first iteration of the Damage Assessment Toolkit (DAT) course in 2016. The DAT was still considered experimental but there was enough usage in operations that WDTD supported developing a course. Parks Camp (SOO NWS Tallahassee, FL) and Lori Schultz (Research Scientist of NASA/SPoRT) helped co-author the lessons with me. We thank Robert LaPlante (SOO - NWS CLE), Steve Nelson (SOO - NWS FFC), David Nadler (WCM - NWS FFC), Anthony Sturey (WCM - NWS GSP), and Chris Maier (National WCM) for their reviews of this course. However the number of years of this version of the DAT was limited as its programming environment, Adobe FLASH, was due to be terminated.

In 2021 the DAT officially was elevated into an operational system, and at the same time, it became embedded in the ESRI Arcmap server environment, including both a web browser and the Survey 123 mobile data collection tool. In addition, the supporting guidance environment changed and the DAT acquired a new capability to archive flooding events. Owing to these significant changes and its upward step into becoming part of the NWS operational environment, the NWS established developing a new DAT course to be a high priority. WDTD developed a new team to help create the DAT course that we have today. Jill Hardy and Katy Christian authored the lesson “Using the Damage Assessment Toolkit for Flood and Flash Flood Damage Surveys”. Kevin Grempler authored the lessons titled “Using the Tools of the DAT for Post-Damage and Pre-Damage Analysis”, and “Producing Derivative Products”. Chris Spannagle authored the lessons titled “Introduction to the DAT: Web Application”, and “Introduction to the DAT: Mobile Application”, and “Damage Assessment Toolkit: Non-field Data Entry”. Jim LaDue authored the lessons titled “The Damage Asssessment Toolkit: Field Data Collection”, “Tornado Track Analysis: The Tornado Vortex Centerline”, and “Tornado Damage Swath Analysis: EF-rating Contouring and the Perimeter”.

The DAT 2021 course developers had a supporting group of experts and reviewers that included Parks Camp, Rick Smith, Kevin Skow, Doug Speheger for the wind damage-related DAT lessons. Meanwhile, DAT flood lesson development was supported by Amanda Schroeder, Dustin Jordan, Edward Plumb, Emily Stephan, Jeff Colton, Jeffry Evans, Jonathan Brazzell, Katie Landry, Louise Fode, W. Scott Lincoln and Scott Overpeck.

At the same time as the DAT 2021 development, a separate team was developing a new course on a previously overlooked aspect of damage surveying, Stress Management. Christina Crowe of OCLO’s Leadership Academy led the development of a course titled “Stress Management for Damage Surveys”. This course complements similar courses on incident stress management and fills a much needed gap in damage survey training in general. WDTD acknowledges the team that assisted in its development and review including Rick Smith, Robyn Heffernan, Ryan Husted, Shawn Jacobs, Megan Taylor, Jill Hardy, Barb Boustead, Valarie Gardner, Cathy Burgdorf, Chris Spannagle, Dave Snider, Jeff Zeltwanger, Katy Christian, and Patrick Gilchrist.

These courses have satisfied the needs of the NWS and yet the training suite was missing a key component of post-storm damage survey training, an introduction to damage surveying. In 2021 and 2022, Jim LaDue developed a lesson titled “Introduction to Damage Surveying”. WDTD thanks the following people for helping improve this lesson: Barb Boustead (WDTD), Rick Smith, Kevin Skow (NWS LaCrosse), Lonnie Fisher (NWS Northern Indiana), Chris Maier, and Doug Speheger (NWS Norman).

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