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And YES, I do know the anwser.

This was painted on my parents garage door after hurricane Ike passed though. Please tell me and the group what it means. This picture was taken 3 weeks after the storm came through.


 

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DIY RPG's
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After assessing the office and hospital, we turned from the professional sphere to the personal, and drove towards our house in Waveland. As we turned onto Jeff Davis Avenue (hey, this is Mississippi!) we saw a now-familiar sight: house after house with destruction, devastation, and the ubiquitous orange spray-painted "X." Immediately after Katrina, search-and-rescue teams went to each and every building across the Gulf Coast. The teams would tag each building (both residential and commercial) with an "X," and each quadrant of the X had a different piece of information: the date searched, the team that was there, the number of human bodies inside, and the number of dead animals (pets) inside. Fortunately, almost all of these orange Xs had zeroes or empty space in the last two fields.

from this site:
http://denverpickles.blogspot.com/2007/04/katrina-story-chapter-8-our-house.html
i don't know how solid this info is but sounds right from what i remember hearing
 

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Symbols designating # casualties, searched by whom, and wheter occupied or evacuated
Also, it is FEMA who is behind the X. They set up the teams (US&R = Urban Search & Rescue) that will search for any survivors and will see if the house is safe.
 

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Pretty much it right there. It depends on how recent it happened in relation to the searches being performed (enough time for survivors to be recovered or just bodies), and the type of disaster. They are supposed to use green (Inspected, structure sound), yellow (Restricted, up to medium damage) and red (unsafe, severely damaged and little if any exits other than the entrance) spray paint also. The different colours help easily identify how sound the structure is, but in recent times (Katrina, Rita, Ike) they are often rushed and just use other colours to make more rushed searches. These started off their life in earth quake damaged area's, and now are a common call sign for hurricane area's. Technically they follow the same law as those little inspection papers they stick to front doors of condemned buildings and can only be removed by one of the inspectors... but no one ever really does that and usually paint over them.

Usually they do quick searches for survivors in the off colours and then come back later and do more through searches (as in Katrina) and use proper colour coded tags then or proper colour coded paper search forms (same colour's used in forms) stapled to the front door (if present).

The "X" originally showed when it was searched, which task force searched it, which hazards are present, and how many victims are trapped (or dead) inside. Each task force consisted of two 31 person teams, cadaver dogs, their own gear/equipment unique to each teams needs. Now a simpler version is being used though as there are not enough structural engineers/cadaver dogs to be all over the place in such large area's.
 

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These answers are correct, however when I was in Louisiana for Hurricane IKE, FEMA told us SEVERAL times that there would be NO spray painting of ANY building. Interesting that they would do that in TX. The teams would use stickers instead.
 

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Yep, it's a method to show it has been searched by authorities, search/rescue, etc. to some level for casualties, survivors, etc. It seem every town has a different system. See all kinds around here depending on the town. Nothing nefarious going on even though the symbol is kind of spooky, it's not like the Freemasons or the Cripps dropped by. :)
 
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