Page 17 - Living with Dams

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Living with Dams: Know Your Risk | April 2012
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Funding for dam rehabilitation needs
to be a national policy priority. Just
as states often lack enforcement
authority, many dam owners lack a
reliable funding source that would
enable them to make needed repairs
and upgrades.
Most states require dam owners to
have an Emergency Action Plan (EAP)
for the dam owner to use with local
emergency management officials
in an emergency situation. The
EAP includes actions to mitigate a
potential dam failure and a failure
inundation map for local officials to
use for evacuations. While numbers
have been increasing, only about
60% of all high hazard potential dams
(those whose failure could result in
loss of life) have an EAP. All states
should have the authority to require
Inundation maps and emergency
action plans should be updated
routinely. Plans should be exercised
State dam safety regulation and the need
to increase EAPs on High-Hazard Potential
(HHP) and Significant-Hazard Potential
(SHP) dams can be impacted by the
involvement and action of citizens. Most
people enjoying a day on a lake, fishing
or camping along a stream, or hunting in
hill country never give a thought to how
they would be notified or evacuated if
an upland dam failed. There is more that
you can do as a concerned and perhaps
affected citizen or as a member of a civic
or other organization with a risk or a stake
in EAP compliance by owners of HHP and
SHP dams.
Learn the state laws and regulations
regarding dam safety and EAPs.
Follow legislative initiatives. Contact
your state legislators, state dam safety
office or aides to the governor to
learn the status of dam safety laws,
regulations and policies.
Contact your area’s city hall or county
courthouse and get to know your
local city or county Emergency
Management Coordinator (EMC). EAPs
are developed with the help of EMCs
and are on file with them.
Contact owners of dams in your area
and ask if they have completed an
EAP. Finding out who owns a dam
may not always be easy, but county
courthouse records or the Dam Safety
Program office will assist you (find
contact info
Organize with neighbors to assist
dam owners with limited resources to
help them complete their EAPs for the
health and safety benefit of all.
Knowing your risk, making sure an
EAP is in place, and evacuating when
directed by emergency response
officials are the most important steps
you can take to stay safe from a dam
For More Information
Association of State Dam Safety Officials:
Dam Safety Action:
National Dam Safety Program:
National Inventory of Dams:
American Society of Civil Engineers Infrastructure
Report Card–Dams:
FEMA FloodSmart:
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
Watershed Rehabilitation Information:
National Weather Service, River Observations and
Forecasts: http:/
The National Emergency Management
The International Association of Emergency
Find out more about the maps used to
determine flood risk:
National Flood Insurance
Program Customer Service
(888) 379-9531
TTY: (800) 427-5593
Fax: (202) 646-2818
Email Address:
Mail: FEMA, 500 C Street SW,
Washington, D.C. 20472
Contacting FEMA: For a comprehensive list
of c
se see the FEMA
FEMA publishes maps indicating a community’s
flood hazard areas and the degree of risk in those
areas. Flood insurance maps usually are on file in
a local repository in the community, such as the
planning and zoning or engineering offices in the
town hall or the county building.
In addition, you can order maps online or by
writing, phoning, or faxing a request to the FEMA
Map Assistance Center.
How Can Public Advocacy
Improve Dams Near You?