- There are 79,500 dams in the United States,
according to the 2005 update to the National Inventory
of Dams. Approximately one third of these pose a "high"
or "significant" hazard to life and property if failure
- Dam failure or levee breeches can occur with little
warning. Intense storms may produce a flood in a few
hours or even minutes for upstream locations. Flash
floods occur within six hours of the beginning of heavy
rainfall, and dam failure may occur within hours of the
first signs of breaching.
- Other failures and breeches can take much longer to
occur, from days to weeks, as a result of debris jams or
the accumulation of melting snow.
How can I
protect myself from dam failure?·
Ways to Plan Ahead
Know your risk.
Do you live downstream from a dam?
Once you determine that you live downstream from a
high-hazard or significant-hazard potential dam and find
out who owns the dam, see if a current EAP is in place
for the dam. An EAP is a formal document that identifies
potential emergency conditions at a dam and specifies
preplanned actions to be followed to reduce property
damage and loss of life. An EAP specifies actions the
dam owner should take to take care of problems at the
dam. It also includes steps to assist the dam owner in
issuing early warning and notification messages to
responsible downstream emergency management authorities
of the emergency.
Is the dam a high-hazard or significant-hazard potential
To find out, contact your state or county emergency
management agency or visit the
National Inventory of Dams (NID) or the
Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO).
If there is a dam failure or an imminent dam failure and
you need to evacuate.
Know your evacuation route and get out of harm's way.
In general, evacuation planning and implementation are
the responsibility of the state and local officials
responsible for your safety.
What to do during a flood:
Please see Floods.
What to do after a flood:
Please see Floods.
Any Additional questions? Please click the logo to the
left to learn more.