failures occur every year in this country. Dams may fail on
first filling, after a heavy storm, during maintenance efforts, or suddenly
after 100 years of “safe” operation. In an event that may stress your dam
(hurricane, heavy rain, earthquake, etc.), an effective and up-to-date
Emergency Action Plan (EAP) is a critical tool for high and significant hazard
dam owners, dam safety officials, and emergency response personnel.
EAP can save lives and protect property. A well prepared EAP will provide
details regarding emergency triggers; monitoring of the dam during flood
events; incident mitigation methods; communication protocols; incident command
duties; and perhaps most importantly, the information necessary to determine
where the at-risk population downstream of the dam is located, and how to
safely evacuate those persons.
An effective EAP can save lives and protect property. A well
prepared EAP will provide details regarding emergency triggers; monitoring of
the dam during flood events; incident mitigation methods; communication
protocols; incident command duties; and perhaps most importantly, the
information necessary to determine where the at-risk population downstream of
the dam is located, and how to safely evacuate those persons.
Know your risk. There are nearly 600 dams located throughout
Maryland, and many more smaller dams/ponds. Do you live downstream from a dam?
Is the dam a high-hazard or significant-hazard potential dam?
Review the current Emergency Action Plan (EAP) for the dam. Owners
of High and Significant Hazard Potential dams in Maryland are required to
review and update, as necessary, their EAP on an annual basis. The EAPs are
developed and maintained by the dam owners, identify potential emergency
conditions at a dam, and specify pre-planned actions to be followed to reduce
property damage and loss of life. Please contact the dam owner if you have any
questions concerning the EAP for a specific dam.
Know your evacuation route should you be told to evacuate.
Review your insurance policy. Flood coverage is not part of
most homeowner, mobile home or renter’s insurance policies. There is a 30-day
waiting period for coverage to take effect.
If told to evacuate, secure your home. If you have time,
bring in outdoor furniture and move essential items to an upper floor.
Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves, if
instructed to do so. Disconnect electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical
equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water
can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not
moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around
your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely.
You and the vehicle can be quickly swept away.
After a flood, listen for news reports to learn whether the
community’s water supply is safe to drink.
Avoid floodwaters; water may be contaminated by oil,
gasoline, or raw sewage. Water may also be electrically charged from
underground or downed power lines.
Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Even if
the roadway of a bridge or elevated highway looks normal, the support
structures below may be damaged.
Stay clear of downed power lines and report them to your
Use extreme caution when entering buildings; there may be
hidden damage, particularly to foundations. Stay out of any building that is
surrounded by floodwaters.
Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from
floodwater can contain sewage and other harmful chemicals.
Dam Safety DivisionWater and Science AdministrationMaryland Department of the Environment
1800 Washington Boulevard, Ste. 440Baltimore, Maryland 21230-1708
1800 Washington Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21230