Model Emergency Action Plans

Dam 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.

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.

Template Documents. The Dam Safety Division has modified the national "Model Emergency Action Plan" which was the outcome of a multi-agency work group initiated in 2004 by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO). The Maryland-specific template documents are available at the following hyperlinks in Microsoft Word format. Note that the former individual templates for High or Significant Hazard dams have been combined into a single document that applies to both hazard classes.

Standard template Template EAP – 2016

Alternate Macro-Enabled template Fillable Template EAP – 2016

A description of the template documents, as well as helpful tips for EAP generation, review and updates is available in the following document:

Instructions and Helpful Tips for Preparation of Emergency Action Plans

The Department strongly encourages all dam owners to update their EAP on an annual basis.

Contact Information

If you have questions regarding Emergency Action Plans for dams you may call us at (410) 537-3538.  Our mailing address is:

Dam Safety Division
Water Management Administration
Maryland Department of the Environment

1800 Washington Boulevard, Ste. 440
Baltimore, Maryland 21230-1708​