By: Wayne Allen
June 1, 2013
This year’s National Dam Safety Awareness Day on Friday, May 31, marks the 124th anniversary of the historic Johnstown Flood in Pennsylvania, underscoring the need for Ohioans to understand the benefits of dams and the risks associated with potential dam incidents and failures.
To help inform people who live, work and play in areas near dams, the Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO) created an informational guide entitled “Living With Dams: Know Your Risks.” Dams in Ohio provide important benefits, such as drinking water, recreation and flood control, but many people take these benefits for granted. In Ohio, there are more than 1,500 state-regulated dams, and more than 300 of those are considered high-hazard potential dams. Hazard potential ratings are not indicators of a dam’s condition.
Created by ASDSO with support from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the guide provides:
• An overview of the types of dams and the benefits they provide;
• An explanation of the potential risks associated with dams;
• Resources readers can use to find out if they live in a dam failure inundation zone;
• Tips for preparing for an emergency, and what to do during and after an emergency, such as establishing an evacuation route before a dam incident occurs and shutting off utilities in the event of an evacuation;
• Tips for staying safe near dams, such as never fishing, boating or swimming below a dam, and being alert to changes in water levels.
Among the tips included in the “Living With Dams” guide, ASDSO recommends that people who live near dams familiarize themselves with evacuation routes, make sure all family members know what to do in the event of an emergency and prepare an emergency kit.
For copies of the “Living With Dams” guide, or more information regarding the safety and security of the nation’s more than 85,000 dams, contact ASDSO at email@example.com. The guide is available online at livingneardams.org/.
More information about Ohio’s dam safety program managed by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is available at www.dnr.state.oh.us/water/tabid/3329/Default.aspx/.
ASDSO is a national, nonprofit organization founded in 1984 and is dedicated to improving dam safety through research, education and communication.
ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.