Bureau of Reclamation Banner

Emergency Management Orientation Seminar

Dam Safety Emergency Management

Historically, the focus of dam safety activities has been on ensuring the structural integrity of dams. Recently, however, the Bureau of Reclamation has also begun to focus on the need to coordinate and network with local jurisdictions that could potentially be impacted by flooding from large operational releases and/or failure of its dams. This effort is specifically in response to a heightened awareness in the agency of the need for Reclamation to ensure that local authorities have the capability to warn and evacuate populations at risk who are located in inundation areas downstream from Reclamation dams.

Emergency Management Training

In recognizing this need, specialists of the Inspections and Emergency Management Group have developed an Emergency Management Orientation Seminar (Seminar) to better provide essential dam safety emergency management training for Reclamation personnel and for other Government agencies and the private sector.

This Seminar has been conducted, upon request, for personnel of a broad range of organizations in several locations since 1991, including: Reclamation's offices; the National Weather Service; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs; U.S. Forest Service; personnel of the Reclamation Technical Services Center; and many State and local Governmental agencies.

Course Overview/Synopsis

The Seminar is general in its approach to emergency management. It is primarily intended to provide very basic emergency management, and Early Warning System, concepts and philosophies upon which the individual can build future educational and actual experiences.

The Seminar attempts to answer questions, such as:

  • "What is emergency management, particularly as it relates to Reclamation dam safety concerns and the design and installation of Early Warning Systems?"
  • "What roles do Federal, State, local, and private sector organizations play in emergency operations and management activities?"
  • "How do we coordinate with emergency management organizations to create effective teams?"
  • "How do Emergency Preparedness/Action Plans (EPPs/EAPs) and Local Emergency Operations Plans (LEOPs) interface and connect?"
  • "How do emergency response organizations learn about, develop, conduct, and evaluate emergency exercises?"

The Seminar attempts to answer these questions by providing:

  • A basic understanding of planning theory and development of planning skills. The need to plan and the legal basis for planning from both a Reclamation and a State/local emergency management perspective are also discussed.
  • Basic information about how to build effective teams and the what, why, and how of emergency exercises.

Teamwork is necessary to conducting emergency exercises, and exercising of EPPs/EAPs and Early Warning Systems is critical in evaluating their effectiveness under emergency conditions. Therefore, an emergency orientation exercise is the culminating activity of the Seminar. This activity is the most basic of emergency exercises and is intended to provide participants with a positive exercise experience and a perspective on:

  • What must be done, on a regular basis, to revise and update EPPs/EAPs (principles and practices of emergency planning).
  • What must be done, on a regular basis, to operate and maintain installed Early Warning Systems.
  • The need for coordination and networking among and between all involved emergency resp onse and operations organizations.
  • The principles and practices of developing and conducting emergency exercises.

Finally, the seminar will help participants to develop a better understanding of the roles of State and local officials in the event that an emergency or unusual condition should occur at a dam. EPPs/EAPs can then more easily be integrated with LEOPs, which will result in more effective coordination of the dam owner's emergency plans, procedures, and exercises with the downstream community's emergency plans, procedures, and exercises.

Who to Contact

The Seminar is conducted upon request only. A specific situation where it would be particularly appropriate is prior to installation of Early Warning Systems at Reclamation's high- and signficant-hazard dams.

Specialists of the Flood Hydrology and Emergency Management Group are prepared to discuss specific proposals for conducting this training. Please note, however, that the requesting office must provide funds to conduct the course. If you wish to request a proposal, you may contact David Fisher, Manager, Flood Hydrology and Emergency Management Group at dfisher@usbr.gov.

Last Updated: 02/04/2011
For site maintenance contact: Webmaster