Emergency planning & response

Washington Conservation Corps (WCC)Our Washington Conservation Corps (WCC) program is available to help with flood problems that are related to dams.

WCC crews can deploy to perform flood-fighting and prevention actions such as sandbagging, operating pumps, clearing roads, and more. They are stationed across the state and can often respond quickly.

Requests for assistance must be routed through the city or county emergency management office where the dam is located. You can look up the local emergency management office at this link: Local Emergency Management Offices.

Sometimes the WCC services are free or reduced-cost, depending on available funds and the cause of the problem. You can contact either of the following WCC managers to discuss process, availability, and funding options: Kevin Farrell at 360-480-2603 or Bridget Talebi 360-480-2293.

General information about the WCC assistance program can be found at WCC response and recovery information.

A completed emergency action plan is a valuable resource during an unusual event or emergency. It will help dam owners act quickly and strategically and help reduce the risk of injury, loss of life, and property damage.

Owners of dams classified as "high hazard" and "significant hazard" are legally required to have emergency action plans in place, but all dam owners should have plans for emergency situations. These plans are important, because if an emergency situation arises, dam owners do not want to be scrambling to figure out what to do.

In the event of an emergency

Anyone witnessing a dam failure or imminent failure should call 911 and clearly state this is a dam safety emergency.

If you are a dam owner or operator, activate your emergency action plan, which should include:

In the event that lives, property, or the environment could be at risk, our engineers are available to help implement response procedures at the dam.

Other emergency response partners include:

Developing an emergency action plan

An emergency action plan is a formal but simple plan that identifies potential emergency conditions that could occur at a dam and prescribes procedures to follow to minimize loss of life and the potential for property damage.

Ideally, a dam's design, construction, operation, maintenance, and inspection are all intended to minimize the risk of failure. Despite the adequacy of these programs, unique situations sometimes develop that may result in dam failure. Dam owners need to develop and maintain a plan, so emergency measures can be initiated that could prevent or minimize the consequences to life and property.

In addition, dam owners should be prepared by:

  • Making a list of those who need to know if the dam is in distress.
  • Taking preventive action.
  • Knowing their resources.