630 Dams
400 Mapping and Regulations

630
Dams

Dam failure could result in a range of losses for your community. This activity awards credits for improving communications around dams and for developing warning plans around potential dam failure scenarios.

632.a
State dam safety program (SDS)

Is there a high-hazard-potential dam in your community?

Level of effort = low

Overview

Like levee safety, dam safety is a high priority for the CRS. While the term "dam" can refer to structures of all shapes and sizes, the elements in Activity 630 focus on dam failure impacts. For this element, your community can receive credit for the state’s dam safety program if you have a high-hazard-potential dam. Credits are awarded under this element for a state assessment of dams, risk communication, and emergency action plans by dam operators.

Considerations

The effort and time for this element is minimal, as credit is awarded for state-level programs.

For all 630 elements: To receive credit, you need to have at least one insurable building at risk of flooding from dam failure. Your community must assess the threat of dam failure, create a map describing the inundation area in the event of a dam failure, and write a dam failure warning and response plan.

Documentation

For this element you must provide:

  • The 630 checklist
  • A map and description of the threat from high-hazard-potential dam failure

Credit Calculation

Max:45

There is no impact adjustment for this element.

632.b
Dam failure threat recognition system (DFR)

Does your community have systems in place to monitor dams for failure?

Level of effort = high

Overview

This element awards credits for monitoring flood conditions around dams. Your community can get credit for requiring dam operators to alert the emergency manager if water reaches a certain level, or if there are structural issues threatening the dam's structural integrity (DFR1). To get this credit, you must put into place protocol for notification of emergency managers and you must require quarterly communication checks between the operator and emergency managers. Credits is also awarded for having a backup monitoring system, such as a gauge or camera, directly available to the emergency manager (DFR2).

For Activity 630 you are required to produce and maintain a dam failure warning and response plan. The procedures developed for this element must be included in that document.

Considerations

You are required to complete both subelements DFR1 and DFR2 to receive credit for this element.

For all 630 elements: To receive credit, you need to have at least one insurable building at risk of flooding from dam failure. Your community must assess the threat of dam failure, create a map describing the inundation area in the event of a dam failure, and write a dam failure warning and response plan.

Documentation

For this element, provide:

  • Your dam failure warning and response plan that includes labeled dam failure threat recognition procedures
  • An impact adjustment map showing the impacted areas and how the number of buildings were calculated

At annual recertification:

  • Records of the quarterly equipment test
  • The outreach materials utilized (if applicable)
  • A description of the annual exercise

Credit Calculation

Max: 30

Up to 20 credits for the primary dam failure recognition system (DFR1) and up to 10 credits for the secondary dam failure recognition system (DFR2). The impact adjustment for this element is calculated using the following formula:

Number of buildings in dam threat recognition area / Number of buildings impacted by dam failure

632.c
Dam failure warning (DFW)

If a dam fails in your community, how do you alert residents?

Level of effort = high

Overview

Well-developed dam warning programs can drastically reduce resident risk and protect from property loss. Your community can receive credits for dam failure warnings disseminated when a failure is expected to occur. This element is separate from the emergency warning dissemination element in Activity 610, but you should coordinate dam warnings with the dissemination of general emergency warnings. It is also separate from Activity 332.a Outreach Projects (OP), but you should coordinate with those messages as well. Your community can receive credit for alerting the public when dam failure is expected, detailing its severity, and listing potentially helpful actions. Like in 632.b, to get credits, you must include the warning procedures in the dam failure warning and response plan. The warnings should reach community members quickly and efficiently, and equipment (if applicable) should be tested annually.

Considerations

For all 630 elements: To receive credit, you need to have at least one insurable building at risk of flooding from dam failure. Your community must assess the threat of dam failure, create a map describing the inundation area in the event of a dam failure, and write a dam failure warning and response plan.

Documentation

Provide:

  • The dam warning and response plan with emergency warning procedures called out/labeled

At annual recertification:

  • Records of the annual equipment test
  • A description of the annual exercise

Credit Calculation

Max: 35 for the following:

DFW Element Credits
DFW1 - Including pre-scripted messages and staff guidance 5
DFW2 - Including information on flood elevation and evacuation 5
DFW3 - Using an outdoor voice or siren system 10
DFW4 - Identifying primary and support agencies for door-to-door warnings, OR 2
DFW4 - Identifying procedures and equipment for door-to-door warnings 10
DFW5 - Using pre-scripted messages over the Emergency Alert System 10
DFW6 - Using telephone warnings 10
DFW7 - Supplying schools, hospitals, nursing homes, prisons, and other critical facilities with NOAA Weather Radio receives and a backup for flood warnings 10

The impact adjustment for this element is calculated as follows:

Number of buildings in dam failure warning area / Number of buildings impacted by dam failure

632.d
Dam failure response operations (DFO)

Does your community have operations procedures in place for dam failure response?

Level of effort = high

Overview

Like 622.d, you can receive credit for dam failure response operations that detail scenarios, responsibilities, special needs populations, and needed resources. This is a separate element, but you should coordinate with the flood response operations plan. Your community must include dam failure response operations in your dam failure warning and response plan. For full credit, you should this section should include the response action, list responsible parties, specify the time needed to complete the action, list equipment, note facilities, take account of supplies, and specify resources needed to catalyze response.

Considerations

For all 630 elements: To receive credit, you need to have at least one insurable building at risk of flooding from dam failure. Your community must assess the threat of dam failure, create a map describing the inundation area in the event of a dam failure, and write a dam failure warning and response plan.

Documentation

Provide:

  • The dam failure warning and response plan with labeled dam failure response operations

At annual recertification:

  • A description of the annual exercise

Credit Calculation

Max: 30

You can get credit for the following:

DFO Element Credits
DFO1 - Developing dam failure scenarios 10
DFO2 - Identifying actions and responsible offices and people 10
DFO3 - Maintaining a special needs database and plan for evacuation 5
DFO4 - Including a summary of the staff, equipment, supplies, and time for each action, as well as the source of the resources 10

The impact adjustment for this element is calculated as follows:

Number of buildings in dam failure response operations area / Number of buildings impacted by dam failure

632.e
Dam failure critical facilities planning (DCF)

What will happen to the critical facilities in your community in the event of a flood?

Level of effort = high

Overview

Like 622.e, this element encourages you to plan for protecting critical facilities vulnerable to dam failure. To get credit, you should develop a critical facilities plan to be included in your dam warning and failure response plan. While this is a separate element from 612.d Critical facilities planning (CFP), you should also coordinate these two plans.

The element requires that you annually updated list of the critical facilities that could be impacted if a dam fails and contact the facilities to see if they need special warning arrangements. You can receive additional credit for reviewing dam failure warning and response plans for individual critical facilities.

Considerations

For all 630 elements: To receive credit, you need to have at least one insurable building at risk of flooding from dam failure. Your community must assess the threat of dam failure, create a map describing the inundation area in the event of a dam failure, and write a dam failure warning and response plan.

Documentation

You must provide:

  • The list of impacted critical facilities, with those needing special warning arrangements and those with their own reviewed and accepted plans labeled
  • Contact information for the facility operators

At annual recertification:

  • A page from the list of critical facilities
  • The annual exercise and evaluation report

Credit Calculation

Max: 20

Up to 10 credits can be awarded for a list of critical facilities, contact information, and warning arrangements (DCF1). Up to 10 credits can be awarded for reviewing and accepting dam failure response plans for individual critical facilities (DCF2).

There is no impact adjustment for this element.

This CRS guide was produced by CRS professionals and Certified Floodplain Managers to help you navigate the Community Rating System. It is not meant to replace FEMA's official CRS Coordinator's Manual, nor should it supersede the instructions given by your ISO/CRS Specialist.

For additional resources, visit https://crsresources.org/ .