Posted by: Sandra Knight, Deputy Associate Administrator, Mitigation
On May 31, 1889, the South Fork Dam in Johnstown, Pennsylvania failed, killing 2,200 people and leaving thousands homeless. The Johnstown disaster was the worst dam failure before and since 1889 in the United States in terms of lives lost and injuries.
This year, FEMA’s National Dam Safety Program recognized today, May 31, 2012 as National Dam Safety Awareness Day, in commemoration of the devastation of 1889 and as a call to action. FEMA, along with various Federal, State and local stakeholders, attended the event this morning at the Lake Needwood Dam in Rockville, Maryland.
The National Dam Safety Program is a partnership between states, federal agencies, and other stakeholders led by FEMA, to encourage and promote best practices, individual and community responsibility for dam safety and prevention of future catastrophic dam failures.
Rockville, Md., May 30, 2012 -- Sandra Knight, Mitigation Deputy Associate Adminsitrator, speaks at the Dam Safety Awarenss Day ceremony at Lake Needwood Dam.
The Lake Needwood Dam served as the focal point for Dam Safety Awareness Day because of its urban setting and the successful emergency action planning that took place in response to a severe leakage incident that occurred on July 19, 2006. The planning and response of that incident by state and local officials symbolize exactly what FEMA and its partners strive to achieve through the National Dam Safety Program: a “whole community” approach to emergency management that keeps Americans, their property, and the environment safe from dam failure. National Dam Safety Awareness Day is a day to acknowledge the important work that is being accomplished at all levels of government, and to make a commitment to continue this work to help and create a culture of preparedness and safety in all communities.
Rockville, Md., May 30, 2012 -- Tim Manning, Deputy Administrator for Protection and National Preparedness, speaks about the National Dam Safety Program.