Emergency Action Planning



California Division of Safety of Dams logoAs part of a realignment plan, the California Emergency Management Agency (CalEMA) changed its name to the California Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) effective July 1, 2013. Some websites and information may still show the CalEMA name or logo during the transition.

What is an Emergency Action Plan?

Internal link for EAP Examples MS Word Document - CA EAP form

A plan of action to reduce potential property damage and loss of lives in an area affected by a dam failure. A complete EAP includes a map of the potential inundation area, procedures and information for warning downstream emergency management authorities, and other crucial information.

An EAP helps augment an area's Emergency Operations Plan, which may additionally include evacuation routes, and location of shelters and emergency services, as well as list businesses, schools, hospitals, nursing homes, residences, and highways at risk.

Are you at risk?

Dam safety officials categorize dams according to the potential hazard risk to lives and property should the dam fail. A High-Hazard Potential (HHP) dam is one whose failure likely would take lives as well as property. An EAP may save lives and property damage through timely evacuations of those who live, work, or enjoy recreation near a HHP dam. Timely warnings triggered by an EAP could help business owners remove key assets necessary to mitigate loss of income and capital investment important to themselves and their employees. In California only 52% of high-hazard dams have EAPs to identify and notify people residing below the dam, and to coordinate their evacuation. The national average of EAPs for HHP dams is 69%. Achieving 100% EAPs would help protect more citizens if there should be a major emergency with HHP dam.

Are You Liable as a Dam Owner?

The owner of a HHP dam has legal liability and social responsibility to provide an EAP, though it is not required by law in most situations. If you are a dam owner or share ownership with other neighbors, you are responsible and liable for the safety of your dam. Completing an EAP can demonstrate your actions to mitigate harm to persons and property in case of an incident at your dam. The state of California is not liable for the failure of any dam or reservoir by virtue of approval of the dam or reservoir, the issuance of enforcement orders relative to maintenance or operation, control and regulation of the dam or reservoir, or measures taken to protect against failure during an emergency. Nothing in the dam safety laws and regulations relieves an owner or operator of a dam or reservoir of the legal duties, obligations, or liabilities incident to the ownership or operation of the dam or reservoir.

Do you have a stake in dam safety?

Stakeholders are citizens, business owners, and recreationists in harm's way at times, often without realizing it. Do you like to swim or fish in a California lake? Like to hunt in areas below or near a dam? Like to RV or camp out along the shores of a lake? Enjoy canoeing a stream below a dam? Do you farm land or have livestock in a floodplain? Do you manage a nursing home, hospital, school or motel in an area below a dam? Are you an emergency responder? Do you volunteer for the Red Cross or Salvation Army? Do you regularly need to travel across or have access to an area below a dam?
You have a stake in whether a HHP dam has an EAP.

What you can do...

Learn more
about EAPs
Internal Link

If you are a dam owner,
complete an EAP
Internal Link

If you live below a dam,
find out if
it has an EAP
Internal Link

If you are a stakeholder,
contact the dam
owner to ask
about an EAP
Internal Link

Be a concerned citizen. 
Your life may one day depend on an EAP.

Questions or comments?

Email us at or call toll-free at 877-410-3551.