Emergency Action Planning

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Lake Sherwood

Sylvan Lake EAP Case Study

The EMD's Perspective

Michael Daniels,   Emergency Management   Agency Director for   Warren County
Michael Daniels,
Emergency Management
Agency Director for
Warren County

Michael Daniels has been the Emergency Management Agency Director for Warren County since 2002 and serves as president of the Missouri Emergency Management Association. He also is chairman for the Warren County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC). Daniels began his emergency response career as a firefighter in the U.S. Army 1973-1976. Then he worked in the City of Maplewood Fire Department in St. Louis County for 22 years until retiring in 2000. He serves on the Missouri State Emergency Management Director's Advisory Committee and the Region C Homeland Security Oversight Committee (RHSOC).

There are more than 5,000 state-regulated dams in Missouri and 33 of these are located in Warren County, Daniels said. Of the 33 dams, 28 are classified as Class 1 (High-Hazard Potential) dams because a breach would likely take human lives. Every Warren County HHP dam now has an EAP due to the work of Daniels in collaboration with the dam owners and DNR.

"Dam owners have primary responsibility for the safe design, operation, and maintenance of their dams," Daniels said. "They also have responsibility for providing early warning of problems at the dam, for developing an effective Emergency Action Plan (EAP), and for coordinating that plan with local officials.

"In 2009, when DNR's EAP working group finalized the template for Missouri's EAPs, Lake Sherwood Estates Homeowners Association was at the top of my list of people we could work with for the first EAP in the county. They have two large dams that are regulated and at least 1,000 property owners around the lakes, and several homes below the Lake Sherwood dam.

Group leader Glenn Lloyd
During the workshop Daniels showed a group of Warren County
dam owners their inundation maps and EAP template.

"DNR selected Warren County as the pilot county for rolling out their EAP initiative, and the first of many dam owner EAP workshops around the state was held in January 2010 in Warrenton. There was a lot of planning for the workshop with DNR, including invitations and phone calls to dam owners to get them to attend. DNR had all the inundation maps ready and had filled in their technical portions of the EAP template for each of the Warren County HHP dams. As I expected, Ed Varno and another representative of Lake Sherwood Estates attended the workshop. They were given the inundation maps and EAP template, and DNR engineers explained the necessity of EAPs and details of working on the template.

"Once we had the template to work with, it really only took another month to build out the EAP. There was quite a bit of back-and-forth communication with Ed and with DNR. I had go to the courthouse to look up the property owners below the dam, at first using the county assessor's database. DNR staff helped me link phone numbers to the property owners so I could enter the data into the county's automated call system for emergency alerts.

"Lake Sherwood staff also helped look up and contact property owners in the downstream inundation zone. We wound up with about 40 landowners. The first filter for narrowing down the notification list was whether the property was residential or just farm land with no structures on it. Those farms were given a lower priority rating for notification.

"The dam owners workshop was really the starting point for getting all these EAPs completed in the county. We learned a lot as the pilot county for the program, and we've been able to pass along advice to other emergency managers in the state as they began their EAP process with dam owners. At Lake Sherwood the EAP process helped reorient the recognition of the homeowners and their leadership about their responsibility to downstream residents, and they responded with great cooperation and concern for the safety of everyone. It was a very rewarding partnership, and we all learned the best practices and approaches to working together and with the available data and technology to create a high-level EAP. Now we can move on to conducting exercises and updates to keep the EAPs current and effective."