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National Dam Safety Awareness Day

(Glen Burnie, MD) - May 31 is National Dam Safety Awareness Day. On May 31, 1889, the South Fork Dam failed, sending a deadly rush of water and debris into the city of Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Commonly known as the Johnstown Flood, the disaster destroyed much of the city and took the lives of more than 2,200 people. Caused by human error and indifference, it is one of the worst human tragedies experienced in U.S. history.

Established in 1999, National Dam Safety Awareness Day's primary goal is to encourage to encourage and promote individual and community responsibility for dam safety, as well as to provide information on what steps can be taken to prevent future catastrophic dam failures. A secondary goal is to promote the benefits dams offer to communities.

Dams provide benefits such as; water supply for domestic, agricultural, industrial and community use; flood control; recreation; and clean water, renewable energy through hydropower. Although dams have many benefits, they also have risks. Whether you live or work near a dam, remember that safety is a shared responsibility. When you and your family are around dams remember to:
  • Be aware of the potential dangers caused by changing flows, and stay clear of waters near stations and dams;
  • Always stay a safe distance outside of warning signs, buoys, and barriers; and
  • Obey all warning signs near dams, and wear a life jacket.
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