WARSAW, Mo. --
A tabletop exercise was conducted at Harry S Truman Dam on Feb. 16, 2023 by the local emergency management agencies in conjunction with the Kansas City District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The purpose of the exercise was to showcase the joint emergency preparedness between local communities around Harry S Truman Dam and USACE.
The tabletop exercise focused on the communication and coordination efforts during operational releases or an extreme, rare flood event. During the exercise, USACE emphasized that it regularly assesses the conditions and risks associated with Harry S Truman Dam, along with its other civil works projects. The most recent assessment conducted in 2022, found Harry S Truman Dam to be structurally sound, and the risk associated with a potential breach of the dam is low.
Assessments of USACE-maintained dams consider the potential of an overtopping of the dam and the risk posed to the population living downstream. The dam safety assessments also assist local emergency management agencies and USACE in coordinating emergency efforts and a communication plan in the event of a dam breach.
“Today was for interagency communications in the event that we have either … a massive release or a release of water in a specified time,” said Dean Noll, Benton County, Missouri under sheriff.
Local emergency management agencies are the front lines of emergency preparedness in their communities. To better serve the community, the local agencies work closely with USACE and other state and federal agencies. Tabletop exercises like the one conducted at Harry S Truman Dam are routine opportunities to identify areas for improvement in the shared responsibility for emergency preparedness.
“We [emergency management agencies] need the public to understand that we exercised together, and we think about the worst-case scenario so that we can keep you safe,” said Sam Henley, Camden County, Missouri, director of emergency management.
Allen Chestnut, Kansas City District dam safety program manager, emphasized the resources that are available to the public to learn more about Harry S Truman Dam and how it is operated.
“The dam safety virtual room that’s been created is an online resource for people to go out and learn more about the dam and how we operate it. And then the National Inventory of Dams website is up online and available,” said Chestnut.
Additional resources are available to help the public better understand the risks associated with USACE dams, and general dam safety, and include:
Harry S Truman Dam Safety Virtual Public Meeting Room: https://gather.cdmsmith.com/v/vPq4wNJVjAw
National Inventory of Dams: https://nid.sec.usace.army.mil/#/
Kansas City District Dam Safety Website: https://www.nwk.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Dam-Safety-Program/