Definition of Emergency classification levels


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Emergency classification levels

The term 'Emergency classification levels' as it applies to the area of reclamation can be defined as ' A phased system in which dam operating organizations classify dam safety emergency incidents into response levels according to how severe they are at the time of observation and as to time of occurrence. Declaring a response level is followed by providing appropriate notifications to downstream local authorities. This type of system is intended to provide early and prompt notification of minor events that could lead to more serious consequences given the potential for operator error or equipment failure or that might indicate more seroius conditions not yet realized. The first, and least serious, of three response levels that the dam operating organization will declare after analyzing a potentially threatening event. An event in this alert category may be perceived as an emergency or may be of general interest to the public, but does NOT pose a hazard, either at the dam or to downstream populations at risk when observed. Declaring Response Level I allows internal notifications to agency (Reclamation and/or operating agency) technical staff and decision makers that conditions at the dam and reservoir, or in the basin, represent a potentially threatening event; provides trigger points for technical staff to begin predicting future basin runoff, reservoir levels, and the likelihood of life-threatening releases and/or structural failure; and provides a "communications check" to downstream local authorities concerning conditions at the dam. The second of three response levels the dam operating organization will declare after analyzing a threatening event. Declaring Response Level II means that emergency conditions are such that populations at risk should prepare to leave predetermined inundation areas for higher ground and safe shelter. Declaration of Response Level II means that an event has occurred or is likely to occur that will actually threaten the structure and/or areas downstream from the dam if the event continues and/or intensifies. The third, and most serious, response level the dam operating organization will declare after analyzing threatening events. Declaring Response Level III indicates that life-threatening flood waters, as a result of high operational releases or dam failure, present imminent danger to the public located downstream from a dam. Declaration of Response Level III should prompt local officials to immediately evacuate populations at risk'.

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Mark McCracken

Author: Mark McCracken is a corporate trainer and author living in Higashi Osaka, Japan. He is the author of thousands of online articles as well as the Business English textbook, "25 Business Skills in English".

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