Reevaluate, Improve Evacuation Plans
StoryRecent events and past history played a role in today’s unanimous decision by the Metropolitan King County Council to review and assess gaps in emergency action plans associated with dams in King County and in evacuation and sheltering plans that would serve residents in the event of a dam failure or safety incident.
Funding for the study will be provided by the King County’s Flood Control District, established to protect public health and safety, regional economic centers, public and private properties and transportation corridors.
“This study aligns with the core mission of the King County Flood Control District, to protect people and property,” said Council Vice Chair Reagan Dunn, chair of the King County Flood Control District Board of Supervisors. “I look forward to seeing the results of the study and working with my colleagues to continue to improve our regional emergency action plans.”
“The Oroville Dam crisis in California offers a good reminder for us to take a closer look at our current evacuation plans, raise awareness of evacuation routes, and designate emergency shelters,” said Councilmember Dave Upthegrove, Flood Control District Vice Chair. “The County Council’s action will help better prepare our at risk communities to move people out of harm’s way in an emergency.”
In February, issues with the Oroville Dam spillway near Oroville, California prompted the evacuation of more than 200,000 people who would have been in the path of potential floodwaters. In 2009, King County and south county cities developed plans to protect residents and businesses from the potential failure of the Howard Hanson Dam on the Green River, when there were seepage issues with the structure.
In the wake of events in Oroville and the lessons learned during the Howard Hanson Dam incident, the King County Council called for a collaborative review of the existing emergency action plans associated with the major dams in King County and a prioritized list of actions necessary to update or create plans for evacuation and shelter for those affected by dam failures.
The report would be submitted to the County Council and the Flood Control District by August 31, 2017.