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Dam Safety Training

The National Dam Safety Program (NDSP) Training Program is designed to help state, local and tribal governments obtain the knowledge, tools, and support that they need to plan and implement effective dam safety strategies. Resources available through the program include instructor-led courses, web-based courses, and videos.  

Technical Seminar

The National Dam Safety Review Board Work Group on Dam Safety Training welcomes all dam and levee safety professionals and those responsible for responding to dam and levee safety incidents to the annual National Dam Safety Program Technical Seminar (NDSPTS). 

2024 Presentations

2023 Presentations

2022 Presentations

2021 Presentations

2019 Presentations

Obtaining Assistance Through NDSP Training Program

Training materials sought for independent study can be obtained free of charge online using the training assistance request form, unless otherwise indicated in the course listings. Obtaining other NDSP Training Program assistance involves the following steps.

NDSP Training Assistance Request Form

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Step 1. Develop a Request for Assistance

A state, local, tribal or territory government and any applicable mitigation partners prepare a written request for NDSP Training Assistance. Requests must describe the type of assistance by completing the NDSP Training Assistance Request Form. If the initial request does not come from the state, the NDSP Training Program Manager will consult with the State Dam Safety Program in the state from which the request is being made.

Step 2. Submit the Request to FEMA for Review and Approval

The Applicant forwards the request to the FEMA NDSP Training Program Manager to evaluate the request. The NDSP Training Program Manager approves or disapproves the request based on current program funding and priorities, the content of the request and other relevant factors such as levels of dam safety risk and mitigation capacity in the affected area.

Step 3. Implement Approved NDSP Training Assistance

The NDSP Training Program Manager deploys approved resources and coordinates with the Applicant Program Manager to arrange for resource delivery.

When the assistance provided consists of training courses presented to local groups, FEMA typically pays for the salary and travel expenses of an approved instructor as well as for any educational materials used by the students and instructor. The state or local government requesting the training, in cooperation with any partnering organizations, is normally responsible for local logistical requirements (e.g., classroom space, audiovisual equipment, refreshments, recruitment). Registration of students can be made available from FEMA upon request.

When providing tools-development, special-project or technical assistance, FEMA normally delivers or funds the delivery of some portion of the expertise or support required. The respective contributions of FEMA, state or local governments and other involved organizations are established through ad hoc negotiations.

Step 4. Report on the Outcome

During or following the provision of NDSP Training Program assistance, the Applicant and FEMA regional program managers communicate with the NDSP Training Program Manager about what has been accomplished with the training assistance (e.g., number of students trained, course evaluations).

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Available Courses

E8535: National Dam Safety Technical Program Technical Seminar (NDSPTS) No. 30

This two-day seminar is held annually at EMI in Emmitsburg, Maryland and brings dam safety professionals from across the nation together. The theme for this year’s seminar is “Dam Safety 101: Design, Analysis, Construction, and Risk Management” and has been scheduled for Feb. 13-14, 2024. The theme for the seminar was selected by the National Dam Safety Review Board Work Group on Dam Safety Training, and it will highlight relevant issues and best practices in dam safety. The seminar will include compelling sessions for participants and incorporate engaging presentations. Register today to reserve your spot for the 31st annual National Dam Safety Program Technical Seminar as space is limited.

L2455 Course: Two-Day Community Dam Safety, Preparedness and Mitigation
This two-day course will teach how to reduce risks and mitigate the consequences resulting from a dam failure and to recover more effectively in the event of a failure. Students may include dam owners, emergency service providers, emergency planners and managers, land use and transportation planners, community leaders and other members of the community.

VTTX: Virtual Table Top Exercise Series (VTTX-Dam Failure)
The exercise will focus on a potential catastrophic dam failure. This will include discussion on evacuation, response and structural design issues. This course is conducted through FEMA's Emergency Management Institute. Due to limited availability, this course will be offered only two times a year.

IS-0874: Introduction to Seepage and Internal Erosion and the Emergency Response to Seepage Related Dam Risks
The goal of this training course is to introduce the concepts and implications of seepage and internal soil erosion in embankment dams. This training course will help emergency response personnel understand and address dam risks related to seepage and internal erosion. This course is under revision and will be available after it is updated.

IS-0875: Introduction to Identifying, Monitoring, and Addressing Seepage and Internal Erosion at Dams
This course will summarize the identified process of steps to identify, evaluate and monitor seepage. You will examine visual and non-visual detection and investigation methods in addition to seepage collection. This course is under revision and will be available after it is updated.

IS-0876: Introduction to Evaluation and Analysis of Internal Erosion and Seepage Conditions at Dams
This course will summarize the process to evaluate and monitor seepage. This course is under revision and will be available after it is updated.

DSS-WISE Lite Workshop
This FEMA workshop will teach dam safety professionals, dam safety regulators, community officials and emergency managers how to rapidly identify the potential flood hazard areas downstream of dams. It also will teach why it is important to evaluate the consequences of potential dam releases or failures, what steps can be taken before a dam failure incident to mitigate flood risk and manage the risk that remains.

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To find out more about these courses and when they might be scheduled, logon to the Emergency Management Institute’s website.