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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.  

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

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).

Download the NDSP Training Assistance Request Form

Available Courses

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

L291/E0291 Course: Four-day Community Dam Safety, Preparedness, and Mitigation
This course will teach dam owners; emergency service providers; emergency planners and managers; land use and transportation planners; community leaders; and other members of the community to work together through upfront planning to reduce the risks and mitigate the consequences resulting from a dam failure, and to recover more effectively in the event of a failure.

E835: National Dam Safety Technical Program Technical Seminar No.27 Theme
Dam and Levee Resiliency in the Era of Intensifying Natural Hazards and Climate Conditions. This seminar will highlight and share advances in the science and engineering for prediction and estimation of extreme storm events, hydrologic and hydraulic forecasting and decision support and dam engineering design. Presentations will provide historical perspective, recent extreme event case histories and state-of-the practice methods and tools.

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.

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.

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.

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.

DSS-WISE Lite Workshop
This workshop, offered by FEMA, will teach dam safety professionals, dam safety regulators, community officials and emergency managers to understand how to rapidly identify the potential flood hazard areas downstream of dams, 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.

Dam Incident Planning Guide Training
In development

A Guide for Communicating Dam Safety Information- for Dam Owners, Emergency Managers, and First Responders Training
In development

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).

View the 2020 Technical Seminar