A tabletop exercise was conducted at the Harry S Truman Dam on February 16, 2023 by local emergency management agencies in cooperation with the Kansas City District, United States Army Corps of Engineers. The purpose of the exercise was to showcase joint emergency preparedness between the local communities around the Harry S Truman Dam and USACE.
The tabletop exercise focused on communication and coordination efforts during operational releases or an extreme and rare flood event. During the exercise, USACE emphasized that it regularly assesses the conditions and risks associated with the Harry S Truman Dam, along with other civil works projects. The most recent assessment conducted in 2022 found that the Harry S Truman Dam is structurally sound and the risk associated with a potential dam failure is low.
Dam ratings maintained by USACE consider the potential for an overshoot of the dam and the risk for the population living downstream. 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 failure.
“Today was for inter-agency communications in case we had… a massive release or a water release at a specified time,” said Dean Noll, Benton County, Missouri under sheriff.
Local emergency management agencies are the first emergency lines preparation in their communities. To better serve the community, local agencies work closely with USACE and other state and federal agencies. Tabletop exercises such as the one conducted at the Harry S Truman Dam are routine opportunities to identify areas for improvement in shared responsibility for emergency preparedness.
“We [emergency management agencies] need the audience to understand that we practiced together and think about the worst-case scenario so we can keep you safe,” said Sam Henley, Camden County, MissourI, Director of Emergency Management.
Allen Chestnut, program manager for levee safety in the Kansas City District, outlined the resources available available to the public to learn more about the Harry S Truman Dam and how it is managed.
“The dam safety virtual room that was created is an online resource that allows people to go out and learn more about the dam and how we manage it. And then the National Dam Inventory website is online and available,” Chestnut said.
Additional resources are available to help the public better understand the risks associated with USACE dams and general dam safety e to include:
Harry S Truman Dam Safety Virtual Public Meeting Room:
National Inventory of Dams:
Kansas City District Dam Safety Website: