PG&E Urges Residents and Recreationists Below Dams to Have an Emergency Plan as Part of National Dam Safety Awareness Day





In recognition of National Dam Safety Awareness Day on May 31, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) urges those living, working or visiting downstream of dams to have an evacuation plan and be able to recognize signs of a potential dam breach.

PG&E takes its role as steward of waterways and its hydroelectric system very seriously and the safety of its customers and the public is always its most important responsibility.

“Dam safety and integrity are critical to our hydroelectric program,” said Debbie Powell, PG&E’s vice president of power generation. “PG&E inspects and maintains its dams according to strict safety guidelines, ensuring structural integrity under even extreme conditions. Nonetheless, it is important to be aware of potential flooding and have an evacuation plan should a dam fail.”

In 2017, damage to the State of California’s Oroville Dam spillway led to evacuations in Butte, Yuba and Sutter counties. The incident served as a reminder to those living and working near dams to have a family emergency plan. It is also a good time to check with your county’s office of emergency services to find out how to get notified during emergencies to receive alerts about potential and actual flooding, severe weather and natural disasters.

PG&E’s 96 storage reservoirs are used primarily for generating hydropower and are generally far smaller than state and federal multi-year water storage reservoirs like Lake Oroville and Shasta Lake.

National Dam Safety Awareness Day occurs on May 31 of each year to commemorate the failure of the South Fork Dam in Johnstown, Pa. in 1889. The awareness day was created to encourage and promote individual and community responsibility for dam safety, as well as to provide information for dam owners on what steps can be taken to prevent dam failures.

PG&E participates in local community events, sends informational brochures to customers by mail, and coordinates with schools in its service area to advise them of the need to recognize the signs of a potential dam failure, be able to identify evacuation routes and know how to contact local emergency response agencies for assistance.

PG&E has also developed plans in cooperation with state and local emergency agencies to warn the public in the unlikely event of a sudden dam failure. The energy company regularly engages in drills with emergency agencies to test response. In addition, PG&E also places informational posters about flood inundation zones in campgrounds, parks and other recreation sites throughout its service area.


The following are emergency and safety messages that PG&E is sharing with customers through brochures, posters and on its website:


Have a Plan


Warning Signs


What to Do if You’re in the Water


What to Do if You’re Near the Water


Stay Out and Stay Alive - Stay Out of Canals and Flumes


More information is available on the PG&E website: and the FEMA website: