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Each year, dozens of resides are shed on America’s watermeans at frameworks dubbed low-head or “run-of-the-river” dams. Among the victims are boaters, kayakers, swimmers, anglers and also emergency responders.

You are watching: What is a characteristic of low head dams

Low-head dams are characterized by their low elevation — usually through a one foot to 15 foot drop off — which allows water to circulation over the peak of the dam. Below the surchallenge, the water falling over the dam creates very aerated, circulating curleas that trap civilization and also objects underwater versus the face of the dam. These forces are a nearly inescapable trap for even the strongest, life-jacket-clad swimmer or boats and kayaks. People are frequently unmindful of these risks, or they underestimate their threat of falling victim to them. Due to this hazard, these frameworks have actually earned the title of “the killer in our river” or “drowning devices.”

The late Dr. Bruce Tschantz, professor emeritus of the College of Tennescheck out, documented 377 fatalities at low-head dams from 1960 to August 2016, with the majority – 91 percent – occurring from April with August in the time of the summer redevelopment season. Swimming, boating and fishing account for the majority of cases at dams in the United States.

If you pick to go out on a watermethod for recreational functions, make certain to examine the location very closely beforehand, or ask a local for even more information about dam places. It is vital to be conscious of the location of these structures, so you are all set to exit the water if you are approaching one. As you go out, make certain you follow these tips:

Study a map beforehand to find potential dams and also peril areas or ask a neighborhood for even more indevelopment around dam areas.

Almeans be alert for potentially dangerous situations.

Almeans portage around the framework or turn approximately well before getting to the dam when kayaking, canoeing or boating.

Obey all posted signage and barriers in the location.

Let someone understand once and where you are heading out and also as soon as to expect your rerevolve.

Never enter the water to try and also help someone. Instead, call 911 and usage a remote assistive tool, such as a rope or throw bag, to attempt and also pull them back to security.

It is additionally helpful to get in touch with local recreation outfits, such as kayak and also watercraft rentals, hiking groups, conservation teams, and also others to discuss their education programs. These teams are frequently the ideal professionals in the area and deserve to be a good reresource.

The many important guideline is to remember — “Keep Your Distance, Keep Your Life”: Almethods continue to be a safe distance ameans from dams both upstream and also downstream to protect against drowning.

There are many type of cost-free resources easily accessible to assist in much better understanding the threats of low-head dams and also the importance of this issue. In collaboration with state dam safety and security programs, the Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO) has launched plenty of programs and resources to administer dam owners, dam operators and also the public through vital security information. The ASDSO public safety websiteresidences security guidelines, training and also accessible education about low-head dams and many other types of dams. ASDSO has actually also partnered with the Indiana Silver Jackets to share 2 awareness videos, “Over, Under, Gone”and “Be a Dam Champion,”which can be discovered for totally free at the ASDSO webwebsite. Both videos are aimed at a teenage to young-adult audience.

Currents about low-head dams have the right to be swift and also unpredictable. It is critically crucial to not just understand also the scope of this risk but likewise to be conscious of the many type of ways you can store yourself and also others safe and also prevent a tragedy. And remember — Keep Your Distance, Keep Your Life.

More Resources

1. ASDSO Public Safety WebsiteThis site contains a in-depth explacountry of 16 widespread risks, the latest statistics, best methods, a compilation of recent news coverage and even more.

2. Over, Under, Gone – 28 Minute VideoOver, Under, Gone is a brief documentary that concentrates on low-head dams. It covers many type of aspects of the issue including the dangers, the background of low-head dams, and obstacles of dam removal. It likewise provides the perspective of friends and also household of a drowning victim in Indiana.

3. Be a Dam Champion – 14 Minute VideoLeah Pritchett is an Amerihave the right to drag racer. Because the minute she initially hit the throttle in a Junior Dragster at 8 years old, she only had actually one ambition, to be a champion. In this video, Leah helps to present the dangers of low-head dams and urges others to be a champion by staying clear of this "opportunity for disaster."

4. Identifying Hazards and also Improving Public Safety at Low Head Dams – 2 Hour WebinarThis webinar will certainly administer participants via an expertise of the hidden threats at low head dams and also effective techniques for boosting public safety. The instructors will certainly illustrate their presentation via numerous examples drawn from their very own experiences as hydraulic/civil engineers, skilled witnesses, authors and also engineering designers.

5. Animation: Dangers of Low-Head DamsThis easy to understand also computer animation is part of the official Indiana boating safety course.

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6. Hidden Dangers and Public Safety at Low-Head Dams – Article from the Journal of Dam SafetyA current examine of accidents at these dams over the last four years mirrors a sobering fact of the problem from a national peril perspective. The hydraulic activity below low-head dams is reviewed to display just how it creates a water risk, threatening public safety and security. Structural and non-structural procedures to reduce drownings are examined and also a drowning case study is presented that the authors have investigated.

7. What We Know (and Don’t Know) About Low-Head Dams - Message from the Journal of Dam SafetyLow-head, or run-of-the-river, kinds of dams - normally covering the entire river or stream - deserve to existing a safety peril to the public bereason of their capability to develop dangerous recirculating currental fees, large hydraulic pressures, and also various other hazardous conditions enough to trap and drvery own victims immediately downstream from the overflowing water