Frequently Asked Questions
(What you need to know)
Note: The information below was compiled prior to the completion of the dam's repair in late 2006. Some details indicated or quoted no longer apply.
How likely is a dam failure? According to the Department of Environmental Protection "The likelihood of dam failure is considered to be extremely remote. ...engineers have determined that the dam would be in danger if the water level in the Schoharie Reservoir reached eight feet above the spillway of the dam. The highest the water has ever reached was during the record flood of 1996, when the water was six and one half feet above the spillway. So the dam would only be in danger if there was a record flood even larger than the one that occurred in 1996." The dam is being monitored by DEP engineers on a 24/7 basis.
How will I know it's time to evacuate? The Sheriff's Office will be using the reverse 911 system to alert people in the expected inundation zone. This means that you would get a pre-recorded phone message advising you of a flood. Additionally the Fire Department will be coming door-to-door.
What if I'm not home to get the reverse 911 call or my phone is busy? The reverse 911 system will make three attempts at one hour intervals. If the log shows that all three were unsuccessful the Sheriff's Office will reactivate the failed phone numbers.
How much time will I have to evacuate? The phone and door-to-door notifications will begin immediately upon our notification. According to the DEP maps the flood waters will reach Montgomery County in about 6 hours. Other sources have suggested a much shorter time frame. Prudence suggests that you evacuate immediately upon notification.
How do I know if I am in an affected area? The Fire Departments have visited, or are visiting households in the expected inundation zone. You will be asked to fill out and return a questionnaire for preplanning purposes.
I know I'm in an affected area but I haven't been contacted by the fire department, what should I do? Contact your local Fire Department. If you don't know how to contact your fire department you may call the Fire Coordinator's office at 853-4011.
Where should I go? The main thing is to get out of the flood zone and away from the creek or river. You should make plans ahead of time to stay with friends or relatives. Shelters will be established for those unable to find other accommodations.
Will I be forced to evacuate? The evacuation, if needed, will be considered mandatory, however at this time there are no plans to physically remove someone that refuses to go. Please be aware that if an evacuation is called it is because a major flood is occurring or is believed to be imminent.
I'm bedridden/wheelchair bound/can't walk. Can I get assistance? Yes. Please make note of this in the Special Needs section of the questionnaire.
I don't have a vehicle, how can I evacuate? Transportation to a shelter can be provided. Please make note of this in the Special Needs section of the questionnaire.
Where are the evacuation centers or emergency housing? Fonda/Fultonville School and Amsterdam High School are the primary evacuation centers.
Do I have to go to an official evacuation center or can I go somewhere else? You should make plans to stay with friends or family. The evacuation centers will be available for those who otherwise need shelter.
Will public services (power, water, sewer, phone etc.) be affected? If so, how big of an area? It is likely that all services would be affected to some degree. It is important to note that disruptions of service would be regional and affect far more people than just those in the inundation zone.
If I'm not at home when an evacuation starts, will I be allowed in to save my children/spouse/parents? The Fire Department will work with you to make sure your family is safe and evacuated.
How will I get help for an emergency during an evacuation? If you need help with fire, medical emergency or any other life-threatening situation, dial 911.
What will happen to my children if they are at school? Will I be allowed to pick them up? Should an evacuation be necessary during school hours, children that are on bus routes judged to be in safe zones will be delivered. Children on routes judged to be in a flood zone will be kept safe at school. People on your pre-approved pick-up/emergency call list will be allowed to pick up your children. Please make sure your list is up to date. *
I drive my self to high school. In the event of a flood will I be allowed to leave when school ends? If you live in an area judged to be safe from flood you will be allowed to leave. *
What are the evacuation routes? Evacuation routes will vary depending on water levels and flow. Firefighters alerting you of the need to evacuate will have updated information. You can use the maps found on the "Inundation Maps" page to check which roads may be flooded. Be aware that as flood waters rise bridges will be closed making it important to evacuate quickly once you are notified.
Where can I find a map of the inundation area? Click on the "Inundation Maps" link.
Will the Sheriff's Office be patrolling evacuated areas? Yes, as flood waters permit, Sheriff's deputies will be patrolling. The Sheriff can and will draw upon neighboring counties for additional support as needed.
How can I get email/text message notification of news and updates? You may email the Emergency Management Director **
How do I ask more questions? You may email the Emergency Management Director **
* Please check with your school district for further school related questions.
** All emails must be accompanied by your full name and phone number.