Experts gather to discuss dam and lake safety

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LEWIS COUNTY, W.Va. (WDTV) - "The more public you have, the more the first responders, we all have to be ready for anything," says Resource Manager for Stonewall Jackson Lake Jeff Toler.

The annual dam and lake safety inter-agency meeting brought together a vast group of dam safety engineers, emergency managers, wildlife workers, and first responders all to be better prepared if an emergency does happen.

"One, it builds teamwork and it lets both sides know where the other ones coming from and it gives us a better state of preparedness," says Emergency Manager for the Pittsburgh District of Corps of Engineers C.J. Infantino.

Part of this meeting was reviewing safety initiatives from previous years to see what actually works, and Resource Manager for Stonewall Jackson Lake remembers a time when an injured hunter utilized the initiative of trail markings, remembering the trail he was on so EMS was able to react.

"We use all of our resources and our knowledge from the first responders, we all get together and that's what we do, we share with one another," says Toler.

Talks about replacing and adjusting buoys as well as ensuring that mile markers in the water stay up on poles to help with boater navigation we're all on the table. But not all safety measures can be planned for.

"Everybody has to deal with an active shooter training, we do it through the schools, we do it through the courthouse systems, law enforcement," says Operations worker for Lewis County Emergency Management James Gum.

Safety of the dam was another topic of discussion.

"Our dam has a very good rating, it's in really good shape, there are no issues with this dam" assures Toler.

But with infrastructure concerns at the federal level, dam safety program manager assures that this dam is not to be worried about.

"This dam was well constructed, you know, modern construction, modern understanding, it's well run and it's well monitored," says Dam Safety Program Manager for the Pittsburgh District of Corps of Engineers Joseph Premozic.