State Testing System To Notify Residents Of Dam Failure

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - State officials will begin testing a new emergency notification system on Thursday in communities downstream from a leaking dam that holds back Lake Cumberland, Gov. Ernie Fletcher said.

Federal officials have begun a $309 million project to repair erosion problems at the nearly mile-long Wolf Creek Dam in south-central Kentucky. A dam failure would flood cities along the Cumberland River in southern Kentucky and northern Tennessee.

Officials announced in January that the dam is at risk due to eroding limestone and warned people along the Cumberland and its tributaries to prepare for a flooding emergency.

Fletcher said the reverse 911 system will send a test message to about 17,000 homes in Clinton, Cumberland, Russell and Monroe counties during the next two weeks.

"It is critical that we are able to communicate effectively with the public during an emergency and this emergency notification 911 system supplements our ability to do that," Fletcher said.

The system would send pre-recorded messages by phone with instructions on what to do in the case of a dam emergency.

The equipment was paid for by the state Office of Homeland Security.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

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