Sirens for dams safety and flood warning – when there is a risk of flooding, time is of the essence
There are thousands of dams around the world. Rivers are dammed using reservoirs for drinking water supply, for irrigation or for the generation of energy using hydropower. In mining, mining companies create dams or retention basins for water and for the sediments that remain after rinsing the mining product, such as copper, iron ore, gold or silver. This sediment, whether it is liquid, mud or stone, is often toxic or radioactive. Dams like these present a fundamental risk to the population living in their vicinity. Even if they were originally designed to be safe, ageing of the materials, storms, earthquakes as well as human error can cause a dam to burst. When dams burst, masses of water or mud plunge into valleys and civilians are often left with little time to get to safety.
As well as establishing a safe work environment for the miners and dam workers, a strong emphasis also needs to be placed on civil protection. This applies to surface mining as well as to hydropower plants and reservoirs for water supply. This is why sensors are used to monitor the dam structure and trigger a predefined warning and information process in the event of imminent danger. A clear warning needs to be sent out within seconds. And not just directly at the dam itself, but also across the entire area that is at risk of being flooded by the tidal wave or mud slide. Siren warning systems are essential in this context. They are loud and clear. This is why they are not only installed in the mining area, but also along the possible route that the water or the mud may take if a dam breaks or if there is a planned opening of the locks. In addition to raising the alarm in an emergency, they are also used to warn people in case of tidal waves, for example when large amounts of water are specifically drained off.