2013 – Flooded cars: estimating the consequences to itinerants exposed to dam break floods on roads

Jamie Campbell, Gregg Barker, Paul Southcott and Michael Wallis

The assessment of consequences of dambreak is used as input to the design parameters of dams, dam safety requirements and dam risk assessments. For many low consequence category dams, the consequences of failure can be dominated by itinerants, in particular vehicles on roads within the dambreak inundation area. Estimating the population at risk (PAR) and potential loss of life (PLL) rigorously is mathematically complex, requires significant user judgment and can be very sensitive to input assumptions. This paper presents a simple, practical tool that has been developed to assist engineers and analysts in assessing the PLL of itinerant road users within a dambreak inundation zone. The tool allows for a logical and defensible analysis based on an event tree approach and provides guidance on appropriate factors to be used in calculating the overall fatality rate of people exposed to the dambreak hazard. This paper details the tool and how to apply it to typical dambreak problems, providing the reader with the information required to estimate the consequences on itinerant road users; the paper also details how the concepts discussed can be applied to other itinerants.

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