A dam can pose a risk if it overflows or bursts partially or completely. The Federal Dam Ordinance assigns certain tasks to the National Emergency Operations Centre in this area. However, command falls to the municipal and cantonal Civil Protection organisations, such as the police, the fire service and the cantonal command staff (KFS). The NEOC assumes an advisory function within the given KFS.
The plant owners are responsible for dam safety and the supervisory body is the Dam Safety Section at the Swiss Federal Office of Energy SFOE.
In relation to large dams, the area is divided into two zones when it comes to raising the alarm. The vicinity zone, which as a general rule covers the area that would be flooded within a maximum of two hours following a sudden dam burst, is equipped with special water alert sirens (low continuous tone). Beyond this area is the remote zone. Here, the general alert is raised (ascending and descending tone). The NEOC, on the orders of the canton, raises the alarm in the remote zone. It is also responsible for the transmission of instructions via radio.