By DOUG DODGE
Jefferson County DES and Fire Warden 

How to Prepare For Flooding

 


While Jefferson County has thankfully not experienced the historic flooding that neighboring counties have, their struggles are a sobering reminder to act now to prepare for flooding. Jefferson County has many areas that are vulnerable to this threat.

The first step is to purchase flood insurance. Federal assistance to private property owners due to flooding impacts is extremely rare, and even when it is provided, it usually is never enough to restore the property to its pre-flood condition.

Next, purchase sandbags and sand and have a way to fill them. The responsibility to protect private property from flooding lies with the property owner.

Pay close attention to the forecast and stream or river conditions near you and don’t wait to be told to evacuate if you feel unsafe. Emergency response personnel are overwhelmed during major incidents and may not have the staff or the time to reach out to every citizen.


Have an emergency kit ready in case you are cut off from transportation routes. Your kit should have enough food, water, weather appropriate clothing, and medication to last a week or more. Other important items to include are copies of identification documents and insurance policies, a battery powered or hand-crank radio, flashlights, extra batteries, and cell phone chargers.

Think about how you will safely cook and keep warm should power be disrupted for an extended period. Don’t forget to set aside provisions for pets and livestock. Once your kit is ready, reach out to elderly or disabled family, friends, or neighbors who may need help preparing.


Finally, know how to get emergency information. Visit the Jefferson County website at http://www.jeffersoncounty-mt.gov/index.html and scroll down and click on the yellow “Sign up for Emergency Notifications” button on the right-hand side of the page. This resource will allow the Sheriff’s Office to issue mass notifications to cell phones registered in the system. While still on the county website, click on the “Community Resources” tab at the top of the page and make note of the low-power FM radio station in your area. Tune to these stations in the event of an emergency. Lastly, if you use social media, follow the Jefferson County, Montana Sheriff’s Office Facebook page.

Natural disasters are not uncommon in Montana or Jefferson County. We can reduce our risk, but to do so requires all of us to act while we have the time to do so before the emergency takes place. For more information on how to prepare, contact Jefferson County’s Office of Emergency Management at 406-225-4035.

 

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