The American Red Cross of Montana urges residents in flood-prone areas to take steps now to prepare for possible worsening conditions in many communities across the state.
“By taking steps to prepare now, you will be much better off should your home or neighborhood be affected,” says Colleen Tone, Disaster and Program Officer for the American Red Cross of Montana. “While Montana Red Cross is on standby to open shelters in areas with significant numbers of evacuees, there is a lot that individuals and families can do themselves to prepare.”
As with any disaster, preparation can be the difference between life and death. Montana Red Cross recommends these steps to prepare for floods:
- Create and practice a Disaster Plan: Talk to everyone in your household about what to do if a flood occurs. Decide where you would meet and who you would contact in case of flooding. Assemble and maintain an emergency preparedness kit (see below). Be prepared to evacuate your family and pets at a moment’s notice.
- Heed Flood Warnings: Listen to your local radio and TV stations for updated flood information. A flood WATCH means flooding or flash flooding is possible in your area. A food WARNING means flooding or flash flooding is already occurring or will occur soon in your area. When a flood or flash flood warning is issued for your area, head for higher ground and stay there.
- Relocate During Flood Warnings: Stay away from flood waters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankle, stop, turn around and go another way. If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground.
- Assemble a Flood Preparedness Kit: You’ll be better prepared to withstand a flood if you have the following items available – packed and ready to go in case you need to evacuate your home:
o Water—at least a 3-day supply; one gallon per person per day
o Food—at least a 3-day supply of non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food
o Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
o Extra batteries
o First Aid kit
o Medications (7-day supply) and medical items (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, cane)
o Multi-purpose tool
o Sanitation and personal hygiene items
o Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, deed/lease to home, birth certificates, insurance policies)
o Cell phone with chargers
o Family and emergency contact information
o Extra cash
o Emergency blanket
o Map(s) of the area
o Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
o Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
o Tools/supplies for securing your home
o Extra set of car keys and house keys
o Extra clothing, hat, gloves and sturdy shoes or boots
o Rain gear
o Camera for photos of damage
For more information on flood preparedness, visit www.redcross.org/montana or call 1-800-ARC-MONT. Share these Red Cross flood preparedness tips with every member of your household. The best protection is to be prepared.
You can help people affected by disasters like floods, as well as countless other crises at home and around the world, by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters. Visit www.redcross.org/montana or call 1-800-ARC-MONT (1-800-272-6668). Contributions may also be sent to American Red Cross of Montana, 1300 28th Street South, Great Falls, MT 59405.