Helena – As spring approaches, Lewis and Clark County reminds residents it’s time to start thinking about and planning for flood season.
Right now, people should be thinking about purchasing flood insurance. In most cases, standard homeowners’ insurance does not cover flood events and most flood insurance policies take 30 days to go into effect. Additionally, flood insurance typically does not cover flooding from groundwater.
Due to the County’s Floodplain Management Program, residents are eligible for a 10% discount on floodplain insurance. Approximately 25% of flood related damage actually occurs outside of the designated floodplain. For more flood insurance information, visit https://csimt.gov/your-insurance/flood/
Preparing for flooding is the most proactive mitigation action people can take. As it continues to snow this spring, shovel or plow snow away from homes and other structures. Maintain the natural drainage by cleaning culverts and removing debris from ditches and low-lying areas. This includes removing debris, garbage, grass clippings and anything else that can hinder water flows.
Waterproof basements and make sure the sump pump is working. Install a battery-operated backup in case of a power failure. Elevate critical utilities such as electrical panels, switches, sockets, wiring, appliances and heating systems. Move furniture, valuables and important documents to a safe place. Anchor outside fuel tanks.
Keep sandbags and sand on hand if you are in a flood prone area.
Avoid contact with floodwaters if possible. All floodwaters should be considered contaminated by sewage and wastewater, pet and livestock waste and other pollutants. People working in floodwaters should take precautions to avoid ingestion or content to the extent practicable.
Flooding can contaminate water systems, so make sure to keep extra drinking water on hand. Have an evacuation plan in place and a “go-bag” ready should you have to leave you residence due to flooding. If you take critical medications and live in a flood prone area, make sure to have enough on hand in the event you are unable to get out for several days.
A permit is required before developing in the floodplain, which includes buildings, bridges, culverts, wells, fill or any alteration of the floodplain. Contact the County Floodplain Manager in the Community Development and Planning Department with questions or for a permit application at 406- 447-8374. For more information on floodplain management, go to the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation web site.
Additional information on flooding and flood preparedness:
Lewis and Clark County Emergency Services Facebook @LewisandClarkCountyEmergency
Jeni Garcin, Communications Coordinator, 208-961-0349, jgarcin(at)lccountymt.gov