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Be prepared for spring flooding in Montana

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On the heels of a long winter that saw historic snowfall across much of Montana, flooding is now a growing concern.

The Montana Red Cross urges everyone to be prepared should flooding occur in your area. Follow the steps below to keep your family safe this spring.


Prepare in advance

  • Assemble an emergency preparedness kit, which should include a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, nonperishable food, water, flashlight, first aid kit, emergency blanket, medications and copies of your personal documents. To see a complete list, visit
  • Create a household emergency plan and practice as many elements of that plan as possible. This includes identifying responsibilities for each member of your household and how you will work together as a team.
  • Stay informed about your community’s risk and response plans.
  • Download the free Red Cross Emergency App for iPhone or for Android.  

Right before a flood

  • Listen to local radio, NOAA radio or TV stations for the latest information.
  • Be prepared to evacuate quickly and know your routes. Find an emergency shelter.
  • Check your emergency kit and replenish any items in short supply such as medications.

 If you have time, also do this

  • Fill your car’s gas tank.
  • Bring outdoor belongings, such as patio furniture, indoors.
  • Turn off propane tanks to reduce the potential for fire.
  • Move your furniture and valuables to higher floors of your home.
  • Turn off utilities if told to do so by authorities to prevent damage to your home. If you shut off your gas, a professional is required to turn it back on.
  • Unplug small appliances to reduce potential damage from power surges that might occur.

If you have pets or livestock

  • Consider a precautionary evacuation of your animals, especially large animals.
  • Where possible, move livestock to higher ground. If using a horse or other trailer to evacuate your animals, move sooner rather than later.
  • Bring your companion animals indoors and maintain direct control of them. Be sure that your pet emergency kit is ready to go in case of evacuation.


Staying safe indoors

  • Turn off the power and water mains if instructed to do so by local authorities.
  • Boil tap water until water sources have been declared safe.
  • Avoid contact with floodwater. It may be contaminated with sewage or contain dangerous insects or animals.
  • Continue listening to local area radio, NOAA radio or TV stations for the latest information and updates.
  • Don’t use gas or electrical appliances that have been flooded.
  • Dispose of any food that contacts flood water.

Staying safe outdoors

  • Don't walk, swim or drive through floodwater. Just six inches of fast-flowing water can knock you over and two feet will float a car.
  • If caught on a flooded road with rapidly rising waters, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground.
  • Don't walk on riverbanks.
  • Don’t allow children to play in or near flood water.
  • Avoid contact with floodwater. It may be contaminated with sewage or contain dangerous insects or animals.
  • Stay out of areas subject to flooding such as underpasses, dips, and canyons.


  • Let friends and family know you’re safe. 
  • If evacuated, return only when authorities say it is safe to do so.
  • Keep children and pets away from hazardous sites and floodwater.

Know the difference

A flood/flash flood watch means a flood or flash flood is possible.

A flood/flash flood warning means flooding or flash flooding is already occurring or will occur soon. 

For more information about how prepare for and respond to flooding visit