Yellowstone County, Montana
Disaster & Emergency Services
Preparation Tips: Flooding Contact Department

What Can I Do To Be Prepared?

| Before the Flood | During the Flood | After the Flood |

Before the Flood:

Prepare for high water if you live in a flood-prone area.

How to build a Sandbag Levee or Cap an Existing Levee
How to Construct a Sandbag Filling Station

  • Know your evacuation route.
  • Move livestock and equipment to higher ground.
  • Move furniture and belongings to upper floors.
  • Keep your automobile fueled - gas pumps will probably lose power.
  • Secure or tie down outside possessions.
  • Store drinking water in clean bathtubs and other containers. (1 gallon per day per person.)
  • Keep a stock of food that requires little or no cooking or refrigeration; electric power may be disrupted.
  • Keep first aid supplies on hand.
  • Keep a NOAA Weather radio, a battery powered portable radio, emergency cooking equipment and flashlights in working order.
  • Install check valves in building sewer traps to prevent flood water from backing up into the drains of your home.
  • Disconnect electrical appliances or equipment that can't be moved.
  • Keep materials like sandbags, plastic sheeting, plywood and lumber handy for emergency water proofing.

During the Flood:

  • If there have been evacuation orders - do so immediately.
  • Move to a safe area or a Red Cross shelter before access is cut off by flood waters.
  • Continue to monitor NOAA Weather Radio or other radio stations (KEMC - FM, 91.7 MHz is the Emergency Alerting System (EAS) station).
  • Avoid areas subject to flooding.
  • Don't walk through or drive in water that is above your ankles. STOP! Turn around and go the other way. Don't drive over a flooded road when you don't know the depth of the water. It could be washed out under the water.
  • Abandon a stalled vehicle in flood waters if you can do so safely.

After the Flood:

  • If fresh food has come in contact with flood waters, throw it out.
  • Boil drinking water before using. Wells should be pumped out and the water tested for purity before drinking. If in doubt, call the public or environmental health office.
  • Seek necessary medical care at the nearest hospital. Food, clothing, shelter, and first aid are available from the Red Cross.
  • Do not visit disaster areas. Your presence might hamper rescue and other emergency operations.
  • Electrical equipment should be checked and dried before being returned to service.
  • Use flashlights, not lanterns, torches or matches, to examine buildings. Flammables may be inside.
  • Report broken utility lines to appropriate authorities.
  • Keep tuned to radio or Television for advice and instructions.
  • Notify your insurance agent if your property was damaged.


| Developing a National Plan | Does my Homeowners Policy cover Flood Loss? |
| Other Important NFIP Features | What can I do to be prepared? |

Today, the threat of flooding is more serious than ever. Demands for progress have led to the leveling of forests and the overbuilding of lands that prevent soil from doing its natural job of absorbing water. All too suddenly, this potential for flooding can turn into a very real disaster.

Developing a National Plan
In 1968 Congress addressed this long-standing problem by passing the National Flood Insurance Act. This legislation provides flood insurance at reasonable cost in exchange for the careful management of flood-prone areas by local communities. Today, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) serves 17,000 communities across the country with nearly two million policyholders. The program is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) through its Federal Insurance Administration. Billings and Yellowstone County have been participating in the program since 1975.

Does My Homeowners Policy Cover Flood Loss?
No. Losses due to flooding are not covered under a homeowner's insurance policy. You can, however, obtain flood protection through the NFIP.

Other Important NFIP Features
Good insurance is available on most commercial and residential buildings, including mobile homes on foundations, and condominiums. Contents can be included or covered separately (this enables renters, as well as business and homeowners, to insure personal property).
There is a thirty day waiting period from the date of application until you are covered.
Flood insurance is required by law as a condition for securing loans and grants from a federal agency in order to buy or build structures in the flood hazard areas of a participating community.

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