Great Falls, February 7, 2017--With fluctuating temperatures across much of our state, the American Red Cross urges Montanans to be prepared for flooding that can occur as a result of rapid snow melt and ice jam breaks.

“The Red Cross is always ready to help when people are displaced as a result of flooding,” says Colleen Tone, Regional Disaster Officer for the American Red Cross of Idaho and Montana. “That said, there is a lot that people can do to prepare themselves and their families for possible flooding and to mitigate any damage to their properties.”

Here is what you should do:

  • Download the free Red Cross Emergency App. The app will help keep you, your family and your pets safe by showing you what to do before, during and after a flood. Download the app HERE:
  • 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.
  • Assemble a Flood Preparedness Kit: You’ll be better prepared to withstand a flood if you have the following items packed and ready to go in case you need to evacuate your home:
  • Water—at least a 3-day supply; one gallon per person per day
  • Food—at least a 3-day supply of non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
  • Extra batteries
  • First Aid kit
  • Medications (7-day supply) and medical items (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, cane)
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  • Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, deed/lease to home, birth certificates, insurance policies)
  • Cell phone with chargers
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Extra cash
  • Emergency blanket
  • Map(s) of the area
  • Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
  • Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
  • Tools/supplies for securing your home
  • Extra set of car keys and house keys
  • Extra clothing, hat, gloves and sturdy shoes or boots
  • Rain gear
  • Camera for photos of damage
  • 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 immediately and stay there.
  • Stay away from flood waters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankle or if you come across a flooded road while driving, stop, 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.
  • Prepare your property: Identify flood risks when snow and ice begin to melt. Safely remove excess snow from your roof using a snow roof rake or hire a contractor. Safely clear drains and gutters, making sure snowmelt flows away from your home. Remember that ground frost or frozen soils prevent snow melt from seeping into the ground, increasing the risk of flooding. Rain can make snow melt more quickly. Remove snow piled against your home. Seal and cracks or gaps in your foundation.

Share these Red Cross flood preparedness tips with every member of your household. The best protection is to be prepared.

MAKE A DONATION To help the people affected by disasters like floods, please make a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters. To donate, please go to or call 1-800-272-6668. Contributions may also be sent to American Red Cross of Montana, 1300 28th Street South, Great Falls, MT 59405.

VOLUNTEER If you want get actively involved in helping others prepare for, live through, or recover from disasters, go to to complete a volunteer application. All training is free and open to the public. A background check will be performed on all applicants.


About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.