MISSOULA – Missoula County officials are reaching out to remind folks they are there and available when times get tough — including this year’s flooding season.
As one Missoula neighborhood continues to deal with residential flooding, it’s important to keep in mind, that Western Montana’s true flood season typically occurs from late May through June.
Missoula County wants to let people know that they are there during natural disasters such as flooding. One way to stay informed and up-to-date when there’s an emergency is to sign up for Smart911.
“It’s an opt-in program that allows people to provide information to us on their location and some of their needs that they may have in the event of an emergency, and it allows us to directly contact them in case of an emergency, and give them the information that they may need," explained Missoula County Office of Emergency Management Deputy Director Ken Parks.
Parks says Smart911.com ensures immediate assistance is always available.
When the Clark Fork River easily overflowed its banks in the Spring of 2011 a surplus of Road Base was available to fill sandbags, but that surplus is not there this season. The county does not supply sand for the bags, but they say they are working behind the scenes to help however they can.
“The county doesn’t have a sand pit, we don’t have sand readily available. What we’re doing now is — there’s a lot of groundswell of volunteers and people in the community that really want to help — and what we’re doing from our office is organizing the volunteers and trying to connect them with the people in the community who need work done," Parks said.
With several areas along the Clark Fork River located in a designated floodplain, flood Insurance is an option for those residents. Parks told MTN News that there are common misconceptions on how long in advance the insurance needs to be purchased.
“Some people are under the impression that it takes 30 days to get it enacted, and for some cases it does, but in other cases where an emergency has been declared, it may take effect quicker," Parks said.
He added that there are specific guidelines, such as flow rate, and a minimum amount of water moving for the insurance to kick in.
More sandbags are available to Seeley Lake residents as they deal with flooding. Missoula County OES delivered 5,000 sandbags on Wednesday which are available to the public on a first come, first serve basis.
You can find the sandbags at SLRFD Station 1 located at 200 Fire House Drive just off A Street and at the Missoula County Satellite Office at SLRFD Station 2 north of Seeley Lake.