March 15, 2011
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration sponsored legislation designating March 14-18 as Flood Safety Awareness Week across the United States, and Boundary County Emergency Services and FEMA are pleased to support the effort.
“Flooding is this nation’s number one natural disaster,” said FEMA regional administrator Ken Murphy. “You don’t need to live in a mapped floodplain to need flood insurance, and it just doesn’t pay to quibble over what side of a line on a flood map one lives on. The fact is, more than 20-percent of all flood insurance claims are filed in low-to-moderate flood-risk areas, where flood insurance premiums can be a real bargain.”
Every year around this time, flooding becomes a problem in Boundary County as the snow melts off and the spring rains set in. This week, Boundary County commissioners mailed letters to more than 30 property owners along the upper Moyie River near Eastport, one of the areas in the county where flooding is an almost annual problem, reminding property owners that it is there responsibility to be prepared should the water start rising.
But that’s not the only part of the county susceptible to flooding, and spring isn’t the only time of the year flooding occurs.
“Property owners and renters need to know that they can take steps to protect their property and financial security before disaster strikes,” Murphy said. “However, many eligible residents are unaware that they qualify or that affordable flood insurance is available. Residents can begin to take steps now to protect their home and assets from rising floodwaters at any time.”
Some of the common sense steps to take when the possibility of floods arise are to make sure your gutters and storm drains are cleared to allow free flow of potential floodwater. Moving your valuables and sentimental items from the basement to the higher floors in your home or business. Plan and practice a safe flood evacuation route, designate someone outside of areas prone to flooding to serve as a contact should members of your family become separated, and make sure each member of your family knows their name and phone number. Build an emergency supply kit, to include food, bottled water, first aid supplies, medicines and a battery powered radio, ready to grab when you leave.
Look into obtaining flood insurance, available in over 21,000 participating communities nationwide, including Boundary County. Visit www.floodsmart.gov to find out more.