Waters Rising in Western Montana

By the Missoula Organization of REALTORS®

Every few years or so, it seems that Western Montana is in danger of flooding.  Many homeowners combat this problem only when waters start to rise but do little to actually prevent the floods from happening or minimizing damage.  Spring flooding is a common problem, but that doesn’t mean that you have to shovel out hundreds or maybe even thousands of dollars repairing the damage that has been done. Take action this year and take a couple steps towards flood protection.

Tips to Minimize Future Flood Damage:

  1. Sump Pump Check: The first line of defense that your home has against flooding is your sump pump. Make sure that your backup sump pump battery is in good condition before the rains. A well conditioned sump pump is the first step towards fewer floods, and it may even eliminate your problem all together.
  2. Clean Gutters and Downspouts: Your gutters and downspouts are flood protecting devices that also need to be maintained. Clogged gutters or downspouts will allow water to saturate your foundation much more easily, and make flooding a regular occurrence.
  3. Replace wooden floorboards with concrete and lay tiles rather than carpet downstairs.
  4. Install one-way valves into drainage pipes to prevent water and sewage backing up into the house.
  5. Move plug sockets higher up the walls so they are above the likely water level.
  6. Replaster internal walls with a water-resistant material such as lime plaster or cement render.
  7. Install water-resistant doors and window frames and attach flood skirts and barriers to doors, windows and airbricks.

If Flooding Does Occur:

  1. Move costly possessions and important documents – shift valuable and electrical goods off the floor for their own protection, ideally upstairs. Don’t forget your appliances.  They’re often one of the most valuable assets in your home.
  2. Protect soft furnishings. Rugs can be moved upstairs if flooding looks likely and you can throw curtains over their rails to protect them
  3. Stock up on sandbags – buy in flood boards and sandbags to block doorways with, as these will help you fight the flooding and protect your home.
  4. Protect irreplaceables. Items of sentimental value, such as photos, should be packed in waterproof bags and put somewhere safe, ideally upstairs. No amount of insurance money can bring these back, so put them out of harm’s way.
  5. List useful contacts – write down important numbers such as your home insurance provider and policy number, and Floodline. Keep this information to hand.
  6. Pack a flood kit – put together an emergency kit containing personal IDs, any required medication and a change of clothing in case you do need to evacuate your home.
  7. Keep informed. Watch the weather forecast to make sure you’re up-to-date on any threats.

The Missoula Organization of REALTORS® understands that in times of natural disaster, the risks go far beyond dollars and cents.  If you experience flooding, be sure to take you and your family’s safety seriously.  Do not walk or drive through flowing water, avoid electrical lines or outlets in your home, and most importantly, heed any evacuation warnings.  Our community is resilient and can rebuild together.

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Diane Beck has been selling real estate in Missoula for over 20 years.  Her knowledge, experience and commitment to the community has placed her in the forefront of the real estate market.  Diane is serving the Missoula Organization of REALTORS® as their 2011 President and she continues to strive for the best interests of their members, community and her clients.