Engaging Citizens in Service and
Promoting Disaster Preparedness in Montana!


ShakeOut on Oct. 19

Montanans to “Drop, Cover, and Hold on”

Fourth annual earthquake drill to teach preparedness actions

HELENA, MT--On Oct. 19th at 10:19am, more than 1 out of 10 Montanans will simultaneously get under tables, desks, and random pieces of furniture.  These actions are part of the Great Montana ShakeOut, a statewide earthquake drill.  Each October, millions of people around the world participate in these ShakeOut drills as a way to prepare for earthquakes.  In Montana, more than 100,000 people will participate in the drill.

“Because earthquakes can happen at any time in Montana, it’s important for all of us to know what to do at school, home and work,” said Governor Steve Bullock. “Practicing emergency drills, such as the ShakeOut, is a great way to prepare for unexpected events.”

Taking part in the ShakeOut drill is easy and can be completed in 5 minutes at any location. The primary purpose of the drill is to encourage Montanans to practice these three steps before the ground starts to shake:

  • Drop to the ground
  • Take Cover under a table or desk and protect your head and neck
  • Hold on to the shelter for 30-60 seconds

In addition to participating in drills, some simple ways to prepare for earthquakes include:

  1. Check your home and office space for items that might fall during an earthquake (bookshelves, cabinets, appliances) and secure them to the wall.
  2. Create a communication plan with your friends and family.
  3. Keep an emergency supply kit in your home, car, and workplace.
  4. Encourage neighbors and friends to prepare.

Montana is located within the Intermountain Seismic Belt, an active earthquake region stretching along the Rocky Mountains.  While the Treasure State experiences fewer major quakes than our Western neighbors, there have been several large earthquakes in our history, including the magnitude 7.3 earthquake near Hebgen Lake in 1959.

To learn more about earthquake safety and to register for the ShakeOut drill, visit:  www.shakeout.org/montana.  Registration takes 5 minutes and participating on Oct. 19 ensures that your loved ones and your community are ready when disaster strikes.

#NatlPrep Posts

National Preparedness Month begins this week!  To help spread the word, ReadyMontana and statewide partners will be sharing preparedness messages on social media, such as Facebook and Twitter.  If you or your organization would like to join in this campaign- just copy and paste some of these pre-designed messages onto your own pages!  Of course, this is a completely optional activity, and you are welcome to draft your own messages or use additional posts from: www.ready.gov/SeptemberVideos, images and other graphics can be downloaded from that page.

If you would rather just share our messages, follow us on Twitter or Facebook.  Remember to use the #NatlPrep hashtag so people can follow all related messages!

Daily messages for social media posts (updated Aug. 29)

Week of Aug. 29-Sept. 2

8/29: #NatlPrep Month starts 9/1. Promote the theme "Don't Wait. Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today." Tools: www.ready.gov/September

8/30: “Don't Wait. Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today.” Get started here: www.ready.gov/make-a-plan #NatlPrep

8/31: Share your plans for National Preparedness Month using the hashtag #NatlPrep and see what others are doing!

9/1: Today is the kick-off to #NatlPrep Month! We’ll be sharing preparedness tips and messages all month. Follow, retweet, and #GetReady

(Facebook) You may not be with family when an emergency happens.  How would you get in touch if cell phones are not working? Did you know that it may be easier to call an out-of-state contact than a local contact during an emergency?  Learn more and create an emergency plan now: 1.usa.gov/1JwEwRG #NatlPrep

9/2: #Wildfire season isn’t over yet. Follow @MTDNRCFIRE @FireSafeMontana and use #OneLessSpark for fire prep tips

(Facebook) Your ability to recover from an emergency tomorrow may depend on the planning and preparation you do today. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcnCQ_pdVCY #NatlPrep #MTStrong

2016 National Preparedness Month

September is the first month of fall, when most of the kids head back to school, and our traditional month when we celebrate preparedness.  The theme for this year's preparedness month is "Don't Wait, Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today."  The Ready Campaign has created several sample posts, graphics, videos and messages to help spread the message.

Each week of National Preparedness Month has a designated theme:

•    Week 1 (August 28-September 3): Promote National Preparedness Month
•    Week 2 (September 4-10): Preparing Family and Friends
•    Week 3 (September 11-17): Preparing Through Service
•    Week 4 (September 18-24): Individual Preparedness
•    Week 5 (September 25-30): Lead-up to National PrepareAthon! Day

More information about each of these themes is available on Ready.gov/september, where you can also find social media content, 2016 NPM logo, graphics, and more to share with your friends and family.



Disaster Resource Center

A one-stop shop for individuals affected by the Roaring Lion Fire to get assistance and access to recovery resources

Representatives from government, nonprofit and faith‐based disaster relief organizations will be on hand to assist any affected residents. Caseworkers will be available to help people create personal recovery plans, navigate paperwork and insurance, and locate assistance for their specific disaster‐caused needs, such as cleanup of ashes, assistance for groceries and medications, mental health support, and other items or services

To apply for assistance, we strongly encourage you to bring identification, showing address and proof of residence.


  • Friday, August 12
  • Saturday, August 13


1285 North 1st Street

Hamilton, MT


  • Friday: 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
  • Saturday: 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM

Disaster Resource Center Flyer



At this time, material donations are not needed.  The community and area around Hamilton has already received an abundance of donations, but storing them is a challenge.  The best way right now is by providing a monetary donation to an organization helping with response efforts.  Questions about donations can be made by calling 406-210-1453


Get Ready for Wildfire Season

For Immediate Release
Contact: Betsy Miller, Governor’s Office of Community Service

Montana Wildfire Awareness Month

Helena, MT – Governors from eight Western states have collaborated to issue a multi-state Wildfire Awareness Month Proclamation. Throughout the month of May, Montanans are encouraged to participate in wildfire preparedness activities.

“Montanans are once again reminded of the fire prone landscape where we live, work, and play. Wildfire Awareness Month should serve as an encouragement to us that when individuals and communities are prepared for wildfires, we can increase safety,” said Governor Steve Bullock. “I encourage Montanans to take preparedness actions during the month of May and beyond to reduce the risk to our homes and communities.”

Residents in areas with a potential for wildfires can lower the risk and severity of wildfires and reduce deaths, injuries and property losses through their preparedness efforts. Proactive actions from a single individual, or entire neighborhood, contribute to a safer community when wildfires happen.
Wildfire preparedness events are being spearheaded by local groups throughout Montana this spring and summer. Projects range from workshops and trainings to wildfire expos and appearances by Smokey the Bear.  For a full listing of events, visit www.keepgreen.org.

Become a local champion through committing a few hours to improving your property’s defensibility and in turn, contributing toward your community’s resiliency. Here are some simple ways to prevent and prepare for wildfires:

  • Clean out gutters, roofs and other areas where debris has settled
  • Avoid burning on windy days and never leave a burn pile unattended
  • Maintain equipment to reduce sparks and check that trailer chains do not drag
  • Create an evacuation plan and practice the route with family members
  • Practice campfire safety by ensuring your fire is cold to the touch before leaving the campsite
  • Ensure you have 100 feet of managed vegetation surrounding your house
  • Take action in your community by organizing a wildfire preparedness event

Wildfire Awareness Month is a collaborative effort by the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, Keep Montana Green, FireSafe Montana, and the Governor’s Office of Community Service.  For more information, please visit the following websites: www.keepgreen.org     www.ready.mt.gov       www.firesafemt.org

Photo: Governor Bullock and Lt. Governor Cooney

Photo: Governor Bullock, DNRC Director Tubbs and Lt. Governor Cooney

Photo: Wildfire Awareness Month Logo

May is Wildfire Awareness Month

Wildfire Awareness Month is a multi-state campaign to encourage individuals and communities to prepare for wildfire season and prevent human caused fires.  In Montana, this campaign is supported by the Dept. of Natural Resources and Conservation, FireSafe Montana, and ReadyMontana.


There are several ways to get involved throughout the month.  May 7th is Wildfire Community Preparedness Day.  Preparedness events will be happening nationwide.  If you'd like to host your own community event, project ideas are available on the website.


To get involved in other events happening this spring, check out the calendar of statewide events:

  • April 29th, Libby, Fire Adapted Communities Workshop, 5 PM - 9 PM, Libby Memorial Center, (click here to view poster) www.lcfiresafe.com
  • May 7, Seeley Lake, Community Preparedness Day, 11 AM - 3 PM, free BBQ, Seeley Lake Fire Hall, (click here to view poster) www.seeleyfire.org
  • May 7, Whitefish, Community Preparedness Event 
  • May 7, Helena, Wildfire Preparedness Day, Albertsons North, all day (click here to view poster)
  • May 10th, Lewistown, Central Montana Wildfire Education Day, K-4th grade
  • May 10-11,  River Honoring, Confederated Salish Kootenia Tribe, near Ronan
  • May 12, Frenchtown, Home Assessment Training
  • May 21, Gallatin Gateway, Wildfire Awareness Pancake Breakfast, 7-11 AM, Smokey will be making appearances throughout the morning, Gallatin Gateway Rural Fire Dept.; Visit http://ggrfd.org/  or  https://www.facebook.com/Gallatin-Gateway-Fire-Department-275560972541056/ for more info
  • May 24, Kallispell, Flathead FireSafe Council Open House
  • June 1, Utica, Judith Basin County Community Wildfire Education Meeting
  • June 11, Libby, Firefighter Challenge
  • June 15, Bozeman, Wildfire Expo, inter-agency effort with private sector (Payne West, Buffalo Restoration)
  • June 18, Helena, 1/3 Miles to Safety Staff Ride, Tri-County Working Group and FireSafe MT
  • June 22-28, Fort Peck, Pines area, Community Mitigation and Education
  • July 13, Northfork of Flathead Firewise Community event

For more information and to download resources, visit:  www.keepgreen.org

Severe Weather Awareness Week, April 18-22

What is a downburst?

What should I do if I'm driving through a severe thunderstorm?

What's the largest hail stone that has been measured in Montana?

Learn the answer to these and other questions during Severe Weather Awareness Week, April 18-22.  On Monday, April 18th, from 11:00am - 1:00pm there will be a public Q & A session with all four National Weather Service offices available to answer your questions.  All you have to do is log into your social media account and find one of the NWS pages if you don't already follow them:

Spring is also a great time to increase your severe weather preparedness.

severe weather

National Youth Preparedness Council

Are you interested in becoming an advocate for disaster preparedness in your community?  The FEMA Youth Preparedness Council is now accepting applications for new members.  The deadline for applications is March 1st, 2016.  Applications are online.

FEMA’s Youth Preparedness Council offers a unique opportunity for youth leaders to serve on a distinguished national council; to complete self-selected individual and group youth preparedness projects at the local and national levels; to voice their opinions, experiences, ideas, solutions, and questions on youth disaster preparedness with the leadership of FEMA and national organizations working on youth preparedness; and to participate in the Youth Preparedness Council Summit.

To learn more about the Council and read current member biographies, visit:


Winter Ready

Although the days are gradually becoming longer, winter weather is sure to affect us in the coming months.  Here are a few winter preparedness tips for you and your family:

  • Discuss emergency notifications and expectations with your workplace and/or schools.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors in your home or check the batteries if you already have one.
  • Keep generators outdoors and at least 20 feet from any door, window, or vent.
  • Stay informed of weather conditions using local alerts and news sources.
  • Plan ahead and stay indoors if the weather forecast predicts winter storms.  If you must venture out, wear several layers of clothing, preferably wool or downy material.
  • If the power goes out, close off unused rooms to consolidate heat.
  • Wear layered clothing and use blankets or sleeping bags to stay warm.
  • NEVER use generators, outdoor heating or cooking equipment inside your home.
  • Keep disaster supplies in your vehicle, make sure your vehicle is properly equipped, and use extra precaution on the roads.

Include medications and assistive technology devices. America's Prepareathon. Be Smart. Take Part. Prepare.This graphic image is part of the Winter Weather Safety Graphics collection.

For more winter weather preparedness information, visit www.ready.gov/winter

Ready Montana Program Honored with National Award

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                                                                           September 14th, 2015


Betsy Miller, Ready Montana, (406) 444-1718
Marissa Perry, Governor’s Office of Community Service (406) 444-9077

Ready Montana Program Honored with National Award in Community Preparedness

DC award

Helena, MTLast week, the Ready Montana Program was presented with the John D. Solomon Whole Community Preparedness Award at the 2015 FEMA Individual and Community Preparedness Award recognition ceremony in Washington, D.C. Betsy Miller, the Ready Montana Program Coordinator, accepted the award on behalf of the Program on September 8, 2015.

The Ready Montana Program was nominated for the award this spring for conducting a Whole Community Disaster Simulation at the Serve Montana Symposium in 2014 and 2015. The Symposium is an annual, all-member gathering of AmeriCorps State and VISTA members hosted by the Montana Governor’s Office of Community Service. For the past two Symposiums, AmeriCorps State and VISTA members have participated in the Simulation designed to portray a whole community response to disaster and help participants gain a greater understanding of the importance of preparedness and how community volunteers may play a role in disasters.

The Ready Montana Program was one of 11 applicants to receive a 2015 FEMA Individual and Community Preparedness Award out of more than 130 applicants.

To view the press release from FEMA announcing the 2015 nationwide winners, visit http://www.fema.gov/news-release/2015/09/03/fema-honors-achievements-community-preparedness. For more information on the award recipients, visit www.ready.gov/citizen-corps/citizen-corps-awards.

The Governor’s Office of Community Service expands and promotes National Service and volunteerism in Montana and engages citizens in service and emergency preparedness.


National Preparedness Month 2015

September has been designated as National Preparedness Month

This month is a great opportunity to take action and prepare your home and family for disasters and emergencies.  Several organizations and agencies in Montana have partnered to create a common preparedness message, making it easy for you to know what to do and how to do it.  Each week this month will focus on a different hazard and ways to prepare.  Please visit the following facebook pages and consider "liking" them to get preparedness information throughout the month:

Serve Montana
Disaster and Emergency Services
National Weather Service in Great Falls
National Weather Service in Glasgow
National Weather Service in Billings
National Weather Service in Missoula
Department of Natural Resources and Conservation
Keep Montana Green
Department of Public Health and Human Services
American Red Cross of Montana

The weekly topics for September are as follows:

Week 1:  Wildfires

Sept. 1:

As of September 1st, more than 2,000 ‪#‎wildfires‬ have burned nearly 500 square miles this year in Montana. Although we have seen more activity this year than last year, it has not been an unusual wildfire season for the state.

For information on preparing your family and home for wildfires, visit:www.firesafemt.org

For information on general disaster preparedness, visit:http://serve.mt.gov/readymontana-news/


Sept. 2:

During a ‪#‎wildfire‬ evacuation, you may have mere minutes to leave your home. Keeping an easily accessible ‪#‎EmergencySupplyKit‬ may save you and your family time. Kits don’t need to be expensive - you likely already own many of the recommended items.

For protection from ‪#‎wildfiresmoke‬, consider adding an N95 respirator to your kit. Standard dust masks are not effective for wildfire smoke.

For more info on building a kit, visit the Montana Ready, Set, Go! Guide

For information on general disaster preparedness, visit: ready.mt.gov

infographic-are-you-prepared cdc

Sept. 3:

Wildfires can move rapidly, unpredictably and block roadways. It is critical to evacuate as soon as you are told to do so. To receive evacuation notices, consider purchasing a NOAA weather radio or downloading the free Red Cross Emergency App. Determine multiple evacuation routes and practice with your family.

For more info about emergency evacuations, visit:http://www.ready.gov/evacuating-yourself-and-your-family

emergency app

Sept. 4:

As we wrap up the first week of ‪#‎NatlPrep‬ Month, learn how to create defensible space to separate your home from flammable vegetation and materials.

Zone 1: A minimum of 30 feet is needed for firefighters to protect a structure from wildfire. On a slope, increase the distance to 100 feet downhill of the structure. Use low growing and low flammability plants, spaced apart from each other. Remove dead material.

Zone 2: Deciduous trees and shrubs and widely-spaced conifers may be used in Zone 2. Remove branches within 8 feet of the ground (but no more than 30 percent of the height of the tree) and space trees so that crowns remain at least 10 feet apart at maturity. Remove tree limbs and other materials that allow fire to burn into the tree crown.

Zone 3: Manage this zone to maintain forest stand health and other landowner objectives. Limit number of dead trees but save some for wildlife (1 or 2 dead trees per acre).

For information on preparing your family and home for wildfires, visit:www.firesafemt.org

For information on general disaster preparedness, visit:http://serve.mt.gov/readymontana-news/


Week 2:  Severe Weather

Sept. 7:

For the 2nd week of ‪#‎NatlPrep‬ Month, we'll be focusing on severe weather. To get started, learn more about hazardous weather by checking out one of the four National Weather Service offices in your area:

Great Falls National Weather Service Office: https://www.facebook.com/NWSGreatFalls

Glasgow National Weather Service Office: https://www.facebook.com/NWSGlasgow

Billings National Weather Service Office: https://www.facebook.com/NWSBillings

Missoula National Weather Service Office: https://www.facebook.com/NWSMissoula

Slide1 Slide2 Slide3 Slide4 Slide5

Sept. 8:

Winter Driving Checklist:
1. Allow extra time to get to your destination.
2. Clean off your car. Keep windows, mirrors and lights clear of snow and ice.
3. Always buckle up.
4. Slowdown in poor visibility conditions.
5. Maintain a safe distance behind other vehicles.
6. Expect ice on bridges and in shady spots.
7. Don't pass snowplows or spreaders unless it's absolutely necessary.
8. Prepare your vehicle for winter driving at the start of the season.
9. Check to be sure all four tires are in good condition.
10. Don't wait until the last minute to get snow tires mounted. 
11. Keep an emergency travel kit in your car.

For more information about driving safely in the winter, visit: 

winter 1winter 5winter 4winter 3winter 2

Sept. 9:

We may not think of drought as severe weather, but drought conditions can be linked to increased wildfire risk and water scarcity issues.  For information about drought hazards in Montana, visit: http://drought.mt.gov/default.aspx

drought 1 drought 2 drought 3 drought 4 drought 5

Sept. 10:

In the event of a disaster, "shelter-in-place" means to take immediate shelter where you are—at home, work, school, or in between. It may also mean seal the room- take steps to prevent outside air from coming in. This is because local authorities may instruct you to shelter-in-place if chemical or radiological contaminants are released into the environment. If advised, close all windows and venting systems in your home and go to an interior room. Remember to take your emergency supply kit with you! Remain there until you hear it is safe from local officials.

Sept. 11:

Severe weather, such as blizzards, high winds, and thunderstorms can knock out power for several days. Businesses may also be affected and roads could be impassible. Having sufficient water, food, and supplies for your family is critical if you are unable to leave your home for an extended period of time.

Be prepared by having an emergency supply kit with several days’ worth of resources. Keep it in a secure location in your home and rotate food and water annually.

For more information on building an emergency supply kit, visit:http://www.redcross.org/prepare/location/home-family/get-kit

For more information about sheltering-in-place, visit: http://emergency.cdc.gov/preparedness/shelter/

Week 3:  Floods

Sept. 14:

Floods are the most common and costly natural disasters in Montana and the U.S.

Floods can be caused by:
• fast melting snow
• severe storms
• ice jams
• heavy rainfall

Flooding can happen anywhere, but certain areas are especially prone to serious flooding. Use flood maps to know your risk: www.floodsmart.gov/…/flooding_…/understanding_flood_maps.jsp

Just a few inches of water can cause thousands of dollars in damage. Standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding. Be Flood Smart – Buy Flood Insurance for your home and assets.

For more information on flooding and flood insurance, visit:www.floodsmart.gov

Sept. 15:

Fact of the Day: Montana has the highest number of recorded ice jams in the Continental US. Over 1,700 ice jams have been reported in Montana since 1894!

Fluctuating winter temperatures can cause ice break-ups on frozen rivers and streams. Ice chunks can jam and cause flooding upstream, or release suddenly and send a surge of water downstream.

Be prepared for flooding and ice jams if you live near a river or stream:
• Keep a safe distance from any ice jam
• Have an emergency kit ready if your home gets isolated due to flooding
• Have a plan for where to go and who to call if you have to evacuate quickly

Flooding damages from ice jams can be covered by flood insurance. A 30-day wait applies before a flood insurance policy becomes effective.www.floodsmart.gov

For more information on ice jams, visit:http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/tfx/icejam/

ice jam

Sept. 16:

The more stress we have, the less productive our immune system can be. So when a disaster occurs, the risk of getting sick increases. Fortunately, many diseases that can spread in a disaster are preventable.

Getting sick during an emergency can make a bad situation worse; so, in the event of a disaster: 
• Make sure to wash your hands regularly 
• Maintain good hygiene 
• Use purified/clean water
• Cook and store food properly

Before a disaster, make sure you are up-to-date on all of your vaccinations.

For more information about diseases which may arise in a Montana Disaster, visit: 

Sept. 17:

Land that was recently burned by a wildfire is called a “burn scar.” When rain falls over a burn scar, the ground is unable to absorb much of the water. The rainfall runs across the burned land, quickly collecting in the lowest area, resulting in ‪#‎FlashFlooding‬. If you live, work or are hiking or vacationing near an area affected by a wildfire, keep in mind it will not take much rainfall to cause flooding. Even areas that aren’t traditionally flood prone are at risk, due to changes to the landscape caused by fire.

Be ‪#‎FloodSmart‬ – Reduce your risk:
• Make an emergency kit
• Plan evacuation routes
• Elevate appliances, water heaters, furnaces
• Keep important papers in a safe, waterproof place
• Buy flood insurance

For more information, visit: https://www.floodsmart.gov/…/flooding_…/flood_after_fire.jsp

Sept. 18:

As we finish our ‪#‎flood‬ focused week for ‪#‎NatlPrep‬ month, here are a few reminders of how to prepare your home for floods along with some items to keep in your emergency supply kit.

For more information, visit: www.floodsmart.gov or www.ready.gov/floods

Basement_Flood_Infographic Disaster_Kit_Infographic

Week 4:  Earthquakes

Sept. 21:

An ‪#‎earthquake‬ could occur at any time in Montana, so it’s important for you and your family to be prepared.

To learn more about earthquake preparedness, visit:www.shakeout.org/montana

For more information about National Preparedness Montana, visit:ready.mt.gov

NPM2015_Infographic_Earthquake_Slide1 NPM2015_Infographic_Earthquake_Slide2 NPM2015_Infographic_Earthquake_Slide3

Sept. 22:

One of the best ways to prepare for ‪#‎earthquakes‬ is by practicing what to do. An earthquake drill involves three basic steps:

1. Drop to the ground.
2. Cover yourself with a table or desk, and cover your head.
3. Hold on (until the shaking stops).

Join thousands of Montanans on Oct. 21st at 10:21am for the Great Montana ‪#‎ShakeOut‬, a statewide earthquake drill. Register and find more information at: www.shakeout.org/montana


Sept. 23:

Major ‪#‎earthquakes‬ can cause widespread power outages. If the power is out for multiple hours, perishable food in your refrigerator and freezer may not be safe to consume. Review the infographic to learn what to keep and what to toss.

For more information about earthquakes, visit:www.shakeout.org/montana

For more information about health and food safety during disasters, visit:http://1.usa.gov/1rDKFiY

poweroutage food safety

Sept. 24:

Because ‪#‎earthquakes‬ happen without warning, it's important to have emergency supply kit materials at home, work, and in your car. Here are 10 suggested items to keep on hand.

For more information about preparing for earthquakes, visit:http://www.community.fema.gov/hazard/earthquake/be-smart

For more information about ‪#‎NatlPrep‬ Month, visit: ready.mt.gov

earthquake kit supplies

Week 5:  Lead up to National PrepareAthon Day of Action on 9/30


To learn more about National Preparedness Month, visit www.ready.gov/September


Make a List and Check it Twice

As 2014 comes to a close, make the choice to be prepared in the new year.  It's like cleaning out the garage- no one really wants to do it, but once it's done, you'll feel better.  Preparing for disasters and emergencies can seem like a daunting effort, but start with a few easy steps.

Begin by setting a goal to build or update an emergency supply kit.  If a large disaster were to happen, you and your family may have to fend for yourselves for several days.  Having some basic supplies on hand will help you be self-sufficient.  Use this list as a starting point, and ammend it to fit your specific needs:

Image 6

After checking through the list, look around your home for items you may already have.  Spare flashlights?  Some dry soup mix?  Toss them into an old backpack or rubbermaid bin.  You don't need to buy brand new items for your kit.  Go to the thrift store and get extra blankets and sweaters.  Additional ways to save money on your kit:

  • Add to your kit in increments, rather than all at once.  Each month, add one thing to your kit.  When you buy cans of soup, grab an extra one for the kit.  Do the same with toothpaste, toilet paper, etc.
  • Look for sales on non-perishable foods and stock up.  Dry soup mixes and rice will last a long time if stored in a cool, dry area.
  • Rather than buying an expensive first aid kit, purchase items individually.  Additionally, the generic brands of aspirin, band-aids, and rubbing alcohol are typically cheaper than namebrand.
  • Consider getting a flashlight and radio that don't require batteries.  They may be more expensive up-front, but you'll save a lot by not buying batteries.
  • Keep a bottle of generic bleach, rather than expensive disinfectancts.  You can even disinfect water with just a few drops of bleach.
  • Get a couple puzzles and board games from garage sales and keep them in your kit.  It will keep you entertained if the power is out.

Your emergency kit doesn't have to be fancy, it just needs to have the essentials.  Add to it if you have special needs.  Are you dependent on certain medical equipment?  Do you have pets?  Do you care for elderly parents?  Making these preparations will help you feel ready for anything in 2015.  For more information, visit www.ready.gov

Over the river and through the woods… safely

'Tis the season to hit the road and visit friends and relatives.  Here are a few ways to make sure your travels are jolly this winter:

preparedness_5Keep a few emergency supply kit items in your car.  If you are unlucky enough to get stranded on the side of the road, stay with your car unless you see help nearby and the visibility is okay.

Check the weather before you go.  There are four National Weather Service offices in Montana which are staffed 24/7.  Bookmark this travel conditions website for up-to-date information:  http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/wrh/travel/?wfo=tfx

Fill up your gas tank frequently.  Don't let it drop below a third of a tank.  The embarassment alone of running out of gas should be enough to motivate you.

Give yourself extra time to arrive at your destination.  Keep a safe following distance behind other cars and snow plows.  Listen to some holiday music and don't rush on snowy roads.

Walk through your home before you leave to make sure everything is unplugged.  Do not leave your Christmas tree lights on while you are away from your home.  A few simple steps will reduce your chances for home fire this winter


Home Fire Safety

red cross mt idThe American Red Cross has committed itself to reducing the number of home fire injuries and deaths by launching a nationwide smoke alarm install program.  This weekend, December 13, Red Cross volunteers will be in Missoula and Roundup neighborhoods, installing free smoke alarms for homeowners.  Read the full news release below, provided by Anna Fernandez-Gevaert, Regional Communications Director.


The Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters a year – one every eight minutes – and most are home fires. 65 percent of all fire-related deaths occur in homes that have no functioning smoke alarms, yet a recent Red Cross survey found that 40 percent of people have lived in a home with no smoke alarm and 20 percent have disabled a smoke alarm because of nuisance beeping or flashing lights.

“We know smoke alarms cut the risk of death from a fire in half,” says David Kunzelman, Disaster Program Manager for the American Red Cross of Montana. “That is why the Red Cross is working with other local organizations to make smoke alarms available to some of Missoula’s most vulnerable residents.”

The Red Cross wants additional organizations to join in this important effort. “We hope to create a large coalition of partners to help bring fire safety to the people of Montana,” explains Kunzelman. “There is an urgent need to get this information out and Red Cross welcomes other organizations who want to participate in this important effort.”

Many Americans also have a false sense of security about surviving a fire. The Red Cross survey shows that people mistakenly believe they have more time than they really do to escape a burning home. While fire experts agree that people may have as little as two minutes to escape a burning home before it’s too late to get out, most Americans (62 percent) think they have at least five minutes to escape and nearly 18 percent believe they have ten minutes or more to evacuate.

For more Red Cross fire safety and preparedness information, visit redcross.org/homefires.

Download the free Red Cross First Aid App at redcross.org/apps to get access to life-saving information on what to do for common, everyday first aid emergencies including burns.

You can help people affected by disasters like home fires, as well as countless other crises at home and around the world, by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters. To make a donation, go to www.redcross.org/montana.

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 redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

Turkey Day Safety

Hard to believe, but Thanksgiving is just around the corner. While the holiday season is typically filled with tasty food, festive decorations, and time with family and friends, there are also some safety concerns to keep in mind.

Home Fires

According to the National Fire Protection Association, Thanksgiving is the top day for home fires caused by cooking accidents. In fact, 2 times more home fires are reported on Thanksgiving than on an average day!  So how can you reduce your risk?  Follow these tips:

  • Never leave your home while food is baking in the oven. Additionally, set an oven timer so you don’t burn your food
  • Keep young children and pets away from the stove
  • Clear the floor in your kitchen from any tripping hazards
  • Stay in the kitchen when food is cooking on the stovetop
  • Avoid wearing loose clothing or dangling jewelry while cooking
  • Check the batteries in your smoke alarms

Food Safety

It’s an American tradition to gorge ourselves on Thanksgiving dinner, but if you’re not careful, that tasty meal may leave you sick

  • Cook your turkey until the temperature reaches at least 165 degrees
  • Avoid leaving food out too long. Toss perishable food if it has been unrefrigerated for 2 or more hours
  • If you are traveling with a food dish, keep them at safe temps. Keep warm foods at 140 or higher by wrapping in foil and towels.  Keep cool dishes at 40 degrees or lower with coolers filled with ice.
  • The 5-second rule is a myth! If you drop your dinner roll, put it in the trash, not your mouth.

Holiday Travel

If you are heading out to eat someone else’s Thanksgiving feast, keep these travel safety tips in mind before you go:

  • Check road conditions frequently. Montana weather can vary drastically from one end of the state to the other.  http://oss.weathershare.org/#
  • Keep an emergency supply kit in your car for all members of your family:
    • Heavy coat, gloves, hat
    • Sturdy boots
    • Blanket or sleeping bag
    • Extra water and food
    • Small shovel or scoop (you can also pop off a hubcap or the windshield visor and use it to scoop snow)
    • Bright flagging or a flashlight to identify your location
    • First aid kit
  • Don’t rush. Expect heavy traffic.  Leave early so you don’t have to hurry.
  • Keep your gas tank full- no one wants to be stranded in a cold car.winter kit supplies


Disaster Response in Detroit

roadway flooded

Flooded freeway in Detroit

This summer, Detroit was hit with record flooding. Areas of the city reported 4-6 inches of rain coming down in a single day.  The airport received more than an inch of rain within a 24 minute period.  As a result, roadways, basements, and businesses were soon filled with muddy water.

Though the Motor City is two time zones away, the generosity of Montana reached out to those in need.  In October, 10 members of the Montana Conservation Corps loaded up their rigs and headed to Michigan to help Detroit recover.  More than 20 additional AmeriCorps members from the Conservation Corps Minnesota and Iowa, Arizona Conservation Corps, and the Texas Conservation Corps met them in Detroit to help.  Since August, these AmeriCorps teams have collectively served nearly 4,000 hours; mucked and gutted more than 70 affected homes; and cleared more than 800 cubic yards of debris.

AmeriCorps members are no strangers to disaster response.  Several programs, such as the Montana Conservation Corps, are poised to deploy teams after large disasters, such as Hurricane Sandy.  In previous disasters, MCC members have filled sandbags, removed debris, managed warehouses and inventories, and staffed shelters.  When asked what AmeriCorps members and communities have gained from getting involved in disaster response, Lee Gault, MCC Director of Partnerships, says,

"They see the chaos that goes with most natural disasters and they invariably step into leadership roles. They are part of historic events. But most importantly, I think they gain a greater sense of compassion for their fellow man; they see other people suffering and their first response is to ask how they can help.

Communities begin to see AmeriCorps members as extremely important resources. They see young people showing up, wanting to serve.  They see the almost unlimited capacity and willingness of these young folks to help. They also benefit from the services members provide; trees are cleared, roofs are patched, debris is removed, volunteers are organized and people who have lost their homes have a safe place to spend the night."

Montana Conservation Corps members cleaning out flood affected homes

Montana Conservation Corps members cleaning out flood affected homes

For more, read this great article from the Helena Independent Record:


Have a Spooky & Safe Halloween

The following are a few tips from the Centers for Disease Control to keep you and your family safe this halloween:


Swords, knives, and other costume accessories should be short, soft, and flexible.

Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult.

Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you.

Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them. Limit the amount of treats you eat.

Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see and others see you. Always WALK and don't run from house to house.

Always test make-up in a small area first. Remove it before bedtime to prevent possible skin and eye irritation.

Look both ways before crossing the street. Use established crosswalks wherever possible.

Lower your risk for serious eye injury by not wearing decorative contact lenses.

Only walk on sidewalks whenever possible, or on the far edge of the road facing traffic to stay safe.

Wear well-fitting masks, costumes, and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips, and falls.

Eat only factory-wrapped treats. Avoid eating homemade treats made by strangers.

Enter homes only if you're with a trusted adult. Only visit well-lit houses. Never accept rides from strangers.

Never walk near lit candles or luminaries. Be sure to wear flame-resistant costumes.


And, if you are driving on Halloween night, slow down and be on the lookout for trick-or-treaters!


Get Ready to ShakeOut on October 22nd


Helena, October 21, 2014—At 10:22 a.m. on October 22, 2014, more than 150,000 Montanans will simultaneously “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” in what has become the world’s largest earthquake drill. Joining millions of others across the United States and around the world, Montanans will practice the earthquake safety technique that is widely regarded as one of the best ways to protect against injury during major earthquakes.

“The Montana ShakeOut is a great and simple way to prepare for earthquakes.  These three steps— Drop, Cover, and Hold on— can save lives if the ground starts shaking,” Governor Steve Bullock said.  “The ShakeOut is one day a year when multiple groups across the state—schools, businesses, healthcare facilities, even state agencies—are simultaneously participating in an earthquake drill.  The widespread involvement is a testament to how much we value safety and preparedness in Montana.”

Participants can take part in the ShakeOut drill wherever they find themselves on October 22 at 10:22 AM—at home, at work or while traveling. Here is how “Drop, Cover and Hold On” works:

  • Drop to the ground
  • Take Cover by getting under a sturdy desk or table, and cover your head and neck.
  • Hold On to your shelter until the shaking stops. Be prepared for aftershocks.

To learn more and sign up for the Great Montana ShakeOut, go to http://www.shakeout.org/montana/. Registration takes only 5 minutes and will add your name to the growing number of registrations in Montana.  Find out who else is participating by visiting www.shakeout.org/montana/whoisparticipating. Sign up today!

The 2014 Great Montana ShakeOut is supported by the Governor’s Office of Community Service, State of Montana Disaster and Emergency Services, Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology, MT Department of Administration, MT Department of Public Health and Human Services, American Red Cross of Montana, and multiple partners across the state. At the national level, the drills are sponsored by the Earthquake Country Alliance whose members include the Federal Emergency Management Agency, American Red Cross, and the United States Geological Survey.

New Campaign to Reduce Home Fire Deaths

The American Red Cross has announced a new national campaign to reduce deaths and injuries from home fires by as much as 25 percent over the next five years.Red Cross Logo

The campaign seeks to increase the use of smoke alarms in neighborhoods with higher numbers of home fires and to encourage all Americans to practice their fire escape plans.

“We know smoke alarms cut the risk of death from a fire in half and that’s why the Red Cross is working with fire departments and community groups in some of the most fire-affected neighborhoods around the country to install smoke alarms and teach people about home fire safety,” said Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the American Red Cross. “We’re asking every household to take two simple steps that can save lives: check their existing smoke alarms and practice fire drills at home.”

Many Americans Mistaken about Their Ability to Survive a Fire

The Red Cross fire prevention campaign comes at a time when a new national survey shows many Americans have a false sense of security about surviving a fire.

The survey, conducted for the Red Cross, shows that people mistakenly believe they have more time than they really do to escape a burning home. Fire experts agree that people may have as little as two minutes to escape a burning home before it’s too late to get out. But most Americans (62 percent) mistakenly believe they have at least five minutes to escape, more than twice the amount they actually have. Nearly 18 percent erroneously believe they have ten minutes or more to get out.

When asked about their confidence levels in escaping a burning home, about 42 percent of those polled said they could get out in two minutes. Nearly seven in 10 parents (69 percent) believe their children would know what to do or how to escape with little help.

However, the poll showed few actions had been taken that would support the level of confidence of parents about their children’s ability to escape a fire:

  • Less than one in five families with children age 3-17 (18 percent) have actually practiced home fire drills.
  • Less than half of parents (48 percent) have talked to their families about fire safety.
  • Only one third of families with children (30 percent) have identified a safe place to meet outside their home.

Four Fire Safety Steps

There are several things families and individuals can do to increase their chances of surviving a fire:

  • If someone doesn’t have smoke alarms, install them. At a minimum, put one on every level of the home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Local building codes vary and there may be additional requirements where someone lives.
  • If someone does have alarms, test them today. If they don’t work, replace them.
  • Make sure that everyone in the family knows how to get out of every room and how to get out of the home in less than two minutes.
  • Practice that plan. What’s the household’s escape time?

The Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters each year in the United States – and the vast majority of those are home fires. Over the next several months, the Red Cross will team up with local fire departments and community groups to install smoke alarms in neighborhoods with high numbers of home fires.

People can visit redcross.org to find out more about how to protect themselves and their loved homes from fire or contact their local Red Cross to find out the location of local smoke alarm installation events.

You can help people affected by disasters like home fires, as well as countless other crises at home and around the world, by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters. To make a donation, go to www.redcross.org/montana or call 1-800-ARC-MONT (1-800-272-6668). Contributions may also be sent to American Red Cross of Montana, 1300 28th Street South, Great Falls, MT 59405.

The national public opinion survey was conducted for the Red Cross July 17-20, 2014 using ORC International’s Online CARAVAN omnibus survey. The study was conducted among a national sample of 1,130 American adults, including 311 parents of children aged 3-17. The total sample is balanced to be representative of the US adult population in terms of age, sex, geographic region, race and education.  The margin of error for the total sample of 1,130 adults is +/- 2.92 percent. The margin of error for the sample of 311 parents is +/- 5.56 percent.

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 redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross

Post submitted by Anna Fernandez-Gevaert, Communications Director for the American Red Cross of Montana on Oct. 8, 2014

Great Montana ShakeOut

More than 118,000 Montanans to Participate in Statewide Earthquake Drill on October 22

 At 10:22 a.m. on October 22, 2014, more than 117,000 Montanans will join millions of people across the United States and around the world to “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” in the world’s largest earthquake drill.

While almost all US states are at some risk for earthquakes, Montana is at greater risk than average of experiencing a catastrophic event. According to the United States Geological Survey, Montana is one of only 16 states at high risk for seismic events of a magnitude 6 or higher. The ShakeOut is Montana’s chance to learn how we can protect ourselves during an earthquake and to practice the recommended “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” technique.usgs earthquake map 2014

“The Montana ShakeOut is a great and simple way to prepare for earthquakes. These three steps— Drop, Cover, and Hold on— can save lives if the ground starts shaking,” Governor Steve Bullock said.  “The ShakeOut is one day a year when multiple groups across the state— schools, businesses, healthcare facilities, even state agencies— are simultaneously participating in an earthquake drill.  The widespread involvement is a testament to how much we value safety and preparedness in Montana.”

Participants can take part in the drill wherever they find themselves on October 22 at 10:22 a.m.—at home, at work or while traveling. When an earthquake occurs, Montanans may have only seconds to protect themselves before strong shaking knocks them down or before large objects or entire buildings start to collapse on them. Learning how to “Drop, Cover and Hold On” is a great way for Montanans to be prepared to survive and recover quickly from major earthquakes.

Here is what to do when the earth starts shaking:

o    Drop to the ground

o    Take Cover by getting under a sturdy desk or table, and cover your head and neck.

o    Hold On to your shelter until the shaking stops. Be prepared for aftershocks.drop cover hold on

Other earthquake tips include:

o    If you are outdoors, stay there and get away from buildings and overhead utility wires.

o    If you are driving, pull off to the side of the road and stay in your vehicle.  Avoid overpasses, bridges, power lines and other roadside hazards.

o    If no desk or table is available, move to an inside corner of a building and cover your head and neck with your arms.  In modern homes, doorways are no safer than other parts of the house!

o    Before an earthquake occurs, secure large furniture to the wall, including large wall hangings and mirrors.

o    Know how to shut off utilities like your gas if they are damaged.

o    Download the free Earthquake App from the American Red Cross to receive alerts and notifications…

o    And remember; be prepared to be on your own for at least 72 hours: build an emergency supply kit, make a plan, stay informed, and help your neighbors.

The 2014 Great Montana ShakeOut is supported by the following:  Governor’s Office of Community Service, State of Montana Disaster and Emergency Services, Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology, MT Department of Administration, MT Department of Public Health and Human Services, American Red Cross of Montana, and multiple partners across the state. At the national level, the drills are sponsored by the Earthquake Country Alliance whose members include the Federal Emergency Management Agency, American Red Cross, and the United States Geological Survey.

To learn more and sign up for the Great Montana ShakeOut, go to http://www.shakeout.org/montana/. Registration takes 5 minutes and will ensure that you and your organization receive updates and are counted in the grand total.

Week 4 – National Preparedness Month

National Preparedness Month is winding down, and what better way to close than by practicing a drill. Knowing what types of hazards and disasters are most likely to affect you is a great start.  Building an emergency supply kit will help sustain you after a disaster.  But do you know what to do when a disaster is occurring?

When a disaster strikes, your brain is going to go into fight or flight mode and it may become difficult to make good decisions. Practicing the appropriate actions before a disaster occurs will help you remember what to do when your adrenaline is pumping.  Going through a drill could also help you remain calm and keep those around you safe.

Here are some ways to practice being prepared:

    • Gather your family members and practice a home evacuation drill. Go to your meeting place and discuss your communication plan. http://www.ready.gov/family-communications
    • Practice how to shelter-in-place at your home: http://www.ready.gov/shelter
    • Practice an emergency drill at your workplace. Or check out Ready Rating from the Red Cross: http://readyrating.org/   Grab coffee or lunch afterwards to get people involved.wea_alert_02
    • Register for the Montana ShakeOut earthquake drill on Oct. 22nd at www.shakeout.org/montana.  At 10:22am, simply Drop low to the ground; Cover yourself with a desk or table and protect your head and neck; and Hold on to keep the table over you.
    • Sign up for “Wireless Emergency Alerts” on your phone to receive important updates. http://www.ready.gov/alerts
    • Visit America’s PrepareAthon website to find information on preparedness activities and drills. If you are hosting an event, be sure to register it on the calendar! www.ready.gov/prepare

Just because National Preparedness Month is almost over, doesn’t mean you should stop with preparedness actions. Follow @ReadyMontana on Twitter for daily tips and visit ready.mt.gov for more information

Week 3 – National Preparedness Month

Know how to build an emergency supply kit...

It’s the third week of National Preparedness Month! This week, we’re encouraging folks to build or restock their emergency supply kits.  There are several reasons why people don’t put together a kit, and we’re not going to pass judgment, because the task can seem daunting.  We’re going to debunk 3 common reasons why people don’t have emergency supply kits, and hopefully we’ll motivate some readers to change their outlook.supplykit

  1. I don’t know what to put in my kit…

The list of recommended items can go on for pages, but try to focus on things you would use in your everyday life. A good first step is to write down a list of items you might need if you were out of electricity or had to evacuate for 3-4 days.

  • We won’t list it here, but a thorough list of emergency supply kit items can be found at: http://www.ready.gov/build-a-kit
  • If you are a camping enthusiast, pack your kit as if you’re going on a 3-day camping trip. Or just keep your gear in a large tote and it can double as a supply kit.
  • Do you have pets? Don’t forget to include food and water for your furry friends!
  1. Kits are too expensive…

It’s true that some of the items in your kit, like a radio, can be pricey, you can build a kit without breaking the bank.

  • Before you go out and buy new items, search through your house to see if you already have some of the items.
  • Check thrift stores and garage sales for things like blankets and flashlights.
  • Buy non-perishable food in bulk. Dry rice and pasta is cheap and will last a long time if it is stored properly.
  • Instead of buying everything your kit at once, break it down and buy one thing per month for a year.
  1. I probably won’t even use it…
  • If you’re lucky, you won’t have to use it. However, just like your mom telling you to take a coat, it’s better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.
  • Maybe you’ll never experience a catastrophic event, but if you live in Montana, you’ll probably experience a winter blizzard, spring flooding, or summer wildfires. These smaller events may not affect you for more than a day or two, but if you’re stuck in your home, you’ll be glad you have a supply kit.

Final tip: Be realistic.  Having just a few items in your emergency supply kit is still better than no kit at all!


Week 2 – National Preparedness Month

Know how to plan for specific needs before a disaster...

Although disaster preparedness is something that everyone can do, the process can be specialized for certain populations. Young children and infants have specific needs that may differ from their grandparents.  Students on college campuses may take different preparedness steps from small business owners.  No matter what category you fit into, there are resources to help you plan at www.ready.gov.  And remember that having a plan, no matter how basic, is still better than no plan at all.

emergency plan comic

Here are few additional resources to help you plan:

Persons with access or functional needs: http://www.ready.gov/individuals-access-functional-needs

Infants and young children: http://www.ready.gov/infants-young-children

Resources for college students: http://www.ready.gov/campus

Considerations for older Americans: http://www.ready.gov/campus

Training for tribal leaders: http://www.fema.gov/training/training-tribal-representatives

Planning for various locations: http://www.ready.gov/plan-for-locations

Free assessment for your business or workplace: http://readyrating.org/

Business continuity planning: http://www.ready.gov/business-continuity-planning-suite

Stay tuned for more preparedness tips throughout the month of September!

Week 1 – National Preparedness Month

How to reconnect with family after a disaster…

If a natural disaster occurred today, would you be able to get in touch with your family members? Would your kids know where to go to meet you?  During this first week of National Preparedness Month, take time to sit down with your family and form or revisit your emergency communication plan.

Here are some things to consider:

Where will your family meet if the disaster happens during work hours? Should you have a backup location?  Do you know where to pick up your children if their school must evacuate?

emergency-contact-card-sampleDo you have phone numbers and contact info for at least two individuals? Consider having an out of town contact because it may be easier to call outside of the affected region.

Is your In Case of Emergency, or “ICE”, contact updated in your phone? Emergency responders will often check for this if you’re in an accident.

Is there anyone in your family with special needs or functional disabilities? What items would they need in the first 72 hours after a disaster?

Check out the Red Cross Safe and Well program and bookmark the website before a disaster happens. It can help you find out if family and friends are safe:  http://safeandwell.communityos.org/cms/index.php

Visit these websites for more information:



September means Preparedness

September… Kids are heading back to school, the summer heat is fading away, and the hustle and bustle of Montana summer is slowing down.  September is also National Preparedness Month, an awareness campaign sponsored by FEMA.  Each week this month, a different theme will be highlighted.

Week 1 – How to… Reconnect with Family After a Disaster.

Week 2 – Know How To plan for specific needs before a Disaster.

Week 3 – How to… Build an Emergency Kit.

Week 4 & 5 – How to… Practice for an emergency

There are sample tweets and posts to use on your own social media pages, which can be found by downloading the toolkit at: http://www.ready.gov/september

NPM logo

Follow Ready Montana on Twitter @ReadyMT for updates and preparedness tips throughout the month!

The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services will also be highlighting National Preparedness Month on their website and social media pages.

CDC resources: http://www.cdc.gov/features/beready/

MT DPHHS homepage: http://www.dphhs.mt.gov/index.shtml

MT DPHHS facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MTDPHHS

Red Sky in Morning…

… sailors take warning? Okay, that may not apply to Montanans, but red skies may still pose a hazard to you.

Smokey Skies

Hazy summer days may result in beautiful sunrises and sunsets, but they can be a serious threat to our airways. Wildfire smoke is composed of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, particulates, and many additional elements, depending on the fuel burned.  The microscopic particulates are approximately the same size as the wavelength of visible light which is why they scatter light, resulting in reduced visibility and colorful sunsets.

If you’re healthy, a small amount of smoke probably won’t significantly affect you. However, prolonged exposure to high levels of smoke may result in:

“… irritation of the eyes and respiratory tract to more serious disorders, including asthma, bronchitis, reduced lung function and premature death. Studies have found that fine particulate matter is linked (alone or with other pollutants) with a number of significant respiratory and cardiovascular-related effects, including increased mortality and aggravation of existing respiratory and cardiovascular disease. In addition, airborne particles are respiratory irritants, and laboratory studies show that high concentrations of particulate matter cause persistent cough, phlegm, wheezing and physical discomfort in breathing. Particulate matter can also alter the body’s immune system and affect removal of foreign materials from the lung, like pollen and bacteria.”

Certain individuals may be more succeptable to smoke in the air:

  • Individuals with asthma, or respiratory problems
  • Individuals with cardiovascular disease
  • Older adults
  • Children
  • Smokers

How to protect your healthair_quality_index

o   Check air quality indexes and follow the news during wildfire season.



o   If the air quality is unhealthy or hazardous, limit your time outdoors.  Keep doors and windows closed.

o   Use common sense.  Smokey days may provide you with a great excuse to avoid mowing the lawn or exercising.  Go see a movie instead.

For more information on the hazards of wildfire smoke, visit these sites:



Remember Fire Safety this 4th of July

A friendly reminder from our partners:

The Department of Natural Resources and Conservation seeks the public’s help to be “Fire Smart” over the Fourth of July and throughout the summer.SmokeyFireSafety2

Please remember that fireworks are prohibited on all state and federal lands. Exploding targets available for sale to recreational shooters are also considered a pyrotechnic product and are included under these restrictions.

Contact your local fire department to determine local restrictions. Anyone who causes a wildland fire intentionally or through negligence will be held accountable for damage and suppression costs.

The smallest spark has the potential to start a wildfire and cause significant damage. Never leave a campfire unattended, always crush cigarettes dead out, ensure that your vehicle has a properly installed spark arrester that is operational, and stop and park only in areas clear of vegetation.

For those who are camping over the 4th of July, remember to extinguish campfires properly with water and dirt until coals are cool to the touch.

Always be prepared: carry a shovel, bucket and fire extinguisher. Anyone operating haying and harvesting equipment should be especially vigilant and have a fire extinguisher, shovel, and water with them.

To report wildfires, call 911.

And for more information about the DNRC, visit: http://dnrc.mt.gov/Forestry/Fire/Default.asp


4th of July Safety

Summertime is finally here. With the celebration of Independence Day just around the corner, here are some tips to stay safe this holiday weekend.

Make sure that fireworks are legal in your area and that there are no fire restrictions before buying or using them. Fireworks are prohibited on all forested, state, and federal land in Montana. Check with your local fire department or city officials to learn about any city restrictions. Check here for information on current fire restrictions in Montana.Fireworks

Here are some tips from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to help make sure that you and your family stay safe this Fourth of July:

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks
  • Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
  • Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don’t realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees- hot enough to melt some metals.
  • Never place any part of the body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose hand in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding to prevent a trash fire.

And what 4th of July would be complete without an outdoor barbeque?  Follow these suggestions from the FDA to avoid foodborne illness.

  • Don’t let food sit outside for more than 1-2 hours, depending on the temperature.
  • Dishes like chicken salad should be placed on pans of ice.
  • Cook and grill meat thoroughly.  Usually between 145oF -165oF.
  • Keep refrigerated foods at 40oF to prevent bacterial growth.
  • If in doubt, throw it out!  That last brat may still look delicious at the end of the day, but you’re better off without it.hot dogs

Lightning Safety Awareness Week

June 22-28 is Lightning Safety Awareness Week. Summer is a great time to be outdoors in Montana, but it also comes with the risk of severe weather, including lightning.  According to the National Weather Service, Montana averages more than 330,000 cloud to ground strikes every year.  Be prepared and informed before you get caught in the middle of a thunderstorm.

Here are some safety tips for you and your family:

  • Check www.weather.gov before heading outside.  Plan accordingly if you see severe weather watches or warnings in your area.
  • If you hear thunder or see a bolt of lightning, head inside a building or enclosed car and wait until 30 minutes have passed since the last sound of thunder.
  • If you are inside, avoid plumbing, unplug computers and electrical equipment, and stay away from windows and concrete walls.

If you are outside with no safe shelter, follow these tips:

  • Avoid hilltops or elevated areas.
  • Don’t shelter yourself underneath a tree.  Better to get wet than struck.
  • Avoid cliffs and rocky overhangs.
  • Get out of rivers, lakes or other bodies of water.
  • Stay away from wire fences, power lines and windmills.
  • Tents don’t offer protection from lightning, but as you are setting up camp, consider your tent location in relation to trees, hilltops, etc.

Check out some of these additional resources and be safe this summer:

NOLS Backcountry Lightning Safety Guidlines

National Weather Service Lightning Safety

Myths and Facts

Lightning Strike Map

Regional NWS offices in Montana:



Great Falls


Wrapping up Wildfire Awareness Week

On Day 5 of our Wildfire Awareness Week campaign—a joint effort by  FireSafe Montana, Keep Montana Green, the Governor’s Office of Community Service, the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, and Montana Red Cross—the focus is on what to expect after a wildfire and on how to recover.

“While the hazards of a raging wildfire are well known, people can also get hurt when they return to their fire-ravaged properties,” says Montana Red Cross chief executive officer, Rod Kopp. “Knowing about these potential hazards beforehand will help keep you and your family safe.”

The period following a wildfire can be just as dangerous as the actual fire. Don’t return to your home until fire officials say it is safe.  Use caution and exercise good judgment when entering a burned area.  Hazards may still exist, including hot spots, which can flare up without warning.  If you feel it is unsafe to stay in your home, you can text SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area.  Follow these additional guidelines as you recover:

  • Avoid damaged or fallen power poles or wires – Immediately report electrical damage to authorities. Electric wires can deliver shocks or ignite new fires. If possible, remain on the scene to warn others of the hazard until repair crews arrive.
  • Be careful around burned trees and power poles – Theymay have become unstable because of fire damage or loss of support from surrounding trees.
  • Watch for ash pits and mark them for safety – Ash pits are holes full of hot ashes, created where intense fire has burned trees or stumps deep into the ground. People or animals can be seriously burned by falling into ash pits. Erect a barrier with nonflammable materials such as wire mesh fencing or otherwise clearly mark such areas.
  • Inspect roofs immediately and extinguish any sparks or embers – Windsmay have deposited burning embers that could reignite.
  • If there is no power, check to make sure the main breaker is on – Firesmay cause breakers to trip. If the breakers are on and power is still not present, contact your utility company.
  • For several hours afterward, recheck for smoke and sparks outside and inside the home, including the attic – Thewinds of wildfires can blow burning embers anywhere. Keep checking your home for embers that could cause new fires.
  • Take precautions while cleaning your property –
    • Follow public health guidance on safe cleanup of fire ash and safe use of masks.
    • Wet down debris to minimize health impacts from breathing dust particles.
    • Wear leather gloves and heavy shoes to protect hands and feet from sharp objects while removing debris.
    • Wear rubber gloves when working with outhouse remnants, plumbing fixtures and sewer piping as they can contain high levels of bacteria.
  • If you have a propane tank system, turn off valves and leave them closed until a propane supplier inspects the system – Heatcan damage tanks, brass and copper fittings, and lines, leaving them unsafe. If fire heated the tank, the pressure relief valve probably opened and released the contents.
  • If you have a fuel oil tank system, contact your supplier for an inspection of the system before use – Thetank may have shifted or fallen from its stand and fuel lines may have kinked or weakened. The fire may have loosened or damaged fittings and filters.
  • Check your trees for stability – Any tree that has been weakened by fire may be a hazard. Winds topple weakened trees and the loss of trees can change wind patterns in your area.
  • Make sure you do not use water that may have been contaminated  – Avoid washing dishes, brushing teeth, preparing food, washing hands, and making ice or baby formula with tap water until you know the water is safe.

In addition to the physical aftermath, the emotional impact of wildfires can be significant. When we experience a disaster or another stressful life event, we can have a variety of reactions, all of which can be common responses to difficult situations. These reactions can include:

  • Feeling physically and mentally drained
  • Having difficulty making decisions or staying focused on topics
  • Becoming easily frustrated on a more frequent basis
  • Arguing more with family and friends
  • Feeling tired, sad, numb, lonely or worried
  • Experiencing changes in appetite or sleep patterns

Most of these reactions are temporary and will go away over time. To find out more about what to expect after a traumatic event and how to recover, please visit this website. You can also request mental health assistance by calling Montana Red Cross at 1-800-272-6668. Trained mental health providers are available to help you cope with the aftermath of a disaster.

Wildfire Awareness Week – Day 4

Day 4: Preparing Your Family for a Wildfire Evacuation.

Wildfire Awareness Week is a weeklong effort to raise awareness in Montana about wildfire safety. FireSafe Montana, Keep Montana Green, the Governor’s Office of Community Service, the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, and Montana Red Cross have teamed up to make sure you and your family are prepared for wildfire season.

“In any fire emergency, personal safety is the highest priority. In the event of a wildfire, public evacuation from harm’s way is the most important way that firefighters and other emergency responders can ensure the safety of those they serve. Evacuation preparedness is also one of the most important ways that citizens can share the responsibility of dealing with wildfire in our communities.” Sean Logan, Chief, Helena Fire Department

On Day 4 of our campaign, we are going to take a closer look at how to prepare for a wildfire evacuation. Wildfires can spread quickly, and you and your family may have to leave at a moment’s notice. Don’t count on having ample time to gather your belongings and evacuate to safety. Have a plan established before wildfire season arrives. Here are a few tips to help you prepare:

Create an evacuation plan with your family or household members & delegate responsibilities:

o    Put together an emergency kit to take with you when you evacuate. For a detailed list of what to include in your kit, go to www.redcross.org/prepare.

o    Prepare a “vital information kit” (important documents, banking, medical records, credit cards, utility service providers, passwords, passports, etc.)

o    Maintain a list of emergency numbers or save the numbers on each cell phone. Register phone numbers with your county’s emergency services Reverse 911 system.

o    Choose an out-of-area emergency contact person. It may be easier to text or call long distance if local phone lines are overloaded or out of service.

o    Identify a place to meet outside your home and neighborhood in case you are separated. Establish a list of temporary housing options.

o    Plan and practice several evacuation routes from your home.

o    Plan ahead for your pets and livestock. Keep a phone list of pet-friendly hotels/motels and animal shelters along your evacuation routes.

o    Review your home insurance policy and update as necessary

Wildfire Awareness Week_June 2014

When a wildfire threatens your immediate area, here are some tips to prepare for evacuation:

  • Tune in to local radio and television stations for updated emergency information and air quality reports.
  • Limit exposure to smoke and dust, especially true for children, elderly and asthmatics. Keep indoor air clean by closing windows and doors to prevent outside smoke from getting in.
  • Close windows and doors, but do not lock. Close curtains, shutters, and blinds.
  • Turn on exterior lights.
  • Remove flammable items from decks and porches, like cushions on lawn furniture.
  • Confine pets to one room so that you can find them if you need to evacuate quickly.
  • Open gates for animals that cannot be evacuated.
  • Connect a hose to the spigot. Mark any water sources on your property.
  • Shut off gas lines
  • Leave a ladder for firefighters.
  • Put your emergency kit in your car.
  • Back your car into the garage or park it in an open space facing the direction of escape, with windows closed and keys in the ignition. Keep your gas tank full during fire season.
  • Use the recycle or re-circulate mode on the air conditioner in your home or car.
  • Put your best driver at the wheel. Turn on lights, drive slowly and watch out for emergency vehicles.
  • Take a deep breath. Stay calm and think clearly.

A wildfire is a complex event that can quickly transform your neighborhood into a dark and dangerous area. Stressful situations can cause people to panic and rush, making them hazardous to themselves and others.  Plan ahead to ensure sufficient time to relocate safely, and in a calm manner.

For more information on how to prepare an evacuation plan, go to the websites listed below.


Wildfire Awareness Week – Day 3

Day 3: Prepare Your Property for Wildfire Season

It’s Day 3 of Wildfire Awareness Week. FireSafe Montana, Keep Montana Green, the Governor’s Office of Community Service, the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, and Montana Red Cross have joined forces to raise awareness this week about wildfire safety. Please join us in our statewide effort to help you and your family plan and prepare for wildfire season, and to prevent wildfires in your community.

"Preparing your home for wildfire season may seem overwhelming, but even small actions will add up. Every step you take to remove a possible ignition source around your home increases your security and overall resiliency." Jennifer LaManna, FireSafe Montana

On day 3 of our campaign, we invite you to take a closer look at the many things you can do to protect your property from wildfire this summer.Studies show that as many as 80 percent of the homes lost to wildland fires could have been saved if their owners had only followed a few simple fire-safe practices. Here are a few tips to get you started:

If you live next to a wildland area, make sure you create and sustain a “survivable space” around your home, a buffer zone of at least a 200-foot radius.When evaluating the area surrounding the home, consider the terrain. Steep slopes, canyons, saddles, and southern aspects generally increase fire behavior and, depending on where the house is constructed, greater distance between the home and forest fuels may be required. Remember that the goal is not to eliminate fire, but to decrease the chance of fire destroying a home.  As you evaluate you property divide it into 3 concentric zones:

In Zone 1—the area that is 0-30 feet around your home—start with the following:

    • Remove any branches within 10 feet of your home, including those overhanging a roof or deck.
    • Remove “ladder fuels,” or low-level vegetation and branches that allow fire to climb into the trees, by pruning lower branches up to 6-10 feet from the ground.
    • Place firewood, propane tanks or other combustible materials at least 30 feet away.
    • Keep grasses and lawns short and irrigated. When landscaping, plant fire-adapted species native to your area.
    • Maintain a non-combustible 3-5 foot perimeter around your home

In Zone 2—30-100 feet around your home—start with the following:

    • Thin trees to keep crownsa minimum of 10 feet apart or create “islands” of brush or 2-3 trees to create breaks in the forest fuels.
    • Remove “ladder fuels”.
    • Keep grasses and wildflowers under 8 inches in height.
    • Remove some of the excessive heavy woody debris, like logs or fallen trees.
    • Create fire breaks with driveways, stone patios, or walkways

In Zone 3—100-200 feet around your home or to your property line—start with the following:

    • Thin trees to keep crownsa minimum of 10 feet apart, or create “islands” of 2-3 trees.
    • “Remove “ladder fuels.
    • Remove dead trees and shrubs.

To see an image of the 3 zones of survivable space, visit the firewise website.

Share this information and encourage your neighbors to take the same steps. Work with your community members to look at the area outside your yard and property to treat a larger area.  The cumulative efforts of individuals will lead to a better protected and fire-adapted community.

For more information on how to prepare your property from wildfires, please go to:




MSU extension for native plants

To have important wildfire safety information at your fingertips, download the free Red Cross Wildfire App at http://www.redcross.org/prepare/mobile-apps. You can also download the Red Cross’s free First Aid and Shelter apps there.

Wildfire Awareness Week – The Home Ignition Zone

Day 2: The Home Ignition Zone

Wildfire Awareness Week is a weeklong effort to raise awareness in Montana about wildfire safety. FireSafe Montana, Keep Montana Green, the Governor’s Office of Community Service, the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, and Montana Red Cross have teamed up to make sure you and your family are prepared for wildfire season. Please join us in our statewide effort to help you and your family plan and prepare for wildfire season.

Wildfire Awareness Week_June 2014

On Day 2 of Wildfire Awareness Week, the focus will be on the Home Ignition Zone, which includes the home as well as its immediate surroundings out 100-200 feet. If this area is adequately prepared well in advance of a wildfire, it reduces the chance of ignition and improves the likelihood that a home will survive a wildfire intact. In fact, studies at the Missoula Fire Sciences Lab have shown that evaluating and improving the home ignition zone is one of the most effective ways to prevent home ignitions in a wildfire situation.

Many who live in the fire-adapted environments of western states like Montana are aware that wildfire is an inevitable and important part of a complex ecological process. However, that knowledge does not change the fact that wildfires destroy homes, adversely affect entire communities, and that suppression efforts are guaranteed to be expensive.   Fortunately, there are things you can do to decrease your risk.  One of the first steps is to understand how ignitions start.

When a wildfire burns through a forest or prairie, there are two common misperceptions: wildfires burn in a straight path like an avalanche or a flood; and crown fires are what move through to destroy entire communities. While this may be true in some cases, it is also true that the intense heat produced by wildfire creates vertical lift that, in combination with high winds, can transport embers up to a mile ahead of the main fire. When these embers land on dry grass or a bed of pine needles, they ignite and start small spot fires that burn together and cause a fire to grow quickly.

Embers associated with a fire also swirl around like a blizzard and accumulate in corners, cracks and crevices of homes where they can smolder and ultimately ignite the home well after the main fire has burned past. Reducing the flammability of a home and thinning out the surrounding vegetation can help in preventing home ignitions. Since this area is the property of the homeowner, the power and responsibility belongs to them. Therefore, it is imperative to regularly evaluate homes, take note of the places embers could accumulate, and make the necessary changes.

First, consider the construction materials and replace, if possible, with fire-resistant materials:

  • Composite asphalt, tile or metal roofing materials are the most fire-resistant; shake shingles are the least.
  • Brick and stucco walls are the most fire-resistant, while PVC and vinyl products melt at low temperatures.
  • Enclosed undersides of decks and porches, eaves, soffits, and fascia keep embers from entering.
  • Vents covered with 1/8” metal screening prevent firebrands from entering the space behind.
  • Double paned or tempered glass windows decrease the chance of breakage that would allow embers to enter the home.

Then, evaluate attachments and the perimeter of your home:

  • Wooden porches, decks or fencing could provide fire a path to your home
  • Gutters, roofs, porches, corners, and stairs often accumulate needles, leaves and debris. These areas should be swept off or cleaned out regularly to eliminate areas where embers may land and ignite.
  • Use gravel or a non-combustible mulch 3-5 feet around the perimeter of the home and under any decks, porches or stairs. Rake up and dispose of dead and dry vegetation that collects in these areas.
  • Keep your chimney cleaned and screened.

In many parts of Montana, June is the ideal time to get outside for spring cleanup and to complete work around home and property. Later this summer when the smoke is in the air, these homeowners can feel more comfortable knowing that the work has been done ahead of time and their place is adequately prepared for the fire season.

Check out www.firewise.org where you can order the DVD, “Wildfire! Preventing Home Ignitions,” and listen to Jack Cohen who conducted the research and developed the concept of the Home Ignition Zone. Tomorrow, the area surrounding the home will be addressed and specific recommendations for survivable space will be shared.

For more information on how to improve the home ignition zone, go to the websites listed below.




To have important wildfire safety information at your fingertips, download the free Red Cross Wildfire App at http://www.redcross.org/prepare/mobile-apps. You can also download the Red Cross’s free First Aid and Shelter apps there.

Wildfires Happen – Take Action!

Day 1: Take Action during Wildfire Awareness Week

Wildfire Awareness Week is a weeklong effort to raise awareness in Montana about wildfire safety. FireSafe Montana, Keep Montana Green, the Governor’s Office of Community Service, the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, and Montana Red Cross have teamed up to make sure you and your family are prepared for wildfire season.

Wildfire Awareness Week_June 2014

WAW will feature a five day wildfire awareness communications campaign, with daily news releases on a variety of topics to encourage widespread media coverage. The week will begin with community action events around the state, many of which are listed on FireSafe Montana website. On Tuesday, June 3rd, a kick-off event at the Montana Capitol in Helena will include remarks by Governor Bullock, a home mitigation demonstration by the Tri-County FireSafe Working Group, and wildfire preparedness tips from Montana Red Cross.

“Wildfire Awareness Week is an opportunity to remind us of the nature of wildfires in Montana and ensure that we take the necessary steps to prepare and keep our citizens safe,” said Governor Steve Bullock. “Whether gathering as a community to discuss neighborhood resources or taking individual steps to mitigate your home, I look forward to Montanans using this week to learn more about planning, preparing, and preventing the hazards associated with wildfires. By working together to make a difference, we can keep our communities vibrant and durable during even the toughest challenges.”

In many western states, people live in fire-adapted environments where wildfire is a vital part of a natural and complex ecological process. During most of the past century, wildfires were suppressed for the protection of life and property. This relative exclusion of fire has left many public and private forests overcrowded, unhealthy, and subsequently infested with beetles or infected with disease. Prior to this period of wildfire suppression, periodic low intensity fires, or less frequent high intensity fires, burned through and cleared the forest understory, maintaining open stands that were more resistant to insects and diseases.

Recent scientific findings have also connected the current wildfire conditions with a changing climate. Many areas around the west are experiencing longer fire seasons and more frequent or intense wildfire occurrence, while drought conditions have left forests dry and ready to burn with the next lightning strike or escaped campfire. According to a DNRC report in 2014, it is estimated that Montana’s fire season has increased by approximately 77 days since 1980.

An average of 85% of wildfires between 2001 and 2011 were caused by human activity, according to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC). In Montana, top causes of wildfires change through the course of the season: escaped debris and agricultural burns in the spring, escaped or unattended campfires in the summer; sparks from dragging trailer chains, lawnmowers, chainsaws or field machinery in the late summer and early fall when grasses are cured and ripe for ignition.

As people continue to move into the Wildland Urban Interface (those areas where communities and wildlands meet) their actions increase the potential for ignition and for their homes to become fuel in the event of a wildfire. Fortunately, there are many ways for these home and property owners to make a difference and work together to create fire-adapted communities. One example is evaluating and decreasing the ignitability of homes.  Homeowners can also selectively thin and clear vegetation around their homes to create a larger “survivable space.”  By taking these steps, folks can work toward leaving their homes unattended during a wildfire and creating a safer place where firefighters may be more successful, if able to respond.

When a fire does threaten a neighborhood, it is important that residents are familiar with three things:

  • How to prepare in advance for evacuation
  • Evacuation procedures for the area
  • How evacuation notices will be communicated

After a fire passes through, understanding the hazards that have been created by the fire will hopefully help residents better accept the delay in returning to their homes after evacuation. Additionally, completing suggested preparations and being familiar with available community resources could assist in recovery efforts.

Over the next several days, a cooperating group of interagency and community wildfire professionals will be sharing more specific information about these topics and recommended actions including:

  • How to evaluate and improve your Home Ignition Zone.
  • How to create the suggested survivable space around your home.
  • How to prepare your family for evacuation and what to expect when a wildfire moves through your area.
  • What to expect in the aftermath of a wildfire.

We hope you will join us in this opportunity to become more prepared, aware and informed about wildfire in Montana during this year’s Wildfire Awareness Week. For more information, visit these websites:





Wildfire Awareness Week

Wildfire Awareness Week 2014 - June 2-8

Mark your calendars! Wildfire Awareness Week is June 2-8.  The theme this year is Wildfires Happen – Take Action! Plan. Prepare. Prevent.  WAW is a weeklong effort to raise awareness in Montana about wildfire safety.  FireSafe Montana, Keep Montana Green, the Governor’s Office of Community Service, the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, and Montana Red Cross have teamed up to make sure you and your family are prepared for wildfire season.

WAW will feature a five day wildfire awareness communications campaign, with daily news releases on a variety of topics to encourage widespread media coverage. On Tuesday, June 3rd, a kick-off event at the Capitol in Helena will include remarks by Governor Bullock, the Helena Fire Department, a presentation by the Tri-County FireSafe Working Group, and wildfire preparedness tips from Montana Red Cross.

Wildfire Awareness Week_June 2014

There are several additional events going on throughout the state. Find a map and more information at these websites:



Here are some tips as you prepare for wildfire season:

  • Learn before you burn.  Never leave your burn pile unattended. For Safe Debris Burning tips and burn permits check with your local Fire Department.
  • Take Steps Now to Protect your Home and Property from Wildfires.  Trim and prune trees and shrubs around your home and buildings. Learn more at www.firesafemt.org
  • Make sure all mechanical outdoor equipment such as tractors, chainsaws, off-road vehicles, and others are equipped with properly-working mufflers and bearings.
  • Have you checked your rain gutters, roof crevices, and eaves?  Take the time now to make sure all debris is cleared leaving no place for a fire ember to land and start a fire.
  • Before starting a camp fire make sure you have an area cleared of debris and a fire ring made from nonflammable material like rocks.  When you leave the fire make sure it is completely out by adding water, stirring, and making sure it is cold to the touch.
  • Do you have ornamental shrubs and trees touching your home or wood chips surrounding the base?  Consider trimming the shrubs and trees so they are at least 3ft from the home and replacing any flammable landscape decorations with nonflammable materials like concrete or stones.
  • Know before you go!  During the summer months counties will have fire restrictions limiting recreational campfires and debris burns.  Make sure you know whether your county or destination is under fire restrictions.
  • Wildfires can be unpredictable and move fast. You may have to evacuate your home quickly. Make a grab and go bag with important family documents, medications, and other essential items. Check out useful items to include by visiting ready.mt.gov
  • It is important to remember that any spark is enough to start a wildfire during hot, windy and dry summer days. Make sure that you aren’t dragging chains and use caution when using a lawn mower remember rocks and spinning blades can produce sparks.


How Prepared is Your Business?

Would you be able to find a first aid kit in your office if an emergency happened today? Do you know where to go in your workplace during a tornado warning?  Preparedness is just as important on the organizational level as it is on the individual level.  On April 30th, take part in the nation’s first PrepareAthon, a nationwide, community-based campaign to increase emergency preparedness, and find out how to become business ready.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, up to 40 percent of small businesses fail following a natural or manmade disaster. Additionally, in a recent survey by the American Red Cross and FedEx, 94 percent of small business owners believe that a disaster could disrupt their business within the next two years.  Rather than waiting for the worst to happen, there are simple things you can do to prepare your business and employees today.

Available, free resources include:

Employees are 75 percent more likely to take steps to prepare when they are encouraged by their employer, according to a recent study by FEMA.  Take steps as part of the PrepareAthon to ensure that you, your organization, and your employees are ready for disasters!  Showcase your company’s commitment to preparedness by registering your activities and using some of the free resources at www.ready.gov/prepare. Risk Assessment Process

What is the PrepareAthon?

America’s PrepareAthon! is a nationwide, community-based campaign for action to increase emergency preparedness and resilience. Every spring and fall, organizations around the country will focus on preparedness during a national day of action. These national days of action drive participation in hazard-specific drills, group discussions, and exercises. The goals of the campaign are to increase the number of people who understand which disasters could happen in their community, know what to do to be safe and mitigate damage, take action to increase their preparedness, and participate in community resilience planning.

If you have any questions or would like more information about American’s PrepareAthon!, please contact Betsy Miller, Governor’s Office of Community Service, by phone at 406-444-1718 or via email at ready@mt.gov


Montana Severe Weather Awareness Week

Spring in Montana means warmer temps, longer days, and hazardous weather. The week of April 21st – 25th is Montana Severe Weather Awareness Week.  Learn more about weather hazards from your nearest National Weather Service Office, located in Billings, Glasgow, Great Falls and Missoula.  Check-in to find out about local events and activities.  Each day this week features a different theme

Monday – NWS Watch and Warning Program

Tuesday – Severe Thunderstorm Climatology

Wednesday – Severe Weather Safety

Thursday – Lightning Safety

Friday – Weather Information Sources


Weather Alert Systems

Do you know the difference between a watch and a warning?  These are issued for tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, and flash floods.  A watch indicates that there is a possibility for one of these events to occur.  If a watch is issued, you should have a plan of action ready.  A warning means that a tornado, severe thunderstorm, or flash flood has been detected by radar or observed by trained storm spotters or public officials.  If the National Weather Service issues a warning in your area, take action immediately.

Make sure you and your family are ready for severe weather by purchasing a weather radio and learning about the Emergency Alert System.

Interested in becoming a trained weather spotter? Here are some upcoming FREE Skywarn Spotter Training sessions going on around the state:

Billings Office  
April 166:00-8:00 PMBaker, MT
Senior Center
April 191:00-3:00 PMSheridan, WY
Masonic Lodge, 109 S. Gould St.
April 226:00-8:00 PMBillings, MT
National Weather Service Office, 2170 Overland Ave
April 236:00-8:00 PMMiles City, MT
Miles Community College Room 106
May 56:00-8:00 PMRoundup, MT
Ambulance Barn
May 156:00-8:00 PMBig Timber, MT
Sweet Grass County High School, Math B Room
Glasgow Office
Date Time Location
April 812:00Culbertson County Building
April 86:00 PMCulbertson
High School
April 107:00 PMGlasgow
FMDH Hospital Conference Room
April 166:00 PMJordan
Ambulance Building
April 176:00 PMSidney
Fire Hall
April 246:00 PMGlendive
Fairgrounds/DES Building
May 76:00 PMWibaux
Fire Hall
May 136:00 PMPoplar
Greet the Dawn Building
May 2812:30Circle
Senior Center
May 286:00 PMCircle
Senior Center
Great Falls Office
Date Start Time Address
May 56:30 PMHill County Annex
3024 4th Ave
Havre, MT
May 66:30 PMJudith Basin Courthouse
91 3rd St North
Stanford, MT
May 76:30 PMEmergency Operations Center
2610 N Main St
Fort Benton, MT
May 86:30 PMEmergency Communications Center
219 E Tamarack
Bozeman, MT
May 126:30 PMCascade County DES Office
521 1st Ave NW
Great Falls, MT
May 136:30 PMAmbulance Building
815 Oilfield Ave
Shelby, MT
May 146:30 PMCourthouse Annex
1210 E. Main
Cut Bank, MT
May 153:00Law Enforcement Center
221 Breckenridge Ave
Helena, MT
May 196:30 PMFire Hall
101 W. Crawford
White Sulphur Springs, MT
May 216:30 PMAmbulance Training Center
13 1st Street SW
Fairfield, MT
May 226:30 PMSearch & Rescue Building
1116 Highway 41
Dillon, MT
May 276:30 PMFire Hall
34 Main St.
Harlem, MT
May 292:00 County Complex Basement
And 121 8th Ave South
6:00 PMLewistown, MT

Major Disaster Declared in Montana

On April 17th, President Obama issued a disaster declaration for the state of Montana affected by last month’s flooding.  This news comes after relief aid was requested by Governor Bullock on April 11th.  The flooding during March 1st-16th resulted from above average precipitation, greater temperature fluctuations, and thicker winter ice causing ice jams on streams and rivers.  The primary counties affected were: Broadwater, Dawson, Golden Valley, Jefferson, Lake, Musselshell, Park, Pondera, Prairie, Ravalli, Richland, Rosebud, Sanders, Stillwater, and Wheatland, though many more counties also incurred damage.


Clean-up near Florence, MT (Photo: Perry Backus from the Ravalli Republic)

The disaster declaration means that impacted areas may now apply for federal funds to aid in protective measures, repair of public infrastructure, and hazard mitigation projects. Application guidelines will be available soon.  For more information about the process of disaster response, visit:


There are several key steps that must happen before federal programs get involved with disasters, which may make the process appear to be frustratingly slow, yet is necessary in order to be thorough:

  1. Local Government Responds, supplemented by neighboring communities and volunteer agencies. If overwhelmed, turn to the state for assistance;
  2. The State Responds with state resources, such as the National Guard and state agencies;
  3. Damage Assessment by local, state, federal, and volunteer organizations determines losses and recovery needs;
  4. A Major Disaster Declaration is requested by the governor, based on the damage assessment, and an agreement to commit state funds and resources to the long-term recovery;
  5. FEMA Evaluates the request and recommends action to the White House based on the disaster, the local community and the state's ability to recover;
  6. The President approves the request or FEMA informs the governor it has been denied. This decision process could take a few hours or several weeks depending on the nature of the disaster.

What happens after a disaster declaration?

Find more resources on what to do after a disaster on the fema.gov website.  There are FAQ’s, tips for removing mold, information about business and farm loans, and much more.  You can also visit the American Red Cross website and the National Flood Insurance Program website for more information.



Meet the Humane Society of the US

About the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)

The HSUS is the nation’s largest animal protection organization, helping animals, advocating for better laws to protect animals, conducting campaigns to reform industries, providing animal rescue and emergency response, investigating cases of animal cruelty, and caring for animals in emergency shelters, clinics, and more.
The HSUS is a member of the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster and the Montana Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.

Helping Montana Pets During Times of Disaster

The HSUS has a history of helping communities in Montana in times of disaster. From offering advice on how to set up an emergency animal shelter, educating the public on disaster preparedness for their animals, and providing to offering hay grants for horses and livestock. Over the years, the HSUS has provided disaster response training for professionals and volunteers, assisting organizations like ZooMontana and the Beartooth Nature Center with their disaster plans.

Ash Creek Fire

Horses grazing near 2012 Ash Creek Fire, Northern Cheyenne Reservation

The HSUS has provided supplies, hay and trained personnel for communities in need due to the wildfires and floods in such places as Billings, Red Lodge, Columbus, Roundup, the Blackfeet Reservation, and the Northern Cheyenne Reservation. In 2011, Dave Pauli, Senior Director of Wildlife Response responded to the Silvertip oil spill that affected the Yellowstone River by providing much needed expertise and equipment.

Wendy Hergenraeder, HSUS Montana State Director, worked with the Disaster Response team to provide $18,000 in grants for hay for communities affected by the 2012 wildfires. During this devastating fire year, the HSUS team also secured funding for an emergency spay and neuter clinic for communities impacted by the fires on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation and delivered much needed animals supplies to the reservation and Roundup area residents.

HSUS stands ready to help animals and communities in times of disaster.

Click here to learn how you can best prepare your animals and livestock for a disaster.

More Information

For more information on the HSUS, visit http://www.humanesociety.org/. Check out the HSUS: Montana on Facebook by clicking here.

Follow them on Twitter @HumaneSociety.

Contact Wendy Hergenraeder, HSUS Montana Director, by clicking here.

Billings Youth, are you Ready2Help?

Ready2Help Global Youth Service Day Project: Billings

Calling all Billings youth ages 11-18! Youth are preparedness ambassadors and often play a vital role in disaster preparedness, response, and recovery.  St. Vincent HeathcareUnited Way of Yellowstone County, and Youth Volunteer Corps of Yellowstone County are teaming up to host a Global Youth Service Day event. The volunteer event will teach youth how they can help prepare themselves, their families, and community for disasters and emergencies.

This Global Youth Service Day event will be held on Saturday, April 12, 2014 from 9:00am to 12:00pm. Youth participants will:

-          Learn basic first-aid
-          Receive an introduction to CPR
-          Learn how their family can best be prepared for the unexpected

Register Today!

Space is limited. For more information, click here. To register, contact Tari Burt by phone at 406-272-8511 or via email at tari.burt@unitedway.org.

About Global Youth Service Day

Global Youth Service Day is an annual campaign that celebrates and mobilizes the millions of children and youth who improve their communities each day of the year through service and service-learning. Now in its 26th year, GYSD is celebrated in more than 100 countries.

Red Cross Mobile Apps

red cross logo

March is Red Cross Month! Every year the American Red Cross responds to approximately 70,000 disasters from single-family home fires to community-wide disasters like tornadoes, wildfires, and floods.

The American Red Cross created applications that provide useful, convenient information on what you and your family can do before, during, and after disasters and emergencies. These applications are available for iPhone and Android devices.

Most apps have preloaded content that allows users to access information even when there is no internet connection or cell service and permits users to register on the Red Cross’s Safe & Well site. Safe & Well is a communication tool that allows those impacted by emergencies to communicate their safety to family, friends, and loved ones.

Available Mobile Applications

Here are just a few of the free applications that are useful for Montanans:

Flood Application
Montana experiences all different types of floods from flash floods and ice jams to large-scale riverine flooding. The application allows you to help family and friends in flood prone areas receive flood and flash flood watches and warning alerts, learn how to deal with water and food during a flood, and more.

Wildfire Application
Wildfires occur across Montana every year, impacting livelihoods, homes, and entire communities.  The Wildfire News section of this app provides state-by-state links to firefighting agencies as well as Twitter feeds,  links to other websites that help keep the public is up-do-date on current wildfires, and more.

Earthquake Application
Montana is earthquake country. It is important that all Montanans know what to do before, during, and after an earthquake. The app includes step-by-step instructions to let you know what to do before/during/after an earthquake, notifications generated by the US Geological Survey that let you know when an earthquake occurs, information on how to stay safe when the lights are out that includes a strobe light, flashlight, and audible alert functions, access to information about earthquakes in your area, and more.

First-Aid Application
Knowing basic first-aid is an invaluable skill. The app features instructions that guide you through everyday first-aid scenarios, is fully integrated with 911 so you can call EMS from the app at any time, includes videos that make learning first-aid fun, and more.

Shelter Find Application
When disaster strikes know when and where shelters have been opened to provide assistance. The Red Cross shelter app is regularly updated so that you can find the status of shelters in your community and around the country.

Team Red Cross Volunteer Application
Every year, more than one million Americans work with the Red Cross as volunteers serving local community needs. In Montana, volunteers serve on 22 Disaster Action Teams (DAT) across the state, responding to emergencies large and small. Learn more about opportunities to get engaged and volunteer with the Red Cross in your area!

How to Download

To find out how to download these useful apps to your iPhone or Android device, click here.

Other apps are also available on different topics and hazards, including tornadoes, hurricanes, swimming, and pet first-aid.

Follow the Red Cross of Montana on Twitter @ MontanaRedCross and find them on Facebook by clicking here.

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 redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.




Meet the Montana Food Bank Network

About the Montana Food Bank Network

MFBN vector logo withFAFounded in 1983, the Montana Food Bank Network (MFBN) is a 501c3 nonprofit that works to end hunger in Montana through food acquisition and distribution, education, and advocacy. As a statewide Food Bank with 200 partner agencies, the network solicits, sorts, repackages, warehouses, and distributes donated and purchased food to programs that directly serve the hungry.

In 2013, MFBN programs distributed over 8 million pounds of food statewide to at risk Montana children, seniors, veterans, and families.

Montana Food Bank Network is a member of Feeding America, the national hunger fighting organization. Feeding America is a member of the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.

The Montana Food Bank Network is part of the Montana Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.

The Montana Food Bank Network in Action

“Food is one of the most basic human needs which we simply cannot live without for very short periods of time. During times of disaster, individuals and families are faced with levels of stress and uncertainty they may have never experienced before.  Their normal secondary levels of support and dependence may not exist or be unavailable or inaccessible. In any community across the great state of Montana, the general public can rest assured that in the event of any natural disaster or emergency, the Montana Food Bank Network has the resources and capability to provide immediate food assistance when needed to ensure nobody goes hungry during a desperate time of need until long term recovery solutions are provided." ~Brent Weisgram, MFBN Chief Operations Officer

Feeding operations during disasters are among the most critical, complex aspects of disaster response and recovery. Disaster victims, first responders such as law enforcement and firefighters, as well as volunteers all need access to food.

The Montana Food Bank Network responded to the February 2014 urban Missoula avalanche by providing food, snacks and beverages to volunteers and disaster survivors operating and staying at the American Red Cross of Montana temporary shelter.

In March of 2014, the MFBN sent over 8,600 pounds or the equivalent of over 7,000 meals to flood victims and families in Roundup distributed in collaboration with our partner agency Musselshell County Food Bank. When disaster strikes in Montana, the MFBN with its alliance of over 200 member agencies statewide is one of the voluntary organizations that mobilizes to assist with vital feeding operations regardless of location.

More Information

For more information on the Montana Food Bank Network, visit http://mfbn.org/

Follow them on Twitter @mfbn or find them on Facebook by clicking here.

Flood Preparedness

Anna Fernández-Gevaert
Communications Director

Montana Red Cross Urges Montanans to Prepare for Flooding

Bozeman, March 7, 2014--The American Red Cross of Montana urges residents in flood-prone areas to take steps now to prepare for possible worsening conditions in many communities across the state.

“By taking steps to prepare now, you will be much better off should your home or neighborhood be affected,” says Colleen Tone, Disaster and Program Officer for the American Red Cross of Montana. “While Montana Red Cross is on standby to open shelters in areas with significant numbers of evacuees, there is a lot that individuals and families can do themselves to prepare.”

As with any disaster, preparation can be the difference between life and death. Montana Red Cross recommends these steps to prepare for floods:

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.

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 and stay there.

Relocate During Flood Warnings: Stay away from flood waters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankle, stop, turn around and go another way. If you come upon a flooded road while driving, 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.

Assemble a Flood Preparedness Kit: You’ll be better prepared to withstand a flood if you have the following items available – packed and ready to go in case you need to evacuate your home:

o Water—at least a 3-day supply; one gallon per person per day
o Food—at least a 3-day supply of non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food
o Flashlight
o Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
o Extra batteries
o First Aid kit
o Medications (7-day supply) and medical items (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, cane)
o Multi-purpose tool
o Sanitation and personal hygiene items
o Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, deed/lease to home, birth certificates, insurance policies)
o Cell phone with chargers
o Family and emergency contact information
o Extra cash
o Emergency blanket
o Map(s) of the area
o Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
o Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
o Tools/supplies for securing your home
o Extra set of car keys and house keys
o Extra clothing, hat, gloves and sturdy shoes or boots
o Rain gear
o Camera for photos of damage

For more information on flood preparedness, visit www.redcross.org/montana or call 1-800-ARC-MONT. Share these Red Cross flood preparedness tips with every member of your household. The best protection is to be prepared.

You can help people affected by disasters like floods, as well as countless other crises at home and around the world, by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters. Visit www.redcross.org/montana or call 1-800-ARC-MONT (1-800-272-6668). Contributions may also be sent to American Red Cross of Montana, 1300 28th Street South, Great Falls, MT 59405.

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 redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.


Preparing Makes Sense for Older Americans


Seniors and those with access and functional needs are particularly vulnerable during times of disaster. For the second year in a row, Missoula Senior Companions and Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) volunteers lent a helping hand to their neighbors by participating in the Let’s Get Winter Ready, Montana! project. The project was supported by Missoula Aging Services and the Governor’s Office of Community Service.

The RSVP Veterans Task Force put together the supply kits while Senior Companion volunteers and partner agencies deployed across the community to distribute  125 emergency kits to homebound seniors, veterans, and people with access and functional needs. Delivering the kits to those in need, the volunteers provided important emergency preparedness tips to their clients and companions throughout the Missoula community.

The kits included critical emergency supplies such as battery operated radios, flashlights, blankets, and basic hygiene items. During large-scale community disasters, first-responders may be overwhelmed. Residents may need to rely upon their families and neighbors. In case of an emergency, the starter emergency supply kits will help keep the recipients warm, safe, comforted, and informed until help arrives.

2014 Partners

o Missoula Aging Services Respite Care
o Veteran-Directed Home & Community Based Services Program
o Partners in Home Care
o Summit Independent Living Center- Missoula

2014 Sponsors

Huge thanks to Missoula Ace Hardware, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Helena Home Depot, Lowes of Helena, Culligan Water, and AARP for their contributions.

Preparing Makes Sense for Older Americans

Preparing makes sense for older Americans and those with disabilities. To learn more, check out these useful resources:

American Red Cross Disaster Preparedness for Seniors by Seniors
American Red Cross Preparing for Disaster for People with Special Needs
Special Needs Inclusion Toolkit


March is Red Cross Month!

red cross logo

The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.

The Red Cross of Montana is there when emergency strikes. In Montana, dedicated Red Cross volunteers are part of 22 Montana Disaster Action Teams that serve all 56 counties and seven reservations. Disaster Action Teams stand ready to deploy to help those impacted by disasters from single family house fires to community-wide events such as wildfires and flooding.

The American Red Cross  is part of the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster and the Montana Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.

March is Red Cross Month

President Barack Obama has proclaimed March as Red Cross Month across the United States, following a tradition begun by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1943. The proclamation reads:

"During American Red Cross Month, we honor those who devote themselves to bringing relief where there is suffering, inspiring hope where there is despair, and healing the wounds of disaster and war…Today, American Red Cross workers, alongside countless humanitarian organizations and caring volunteers, deliver life-saving assistance in every corner of our Nation and all across the globe."

This year's March is Red Cross Month theme is "Everyday Heroes", recognizing people who in some way help their community by giving of themselves.

Red Cross of Montana 2013 Fast Facts

In 2013 alone, the Red Cross of Montana:

  • Assisted 568 individuals affected by fires and other disasters
  • Opened 20 shelters and served 21,045 meals and snacks to Montanans affected by floods and wildfires
  • Helped 3,882 Montanans prepare for emergencies with their Get Ready, Montana preparedness workshops
  • Distributed units of live saving flood to 30 hospitals across the state
  • Provided pre-deployment briefings to 2,495 military families
  • Taught 14,401 Montanans live saving skills through Red Cross first-aid and other training courses

Interested in volunteering? Get started by clicking here.

Learn More:

For more information about the American Red Cross of Montana, visit www.redcross.org/montana.

Follow the Red Cross of Montana on Twitter @MontanaRedCross or find them on Facebook by clicking here.

Meet the Montana Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster

About HOPE Animal-Assisted Crisis Response (AACR)
Mary Martin HOPEAACR

Mary Martin, HOPE AACR Rocky Mountain Regional Director, and Ellie, her current HOPE dog.

HOPE AACR is a national all-volunteer, 501c3 nonprofit, crisis response organization with specially trained handlers (psychological first-aid, incident command, etc.) and canines trained and tested for crisis response work. The organization seeks to: provide comfort and encouragement through animal-assisted support to individuals affected by crises and disasters.

Animal-Assisted Crisis Response is based on the scientifically proven benefits of the human-animal bond. The teams are educated to be effective and professional while working in stressful, unpredictable environments.


Since 2001, HOPE AACR teams have responded to the aftermath of crises and disasters from individual traumas to large scale emergencies such as school shootings, hurricanes, fires, loss of first-responders, and more. HOPE AACR teams responded to manmade disasters like the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks to large-scale natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina.

Teams work with the Red Cross, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), schools, and other groups that work in disaster services and/or have experienced traumatic events.

HOPE AACR in Montana

HOPE AACR is both a National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) organization and part of the Montana VOAD.

The organization’s dedicated volunteers and their canines have responded to over 25 school and 10 American Red Cross traumatic events across Montana. In 2009, the HOPE Teams were requested during the Bozeman downtown explosion and the Butte airplane disaster.

The teams have had the honor of serving those working many of these events (school administrators, law enforcement, firefighters, and American Red Cross volunteers). In the past nine year, HOPE AACR has served hundreds of Montanans across the state in their time of need.

Learn More:

For more information on HOPE AACR, visit: http://hopeaacr.org/.  To learn more about HOPE ACCR in Montana, contact:

Mary Martin
Rocky Mountain Regional Director, HOPE AACR


Meet the Montana Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster

About Team Rubicon

Meet the newest member of the Montana Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD), Team Rubicon!

Team Rubicon unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams. Since its creation, Team Rubicon has impacted thousands of lives both abroad and here in the United States.

Pioneering the concept of veteran-focused disaster response, Team Rubicon recognized a simple truth. Natural disasters present many of the same problems that confront military troops on the front lines: unstable populations, limited resources, horrific sights, sounds, and smells. Skills cultivated on the battlefields, like emergency medicine, risk assessment and mitigation, teamwork, and decisive leadership, are invaluable in disaster impacted areas.

The 501c3 nonprofit organization helps hundreds of US military veterans, many returning home after years of war, find a renewed sense of purpose for their skills and experience.

History of Team Rubicon

Team Rubicon was created in 2010 by retired United States Marines following the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Team Rubicon has deployed across the United States in the wake of recent natural disasters, including but not limited to the Moore Oklahoma tornadoes, Hurricane Sandy, and the 2013 Colorado flooding.

 Learn More:

This information was adapted directly from the Team Rubicon website. For more information, visit http://teamrubiconusa.org/.

Follow Team Rubicon on Twitter @TeamRubicon or find them on Facebook by clicking here.

Youth Disaster Preparedness

Youth & Disasters

Disasters affect everyone. And so it takes everyone- youth, parents, and community members- to help prepare. Considering that children comprise approximately 25 percent of our population, disaster planning, response, and recovery efforts must take into account children’s unique needs. Children also bring unique strengths to emergency preparedness. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA):

Children are positive influencers. Children can effectively bring the message of preparedness home to their families.

Children can become leaders. By participating in preparedness activities as youth, children are empowered to become leaders at home and in their schools and communities.

Children who are prepared are more confident during disasters and emergencies. Evidence supports the idea that children who have learned about emergency preparedness experience less anxiety during an actual disaster or emergency.

Montana Youth Take Action!

A group of fourth graders at Kennedy Elementary School in Butte, Montana are disaster preparedness ambassadors! The Blizzard Wizards learned the importance of preparedness and researched preparedness recommendations from the Montana Dept. of Transportation and Montana Disaster and Emergency Services.  The Blizzard Wizards shared what they learned with classmates, parents, and faculty.

The group concluded that a fully stocked backpack with preparedness supplies is important and can be taken on car trips when heading out to hunt, ski, sled, or hike!

Backpack Survival Kit

The Blizzard Wizards recommend that you include the following items in your kit:

  • Winter Survival Handbook
  • Matches (in a waterproof container) and a lighter
  • Candles
  • First aid kit
  • Lightweight tarp or plastic
  • Space blanket
  • Handsaw or hatchet
  • Water
  • Whistle
  • Signal mirror
  • Compass and topographical map
  • Commercial fire starter
  • Surgical tubing – good for drinking from streams
  • All Purpose Knife
  • Rope
  • Tissue or paper towel
  • High-energy food – sugar, candy, raisins, trail mix, soup, hot chocolate mix, and bouillon cubes
  • Tape
  • Cell phone

More Resources

FEMA is accepting Youth Preparedness Council applications!
FEMA is looking for youth leaders between the ages of 12 and 17 who are engaged in individual and community preparedness or have experienced a disaster that has motivated him or her to make a positive difference in his or her community. Council members act as national advocates for youth disaster preparedness. Click here to learn more.

Be a Preparedness Hero!
Click here for additional resources, games, and information for kids, parents, and teachers.

Butte- Silver Bow Office of Emergency Management
Emergency preparedness is everyone's responsibility. To learn more about the Butte- Silver Bow Office of Emergency Management, click here.


Neighbors Helping Neighbors

MYN1The high for December 8, 2013 in Missoula was below zero. In the middle of winter, the threat of summertime wildland and rangeland fire was not on the minds of most Montanans. But for homeowners living in the Hidden Heights neighborhood in the hills west of Missoula, emergency and disaster preparedness was the topic of the day.

Eight homeowners braved the cold to participate in a Map Your Neighborhood (MYN)  preparedness party. Participants discussed how to build emergency supply kits, map their neighborhood  to identify hazards and assets, and explore how to best lend a neighborly hand in the event of a disaster or emergency. The nearby 2013 Lolo Complex Fire, which destroyed five homes and forced the evacuation of nearly 4,000 residents, acted as a reminder of the continuous wildfire threat for Montana neighborhoods located in the wild urban interface.

"Our MYN preparedness party helped focus the general notion that we should be prepared into specific actions that we can take. We all agreed that wildfires are our biggest concern, and as spring approaches we plan to organize in that direction. We are basing our activities on materials provided by FEMA, Fire Safe Montana, and the Governor's Office of Community Service.  We are looking forward to continuing conversations with local, state, and federal agencies to ensure success of upcoming MYN meetings"

~Raquel R. Smith - Project Coordinator, CERT Instructor-Member Drummond

Neighborhood leaders took initiative, seeking out community resources and agencies to learn how to best build a prepared and resilient neighborhood. Leaders reached out to Missoula County Office of Emergency Management (OEM), the nonprofit, Fire Safe Montana, and the Governor’s Office of Community Service.

Host a neighborhood preparedness party in your community! Learn more here.

Deck the Halls Safely

DECEMBER 5, 2013
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
Contact: (301) 504-7908

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates there were 15,000 injuries involving holiday decorating seen in emergency departments nationwide during November and December 2012.  This is the fourth consecutive year these estimates have increased. In each year since 2009, there have been an estimated 12,000 or more emergency department visits.  Falling from a ladder and stepping on broken ornaments may be funny in holiday movies but in real life, these and similar mishaps result in visits to the emergency room, or calls to fire departments, for thousands of consumers each year.

Here are some safety tips  from the CPSC  to help prevent decorating disasters this holiday season:


Heed the warning labels on ladders. Read Commission's OnSafety blog, “Ladder Safety 101,” for tips to prevent ladder falls this season.

Trees and Decorations

Buying a live tree? Check for freshness. A fresh tree is green, its needles are hard to pull from branches, and the needles do not break when bent between your fingers. The bottom of a fresh tree is sticky with resin, and when tapped on the ground, the tree should not lose many needles.

Setting up a tree at home? Place it away from heat sources, such as fireplaces, vents, and radiators. Because heated rooms rapidly dry out live trees, be sure to monitor water levels daily, and keep the tree stand filled with water. Place the tree out of the way of foot traffic, and do not block doorways with the tree.

Buying an artificial tree? Look for the label: “Fire Resistant.” Although this label does not mean that the tree will not catch fire, the label does indicate that the tree is more resistant to catching fire.

Decorating a tree in a home with small children? Take special care to avoid sharp, weighted, or breakable decorations. Keep trimmings with small removable parts out of the reach of children, who could swallow or inhale small pieces. Avoid trimmings that resemble candy or food that may tempt a child to reach for and swallow them.


Keep burning candles within sight. Extinguish all candles before you go to bed, leave the room, or leave the house.

Keep candles on a stable, heat-resistant surface. Place candles where kids and pets cannot reach them or knock them over. Lighted candles should be placed away from items that can catch fire, such as trees, other evergreens, decorations, curtains and furniture.


Use lights that have been tested. Select lights tested for safety by a nationally recognized testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Intertek (ETL) or the Canadian Standards Association (CSA). Lights for both indoor and outdoor use must meet strict requirements that testing laboratories are able to verify. On decorative lights available in stores, UL’s red holographic label signifies that the product meets safety requirements for indoor and outdoor use. UL’s green holographic label signifies that the product meets requirements for indoor use only.

Check each set of lights. Examine new and old lights for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Throw out damaged sets, and do not use electric lights on a metallic tree.

Check each extension cord. Make sure each extension cord is rated for the intended use and is in good condition. Do not use cords with cuts or signs of fraying.

Check outdoor lights for labels. Look for labels indicating that the lights have been certified for outdoor use, and only plug them into a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI)-protected receptacle or a portable GFCI.


Use care with “fire salts.” Fire salts produce colored flames when thrown onto wood fires. Fire salts contain heavy metals that can cause intense gastrointestinal irritation and vomiting, if swallowed. Keep fire salts away from children.

Do not burn wrapping papers in the fireplace. A flash fire may result from burning wrapping papers because wrappings can ignite suddenly and burn intensely.

The CPSC is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical or mechanical hazard. CPSC's work to help ensure the safety of consumer products - such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters and household chemicals -– contributed to a decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 40 years.

Click here to read the full CPSC release.

Give the Gift of Preparedness

Our friends at ReadyColorado (@READYColorado) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (@Readygov) have some great suggestions for preparedness gifts that may be perfect for the hard-to-buy-for on your list this holiday season.GIFT

Holiday shopping can be frustrating, especially for those of us who wait until the last minute. However, there’s one gift that’s always the right size, timely and in style. The gift of preparedness.

Whether you’re shopping for a friend, an elderly family member or kids away at school, preparedness items can be useful in everyday situations and help keep loved ones safe during disasters.

Small, simple supplies that can go a long way in the event of an emergency or disaster make great stocking stuffers.

Here are a few gift ideas:

• A home disaster kit, including first aid supplies, food, water, blankets, flashlight and some extra clothing
• NOAA weather radio with extra batteries
• Pocket-sized tool kits
• Enrollment in a CPR or first aid class. Check out training opportunities from the American       Red Cross of Montana by clicking here.
• Smoke detectors
• Carbon monoxide detectors
• Fire extinguishers (for kitchen, garage, car, etc.)
• Foldable ladders for second-story escape from a fire
Car kits (emergency flares, shovel, ice scraper, flashlight and fluorescent distress flags)
Pet disaster kit (food, water, leash, dish, pet blanket, carrying case or crate)

However, one of the most important gifts any individual can give is the gift of a disaster plan. Take a few minutes to discuss with family, friends and loved ones what they will do in the case of an emergency or disaster. This includes developing a simple family communications plan and identifying how you would get in touch with loved ones and where you might meet if you are separated when an emergency or disaster takes place--especially when traveling out of town during the holidays.


2013 Warm Hearts Warm Homes


With frigid below zero temperatures this week across Montana, winter has clearly arrived. With the arrival of the cold and snowy conditions, Montanans are turning up the heat in their homes to stay warm. In preparation for the long winter season, Montana Conservation Corps (MCC) AmeriCorps members took action to help low-income Montanans stay warm and safe this winter without seeing their energy bills skyrocket.

MCC Weatherization

For the eighth year, MCC AmeriCorps members participated in the statewide Warm Hearts Warm Homes project, deploying across the state to provide energy education and basic winter weatherization services to low-income families. Approximately 180 MCC members provided the services and education to over 1,100 Montana families in 48 counties from Crow Agency to Libby.


Betsy Miller, a former MCC Crew Leader, participated in 2013 Warm Hearts Warm Homes:

“It was very humbling and rewarding to help people in local communities stay a little warmer and reduce their energy use this winter. Having conversations with the individuals gave us the opportunity to share what we know about energy conservation, and they were left feeling more empowered to make energy saving decisions. The families were very grateful for the materials and education provided to prepare them for the winter season.”

The MCC members installed energy saving devices such as window coverings, energy efficient light bulbs, and weather stripping. The weatherization services were followed by instruction on how to use their new energy saving devices and tips for how to realize significant energy savings. MCC members recommended that project participants turn out the lights in rooms that are not being used, change furnace filters regularly, and turn down the thermostat at night and when out of the home. They also demonstrated how to check the temperatures of hot water heaters and refrigerators and adjust the settings to optimal levels.

Click here to check out additional energy saving tips from the U.S. Department of Energy.

This year’s Warm Hearts Warm Homes  project was supported by the State of Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services as well as the Montana-Dakota Utilities.

MCC is a nonprofit organization that develops young people as leaders, stewards of the land, and contributing citizens by engaging them in hands-on conservation service projects to improve lands and communities. For more information on MCC, visit www.mt.corps.org.


Stand By Your Pan


News Release from National Fire Protection Association
Contact: Loraine Carli

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 14, 2013 – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is alerting consumers that the threat of fires in the kitchen triples on Thanksgiving Day. From 2009 through 2011, there was an average of about 1,300 cooking fires on Thanksgiving Day. This is more than three times the average daily rate from 2009 through 2011 of about 400 cooking fires a day.

“As fire safety experts have said for years, ‘Stand by your pan!’” said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. “If you are frying, grilling or broiling food, stay in the kitchen. Not following this advice can be a recipe for disaster on Thanksgiving and throughout the year.”

When it comes to fires in the home, cooking fires are number one. They accounted for nearly 150,000 fires (more than 40 percent of all annual unintentional residential fires) each year from 2009 through 2011. Unattended cooking is the top cause of cooking fires. Cooking fires also caused the most home fire-related injuries, with an estimated annual average of  nearly 27 percent, or 3,450 injuries each year.

Overall, CPSC estimates an average of 362,300 unintentional residential fires, 2,260 deaths, 12,820 injuries and nearly $7 billion in property damage attended by the fire service occurring each year between 2009 and 2011.

To stay safe in the kitchen, avoid wearing loose-fitting clothing with long sleeves near ranges or ovens, watch children closely so they don’t come into contact with cooking food or hot stovetops, turn pan handles toward the back of the stove to prevent kids and others from spilling a pan’s scalding contents onto themselves.

In the event of a fire, call 911. Cover a pan with a lid to smother the flames. Never pour water or flour on a fire. That can make it worse. Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen.

Turkey fryer fires can be explosive and result in serious burns,” said Glenn Gaines, Deputy U.S. Fire Administrator for the United States Fire Administration (USFA). “Only use a turkey fryer outside and away from your home. Never use it in a garage or on a porch. Don’t overfill the oil or leave the turkey fryer unattended.” Since 2003, there have been more than 125 turkey fryer-related fires, burns, explosions, smoke inhalations, or laceration incidents reported to CPSC staff. There were 55 injuries among these incidents, but none were fatal. For the incidents reporting a dollar value for the property loss, the total loss reported was around $6 million. Additional incidents involving turkey fryers may have occurred that were not reported to CPSC.

About the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
NFPA is a worldwide leader in fire, electrical, building, and life safety. The mission of the international nonprofit organization founded in 1896 is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education. NFPA develops more than 300 codes and standards to minimize the possibility and effects of fire and other hazards. All NFPA codes and standards can be viewed at no cost atwww.nfpa.org/freeaccess.


Lorraine Carli
Vice President – Outreach and Advocacy
National Fire Protection Association
+1 617 9984-7275

Volunteer and Donate Responsibly Following Disaster

According to a May 2013 article in the New Yorker titled The Number 4.8, the frequency of billion-dollar disasters in America is growing at an annual rate of 4.8 percent. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) tracks the cost of domestic natural disasters, “the billion dollar weather club…reads like a Weather Channel hall of infamy…In 2011 and 2012 alone, twenty five weather disasters are estimated to cost over a billion dollars each. In the entirety of the nineteen eighties, there were twenty.”

Volunteer contributions and donations play a critical role in disaster rescue and recovery efforts. We have seen evidence of this most recently with the devastating Boulder flooding and autumn tornado outbreak in the Midwest. Internationally, we have seen the power of American volunteerism and philanthropy assisting those impacted by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

It is important to volunteer and donate responsibly. The donation of unneeded items or the mobilization of spontaneous volunteers (i.e. those who are not affiliated with a volunteer response agency and/or untrained) can redirect valuable, and sometimes scarce resources, away the primary recovery and response missions.

Here are some tips from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on how to volunteer and donate responsibly:

Cash is the most efficient method of donating

Cash offers voluntary organizations the most flexibility in obtaining the most needed resources and pumps money into the local economy to help businesses recover. Cash donations:

  • Allow voluntary organizations to fund response and recovery efforts, obtain goods and services locally, and provide direct financial assistance to survivors to meet their own needs.
  • Allow the individual to choose the organization to which they would like to make a financial contribution. At the national level, many voluntary faith- and community-based organizations are active in disasters, and are trusted ways to donate to disaster survivors. If you need help in determining who to give to, National Voluntary Organization Active in Disaster (VOAD) website has a list of major non-profits that are active in disaster work or you can make your offer through the National Donations Management Network.

Remember, unsolicited goods such as used clothing, miscellaneous household items, and mixed perishable food require helping agencies to redirect valuable resources away from providing services to sort, package, transport, warehouse, and distribute items that may not meet the needs of disaster survivors.

For more information on donating responsibly, check out a January 2013 article titled Thanks, But No Thanks: When Post- Disaster Donations Overwhelm by National Public Radio by clicking here.

Affiliate with existing non-profit organizations before coming to the disaster area

Immediately following a disaster, a community can become easily overwhelmed by the amount of generous people who want to help. Contacting and affiliating with an established organization will help to ensure that you are appropriately trained to respond in the most effective way.

Be safe

Do not self deploy until a need has been identified and the local community impacted has requested support. Wait until it is safe to travel to volunteer sites and opportunities have been identified. Once assigned a position by an established, trusted organization, make sure you have been given an assignment and are wearing proper safety gear for the task.

Be patient

Recovery lasts a lot longer than the media attention. There will be volunteer needs for many months, often years, after the disaster, especially when the community enters the long-term recovery period.

For more information on volunteering and donating responsibly from FEMA, click here.

Be Prepared

One of the best ways that you can help aid first responders and relief organizations after a disaster in your community is to be prepared before a disaster strikes.  Many times, this will allow first responders to focus their efforts on containing the disaster and/or assisting the most vulnerable.  Find out how you can prepare yourself, your family, and your neighborhood before a disaster by visiting ready.mt.gov.

Winter is Coming! Be Informed.

Winter is coming! Social media users, stay informed. Keep abreast on winter weather conditions and hazards and learn how you can best prepare for Montana’s constantly changing winter weather.


Montana experiences some of the harshest, most unpredictable winter weather in the United States. Stay informed about current and future weather conditions, including winter weather watches and warnings. The National Weather Service (NWS) has four offices in Montana that cover the entire state. You can follow @NWSGlasgow, @ NWSMissoula, @NWSBillings, and @NWSGreatFalls for updates.

Road Conditions

Nearly 70,000 miles of roads are open to public travel in Montana. The Montana Department of Transportation is responsible for maintaining over 10,000 miles of highways and over 2,000 bridges. Know before you go. Call 5-1-1 or visit http://www.mdt.mt.gov/travinfo/ to check conditions before you hit the road.

@mdtroadreport provides automated road report updates from the Montana Department of Transportation.

@MTI15htm provides timely Interstate 15 traffic information for Montana.

Winter Preparedness

@ReadyMontana is a preparedness initiative of the Governor’s Office of Community Service that seeks to provide information and resources to help ensure that Montanans are prepared for all hazards.

@Readygov is the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) all- hazards preparedness initiative. Montana is part of @femaregion8, which also includes Coloardo, Utah, Wyoming, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

@MontanaDES is the state’s Disaster and Emergency Services Agency committed to serving the citizens of Montana and providing support during times of natural disaster and emergency.

With 23 disaster action teams across the state of Montana - when disaster strikes - @MontanaRedCross is there to help those impacted by providing essential services like shelters.


Outside winter recreational opportunities abound in Montana. Headed out into the backcountry to ski, snowshoe or snowmobile? Make sure that you are aware of the avalanche danger and how to prepare before you go.

@AvalancheGuys, the Gallatin National Forest’s Avalanche Center, provides current snowpack and mountain weather information as well as avalanche conditions and education. Based in Bozeman, the Center covers an area of approximately 10,000 square kilometers, including the Bridger, Gallatin, Madison, and Washburn ranges, the Lionhead area near W. Yellowstone, and the Beartooth range around Cooke City.

@FACAvalanche, the Flathead Avalanche Center, provides backcountry avalanche information for the Flathead and Kootenai National Forests. Based in Kalispell, the Center covers an area of approximately 9,000 square kilometers, including the Cabinet, Flathead, Mission, Purcell, Swan, and Whitefish ranges within the Flathead and Kootenai National Forests and portions of Glacier National Park.

@Missoulaavy, the West Central Montana Avalanche Foundation, is dedicated to promoting avalanche education and awareness by providing information on weather and snow conditions to user groups in West Central Montana. The Foundation operates in partnership with the West Central Montana Avalanche Center of the Lolo National Forest.


The Dangers of Carbon Monoxide

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, each year in America, more than 150 people die from accidental non-fire related carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning associated with consumer products. These products include faulty, improperly-used or incorrectly-vented fuel burning applicants such as furnaces, stoves, water heaters, and fireplaces.

This information from the U.S. Fire Administration  can help you protect yourself and your family from deadly carbon monoxide fumes:

Understanding the Risk

What is carbon monoxide?

CO, often called the “silent killer”, is a gas that you cannot see, taste, or smell. It can be created when fossil fuels, such as kerosene, gasoline, coal, natural gas, propane, methane or wood do not burn properly.

Where does carbon monoxide come from?

CO poisoning can result from faulty furnaces or other heating appliances, portable generators, water heaters, clothes dryers or cars left running in garages.

What are the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning?

Symptoms of CO poisoning include headache, nausea, and drowsiness. Exposure to undetected high levels of carbon monoxide can be fatal.

CO Alarm Installation, Testing, and Replacement
  • Chose a CO alarm that has a label of a recognized testing laboratory. Install and maintain CO alarms inside your home to provide early warning of carbon monoxide.
  • CO alarms should be installed in a central location outside each separate sleeping area, on every level of the home, and in other locations where required by applicable laws, codes, or standards. For best protection, have CO alarms that are interconnected throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for placement and mounting height. Combination smoke-CO alarms must be installed in accordance with requirements for smoke alarms.
  • CO alarms are not substitutes for smoke alarms and vice versa. Know the difference between the sound of a smoke alarm and the sound of a CO alarm.
  • Test CO alarms at least once a month and replace them if they fail to respond correctly when tested. The sensors in CO alarms have a limited life. Replace the CO alarm according to manufacturer’s instructions or when the end-of-life signal sounds. To keep CO alarms working well, follow manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning.
CO Precautions
  • Have fuel-burning heating equipment (fireplaces, furnaces, water heaters, wood stoves, coal stoves, space heaters and portable heaters) and chimneys inspected by a professional every year.
  • Open the damper for proper ventilation before using a fireplace.
  • Never use your oven or stovetop to heat your home. The CO gas might kill people and pets.
  • When purchasing new heating and cooking equipment, select products tested and labeled by a recognized testing laboratory.
  • Make sure all fuel-burning vented equipment is vented to the outside to avoid CO poisoning. Keep the venting for exhaust clear and unblocked.
  • If you need to warm a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting it. Never run a vehicle or other fueled engine or motor indoors, even if garage doors are open. Make sure the exhaust pipe of a running vehicle is not blocked with snow, ice or other materials. The CO gas might kill people and pets.
  • Make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove and fireplace are clear of snow and other debris.
  • Only use barbecue grills outside, away from all doors, windows, vents and other building openings. Some grills can produce CO gas. Never use grills inside the home or the garage, even if the doors are open.
  • Use portable generators outdoors in well-ventilated areas away from all doors, windows, vents and other building openings to prevent exhaust fumes from entering the home.
If Your CO Alarm Sounds
  • Immediately move to a fresh air location (outdoors or by an open window or door). Make sure everyone inside the home is accounted for. Call 9-1-1 or the fire department from a fresh air location (outdoors or by an open window). Remain at a fresh air location until emergency personnel arrive to assist you.

This information was compiled by the U.S. Fire Administration.  Click here for more information from the U.S. Fire Administration  on carbon monoxide poisoning.

Halloween Safety and Preparedness

pumpkinHalloween is creeping up quickly and planning ahead can help ensure this is a safe event for everyone!

Walk Safely

• Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks.
• Look left, right and left again when crossing andkeep looking as you cross.
• Put electronic devices down and keep heads up and walk, don’t run, across the street.
• Teach children to make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them.
• Always walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible. Children should walk on direct routes with the fewest street crossings.
• Watch for cars that are turning or backing up. Teach children to never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.

Trick or Treat With an Adult

• Children under the age of 12 should not be alone at night without adult supervision. If kids are mature enough to be out without supervision, they should stick to familiar areas that are well lit and trick-or-treat in groups.

Keep Costumes Both Creative and Safe

• Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and, if possible, choose light colors.
• Choose face paint and makeup whenever possible instead of masks, which can obstruct a child’s vision.
• Have kids carry glow sticks or flashlights to help them see and be seen by drivers.
• When selecting a costume, make sure it is the right size to prevent trips and falls.

Drive Extra Safely on Halloween

• Slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods. Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways.
• Take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs.
• Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully.
• Eliminate any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.
• Drive slowly, anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic and turn your headlights on earlier in the day to spot children from greater distances.
• Popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. so be especially alert for kids during those hours.

This information was compiled by: Safe Kids Worldwide


Winter is Coming!

Winter Weather Awareness WeekWinter_road_in_Perm_Krai

It's Winter Weather Awareness Week in Montana!The National Weather Service (NWS) offices in Montana are sponsoring  the week to provide information on the different types of winter weather in Montana and how to stay safe during the cold winter months. For more information on the NWS Watch and Warning Program, winter weather climatology, preparing for storms, and weatherwise information, click here.

Winter Survival Kit:  Got Yours?


Many people have some sort of a kit thrown together for traveling in Montana in the winter, but do you really have what you need in it? How long have those old granola bars been in there? Did your teenagers take things out while needing something and “forget” to tell you it’s now gone? Check out your kit and make sure it’s ready to go for the winter season.

Basic Items to have in Vehicle Winter Survival Kit:

Cellphone and Charger
First-Aid Kit
Extra Clothing
Ice Scraper
Spare Tire
Water Bottles
High Calorie/Non-Perishable Food
Moist Towelettes/Paper Towels
Tool Kit (i.e. multi-tool)

Additional Items to Consider:

Sleeping Bags and Blankets
Flashlights with Extra Batteries
Portable Shovel
Tow Rope
Booster Cables
Waterproof Matches
Small Garbage bags
Small bag of cat litter and/or sand

Hitting the road?

When traveling the northern plains or northern Rockies in wintertime, run through this checklist:

  Fuel up and stay above a half tank throughout your trip.
  Check the road conditions on Montana Department of Transportation's travel info page by clicking here or call 511
  Check the forecast before leaving. Sometimes the roads are good in the location you are leaving from, but conditions may worsen as you get closer to your destination. Click here for travel forecast information.
  Tell someone where you are going, what time you leave, and the route you take to get there. Use the better traveled roads. Then call them when you arrive safely. Otherwise, they can alert officials that you are late and perhaps there is a problem.
  Don’t use cruise control on icy roads!
If you run into problems, keep the following items in mind:
  Use a tow rope, not a chain to pull a vehicle that is stuck. Make sure it is no longer than 6 feet. Chains can backlash, and cause serious injuries or death.
  If a chain is the only available item, throw a heavy jacket or blanket over it before attempting to tow a vehicle out.

What if I get stuck?

If you do get stuck, and it looks like you may be in the vehicle for a while:

  Stay with the vehicle, unless you can clearly see sturdier/warmer shelter
  Run the engine 10 minutes each hour for heat, and crack the window just a bit
  Keep the tailpipe clear
  A hubcap or visor can be used as a shovel
  Burning oil in a hubcap may allow rescuers to find you if conditions have improved
  Distress Signal is: Honk your horn for three long blasts, 10 seconds apart. Repeat every 30 seconds.

More Information

The four National Weather Service (NWS) offices in Montana will be sharing important winter weather preparedness information this week. Be sure to follow them on Twitter @NWSGlasgow, @NWSBillings, @NWSMissoula, and @NWSGreatFalls or visit their Winter Weather Awareness Week website by clicking here.

This information was compiled by Tanja Fransen, Warning Coordination Meteorologist NOAA/NWS Glasgow, MT.


When the Lights Go Out

power outagePower outages can be frustrating and dangerous, especially during cold Montana winters. The cause of power outages can vary, but the most common cause is damage to electric transmission lines, substations, or other parts of the distribution system. Fortunately, you can prepare your home and family for these events to mitigate any potential danger and make sure your family is safe.


Build an Emergency Supply Kit
Power outages can last a long time. It is important to build an emergency supply kit for your family. Here are some just some suggestions of items to include in the kit:
- Water
- Food: nonperishable, easy to prepare items
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Battery powered or hand crank radio
- Stocked first aid kit
- Medications and required medical items
- Multi-purpose tool
- Sanitation and personal hygiene items
- Copies of personal documents: insurance documents, deed/lease to home, medication list, etc.
- Family and emergency contact information
- Extra cash


Food Safety
Keep refrigerator and freezer doors close as much as possible and use perishable food from the refrigerator first. An unopened refrigerator will keep food cold for approximately four (4) hours. Use food from the freezer next. A full, unopened freezer will keep temperature for approximately 48 hours while a half full freezer will keep temperature for approximately 24 hours. Last, use your nonperishable foods after you have used all food from the refrigerator and freezer.

Electrical Equipment during a Blackout
It is smart to turn off and unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment and turn off or disconnect appliances like stoves or other equipment that you were using when the power went out. When power comes back on, surges can damage equipment. Leave one light on so that you know when power has returned. For information on how to use generators safely, click here.

Carbon Monoxide
Carbon monoxide poisoning is one of the primary hazards when using alternate sources for electricity. Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gas, propane, natural gas or charcoal burning devices in an enclosed area. If a unit is used outside, place it away from doors, windows, and vents. It is also advisable to install carbon monoxide alarms in central locations on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas.


When the Power Comes Back On
Do not touch any electrical power lines and keep your family and pets away from them. Report downed power lines to the appropriate officials in your area.

Throw Out Unsafe Food
Throw away any food that has been exposed to temperatures 40 degrees or higher for more than two hours, has an unusual color, odor, or texture. When in doubt, throw it out! Some foods may smell or look fine, but have grown bacteria that can cause food borne illnesses.

More Information

This information has been adapted from the American Red Cross. For more disaster and emergency information from the American Red Cross, click here.


Get Ready, Helena!

The American Red Cross of Montana in conjunction with Montana Campus Compact is hosting Get Ready, Montana/ Ready Campus Training Institute at Helena’s Carroll College. The training will be held on Saturday, October 5, 2013 from 10:00AM to 3:00PM

The training will teach participants the necessary skills to prepare for and minimize the impact of disasters on themselves and their families. Additional disaster response training will qualify participants to become Red Cross disaster response volunteers and help their community during disasters such as house fires, wildfires, winter storms, and floods. During 2012 alone, the Montana Red Cross directly assisted 646 community members and families affected by fires and other disasters, opening 20 shelters and serving over 11,000 meals.

The training will be held in Simperman Hall, Room 114 and lunch will be provided. To register, email ARCMTTraining@redcross.org or call 1-800-ARC-MONT and ask for the Disaster Training Coordinator.

The Get Ready, Montana/Ready Campus Training Institute is funded in part by the Corporation for National & Community Service, through a 9/11 National Day of Service & Remembrance grant.


Hunting Season Fire Prevention

Picture provided by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

Picture provided by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

Montana, September 12, 2013 - Hunting season is a very exciting time for many Montanans, as well as out-of-state visitors who come to hunt in Montana. As you prepare for your hunting trip, make sure you have plenty of water to put your warming fire out completely. Vegetation is dry and wildland fires can still occur. Do your part to ensure you do not start a wildland fire. Before you head outdoors know the below items.

1. Are warming fires allowed in the area you are hunting? Visit www.firerestrictions.us to     find out.

2. It is best to keep your fire small and manageable, no larger than three feet in diameter.

3. Make certain you have an adequate clear zone above and around your fire, a four foot area cleared for every one foot of flame height.

4. Never leave your warming fire unattended.

5. Drown your fire with plenty of water and stir. Dirt is useful in putting out a fire.

6. Ensure it is cold to the touch before leaving.

If you are exploring the forests, rangelands, and back country in vehicles you must stay on established roads and trails and avoid driving over dry grass and brush that could be ignited by hot exhaust systems.

Have a safe, fun, and successful hunting season.


Contact: Crystal Beckman, Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, 406.542.4251


Shake Up Emergency Planning


The date is fast approaching! Shake up emergency and disaster preparedness by participating in the 2013 Great Rocky Mountain ShakeOut on Wednesday, October 23, 2013 at 10:23AM!

Check out these awesome businesses, schools, universities, agencies, and more that have already registered by clicking here.

Participate and register today by visiting www.shakeout.org/rockymountain.

 What is the Rocky Mountain ShakeOut?

A simple earthquake drill that everyone can do by dropping, covering, and holding on. Last year, over 19.4 million people participated in ShakeOut drills across the globe.

This year, Montana has partnered with Wyoming and Colorado to host the first ever Great Rocky Mountain ShakeOut. So far, there are over 34,000 registrants in the region!

Why participate?

Did you know that Montana is one of the most seismically active states? Do you know what to do when the ground starts to shake? Participating in the 2013 Rocky Mountain ShakeOut is a great way to be prepared to survive and recover quickly from earthquakes where you live, work, or travel. The drill is also a great way to encourage general thinking around emergency and disaster preparedness.

Who can participate?

Everyone can participate! Here is a list of just some of the groups that participate in ShakeOut drills:

• Families
• Schools
• K-12 Schools and Districts
• Colleges
• Tribes
• State and Federal Government
• Tribes
• Businesses
• Hospitals
• Senior Centers and Nursing Homes
• Nonprofit Organizations
• Churches

When will it happen?

Montana will participate in the Rocky Mountain ShakeOut on Wednesday, October 23, 2013 at 10:23AM.

Where can I learn more about earthquakes in Montana?


September is National Preparedness Month

National Prep Month Leaderboard

Montanans, Host a Neighborhood Preparedness Party!

This September marks the tenth annual National Preparedness Month, a national campaign that encourages Americans to take steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, schools, organizations, businesses, and communities. National Preparedness Month is sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and is supported by the Ready Campaign in partnership with Citizen  Corps and state preparedness organizations across the country.

Montanans can participate in National Preparedness Month by hosting a Neighborhood Preparedness Party! Bring your community together to learn about emergency preparedness and what to do in times of disaster. The Governor’s Office of Community Service can help support your event with emergency supply starter kits and emergency preparedness resources. Hosting a Neighborhood Preparedness Party is easy to do and it is a great way to get to know your neighbors while preparing your community for disasters and emergencies of all kinds.

How to Host a Neighborhood Preparedness Party

1. Plan your party with your local community leaders and volunteers like Disaster and Emergency Services Coordinators, Red Cross Volunteers, Schools, AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs, Fire Departments, Police Departments, and others.

2. Research a location, date, and estimated number of participants and gather your local resources.

3. Submit an Event Supply Request to the Governor’s Office of Community Service at serve@mt.gov.

4. The Governor’s Office of Community Service will send you emergency supply starter kit bags and Map Your Neighborhood resources.

5. Promote your event. Make posters and consider inviting your local media.

6. Host your event. Make sure to have participants sign in and don’t forget to take pictures!

7. Send an Final Report to the Governor’s Office of Community Service and celebrate that your community is more prepared!

 Resources to Get You Started

Map Your Neighborhood Program

Emergency Supply Kit Checklist

Fire Ready Montana Checklist

Winter Ready Montana Checklist



Contact Katie Gallagher, Grants Coordinator, at 406-444-1718 or kgallagher@mt.gov


Be Fire Ready

FireReadyMontanaeditedWhile wildfires are burning in a few parts of the state, all Montanans should take simple steps now to prepare for emergencies and disasters.

Be Prepared

Make sure your family has an Emergency Supply Kit that can last for at least three days and consider building a second smaller emergency supply kit that you can grab and go case of evacuation. Don’t forget to include important documents, money, pet supplies, phone chargers, and your special needed items such as prescription medications.

Take time now to make a family communications plan. Often during emergencies, phone service is limited and it may be difficult to make a local call. Designate an out of town contact that everyone can call or email. Also, review your evacuation plan and remember to consider your neighbors who might need help. If you have pets, make a plan now for where to take them as most shelters only permit service animals.

Register your cell phone to receive emergency notifications or “reverse 9-1-1” calls, especially if you do not have a “land line” at your home. If necessary, automated calls will be sent to you about evacuations or other emergency updates. Contact your local police department or county sheriff to find out if this is available in your area.

Help Your Neighbors

Now that you’ve prepared your family, consider hosting a Neighborhood Preparedness Party. Bring together your neighborhood to build emergency supply kits, share important emergency contact information, and make a plan for your neighbors who might need a little extra help.

As you plan your summer recreational activities, keep in mind if your plans could cause wildfires. Look up firework and campfire restrictions. Learn how to make sure your campfires are cold to the touch and dead out. Be respectful of open lands during dry conditions and use common sense.

Stay Informed

Keep up-to-date on active fires on Inciweb.

Check road closures before you make travel plans.

Use social media to stay informed about Montana wildfires and how you can help.

Find more Fire Ready resources from ReadyMontana.


Stay Informed!

Stay informed about wildfire activity as well as preparedness and prevention in Montana this wildfire season. We liked the idea from Boise State Public Radio (@KBSX915) to compile great sources for wildfire information. We liked the idea so much that we did it for Montana to help social media users stay informed this summer.


Summer weather in Montana can be very unpredictable. Stay informed about current and future weather conditions, including red flag warnings that signal elevated fire potential. The National Weather Service (NWS) has four offices in Montana the cover the entire state. Follow @NWSGlasgow, @ NWSMissoula, @NWSBillings, and @NWSGreatFalls.

Preparedness, Mitigation, and Prevention

Everyone has a role to play in wildfire mitigation, preparedness, and prevention. Federal and state agencies as well as nonprofits are working hard across Montana to make sure that home and landowners know how they can best protect their homes, livelihoods, and families. Follow these organizations to make sure that you are ready:

@ReadyMontana is a preparedness initiative of the Governor’s Office of Community Service that seeks to provide information and resources so that Montanans are prepared for all hazards.

@FireSafeMontana assembles diverse interests in a coalition that works together on solutions to reduce the loss of lives and property from the threat of fire in and around Montana communities.

@FireWise is a program of the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) that encourages local solutions for safety by involving homeowners in taking individual responsibility for preparing their homes from the risk of wildfire.

With 23 disaster action teams across the state of Montana when disaster strikes @MontanaRedCross is there to help those impacted by providing essential services like shelters.

@Readygov is the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) preparedness initiative. Montana is part of @femaregion8, which also includes Coloardo, Wyoming, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

Wildfire Activity

Headed out for a camping trip? Wondering why the air is so smokey? Many agencies and organizations are working around the clock to make sure that the public is informed about current wildfires across the state. Stay up-to-date on wildfire activity in Montana by following these organizations:

@MTDNRCFIRE is the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation's Fire and Aviation Bureau. The department provides provides resources, leadership, and coordination to Montana’s wildfire services through wildfire prevention, training, preparedness, and safe, aggressive suppression actions to protect lives, property, and natural resources.

@MontanaDES, Montana Disaster and Emergency Services, is committed to serving the citizens for Montana and providing support during times of natural disaster or emergency.

@Inciweb provides updates on fire information around the country, including Montana. The service provides also maps, photos, and detailed information about active and non-active fires.

Before heading out to enjoy Montana’s public lands, check for fire activity by following @YellowstoneNPS and @GlacierNPS.  @MTStateParks and @MontanaFWP also provide important updates about our public lands.

Millions of acres of National Forest lands in the state of Montana are administered by the United States Forest Service (USFS):

USFS Northern Region (includes Montana) @FS_Region1
Beaverhead and Deer Lodge National Forest @bvrhdDridgeNF
Bitterroot National Forest @BitterrootNF
Custer National Forest @CusterNF
Flathead National Forest @FlatheadNF
Gallatin National Forest @GallatinNF
Helena National Forest @Helena_NF
Kootenai National Forest @KootenaiNF
Lewis and Clark National Forest @LewisandClarkNF


Thousands of Montanans Prepare

ready mapedited
American Red Cross of Montana Helps Residents Get Ready

The American Red Cross of Montana (ARCMT) is helping people in all corners of the state get ready for disasters. Since late 2011, ARCMT staff and dozens of dedicated, trained volunteers have delivered over 130 Get Ready, Montana preparedness workshops to Montanans where they live, work, and recreate.  According to ARCMT Preparedness and Military Services Director, Kevin Murszweski:

“Local volunteers are able to engage people in their own communities, adding value and meaning to the reasons that people should be aware and prepare for the unexpected. They have the knowledge and past experience responding to disasters that have impacted their communities. They pass on that knowledge to community members on how they can be better prepared, what items they may need, where to get information about the disaster,  and what resources are available through the recovery period."

Over 3,400 Montanans have participated in the workshops, learning how to build an emergency supply kit, make an emergency plan, and  stay informed about local hazards and resources. In addition, participants are encouraged to take advantage of volunteer opportunities to help their neighbors and community prepare for the unexpected.  Murszweski emphasizes that preparedness is also a shared responsibility:

"Beyond the individual and family comes community preparedness. Map Your Neighborhood provides a unique opportunity for community members who are passionate about their neighborhoods, friends, and family and want them to thrive when impacted by the unexpected. This program empowers people to reach out and know who the vulnerable folks are and what resources they can share to assist in their recovery ”

ARCMT Get Ready, Montana workshops are free, and are made possible with support from the Governor’s Office of Community Service. To learn more about ARCMT and how you can be involved, click here.



Fireworks Safety

FireworksFireworks are synonymous with our celebration of Independence Day. This Fourth of July it is important to be safe while celebrating. Fireworks can be dangerous and cause injury as well as unintended home and wildland fires.

Make sure that fireworks are legal in your area and that there are no fire restrictions before purchasing or using. Fireworks are prohibited on all forested, state, and federal land in Montana. Many towns in Montana have special restrictions. Be sure to check with your local fire department or city officials to learn about any local restrictions.  Click here for information on current fire restrictions.

Make sure that you and your family stay safe this Fourth of July. Check out these useful safety tips from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission:

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks
  • Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
  • Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Anyone can suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees- hot enough to melt some metals!
  • Never place any part of the body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose hand in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding to prevent a trash fire.

For more information on fireworks safety, click here. Have a fun and safe holiday!


Severe Summer Weather

Lightnings sequence 2 animation

When most Montanans think about summertime hazards, wildland and rangeland fires immediately come to mind. While it is important to prepare your family, home, and property for wildland fires, Montanans must remember to also prepare for severe summer weather such as damaging thunderstorms, wind, hail, and lightening.

On June 20, 2012 former Governor Brian Schweitzer declared a state of emergency after the largest tornado to hit the city of Billings in more than 50 years peeled the roof off MetraPark. The tornado had estimated wind speeds of 111 to 135 mph and caused millions of dollars in damage.

Although according to the 2013 update to the Montana Pre-Disaster Mitigation Plan, Montana has an average of six tornadoes annually spread over a large geographic area; other severe summer weather events are common. Between 1952 and 2012 severe summer weather caused an estimated $77.8 million in property and crop damage.

As Montanans hit the road this summer and head to the lakes, rivers, and mountains to recreate, it is important to know how to be prepared for severe summer weather. Here are some tips from our friends at ready.gov:

1) Build an Emergency Supply Kit.

2) Make a Family Emergency Plan. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to know how you will contact one another and how you will get back together.

3) Continually monitor the media- be aware of storms that may impact your area.

4) Ensure your home is ready- elevate items in the basement which could be flooded. Bring indoors items such as children’s toys, patio furniture, garbage cans, etc. which could be blown around and damaged. Remove dead and rotting trees and branches that could fall and cause injury or damage.

5) Know how to shut off utilities, including power, water, and gas to you home.

6) Find out what types of event and damages are covered by your insurance policy. Keep insurance policies, important documents and other valuables in a safe and secure location.

Shared Responsibility

Awareness Week Photos

Government agencies gathered with elected officials, firefighters, and the public on Monday, June 3, 2013 at the State Capitol to kick off the 2013 Wildfire Awareness Week in Montana.

Over 50 people joined Governor Bullock in the Capitol Rotunda directly following the first fire briefing of the season to hear about the summer’s fire outlook and to learn how to do their part in wildfire prevention, preparedness, and mitigation.

Governor Bullock endorsed wildfire awareness, stating, “it is up to each and every one of us to do our part to make sure that Montana is protected from wildfires. Everyone should do what they can to prepare and take personal responsibility.”

From Volunteer Fire Department pancake feeds to homeowner mitigation workshops, organizations across the state are spreading the word about wildfire awareness this summer. To learn about events happening near you, click here.

At a community wildfire meeting held on Tuesday, June 4, 2013 at Helena Middle School, guests from the Colorado Springs Fire Department reiterated the importance of wildfire preparedness and homeowner mitigation. The speakers shared the lessons learned from the devastating 2012 Waldo Canyon Fire with over 140 community members and emphasized that wildfire preparedness is a shared responsibility.

Here are some Wildfire Awareness Week prevention and mitigation tips:

- Learn before you burn. Never leave your burn pile unattended. For Safe Debris Burning tips and burn permits check with your local Fire Department.

- Take Steps Now to Protect your Home and Property from Wildfires. Trim and prune trees and shrubs around your home and buildings. Learn more here.

- Make sure all mechanical outdoor equipment such as tractors, chainsaws, off-road vehicles, and others are equipped with properly-working mufflers and bearings.

- Have you checked your rain gutters, roof crevices, and eaves? Take the time now to make sure all debris is cleared leaving no place for a fire ember to land and start a fire.

- Before starting a camp fire make sure you have an area cleared of debris and a fire ring made from nonflammable material like rocks. When you leave the fire make sure it is completely out by adding water, stirring, and making sure it is cold to the touch.

- Do you have ornamental shrubs and trees touching your home or wood chips surrounding the base? Consider trimming the shrubs and trees so they are at least 3ft from the home and replacing any flammable landscape decorations with nonflammable materials like concrete or stones.

- Know before you go! During the summer months counties will have fire restrictions limiting recreational campfires and debris burns. Make sure you know whether your county or destination is under fire restrictions.

- Wildfires can be unpredictable and move fast. You may have to evacuate your home quickly. Make a grab and go bag with important family documents, medications, and other essential items. Check out useful items to include by clicking here.

- It is important to remember that any spark is enough to start a wildfire during hot, windy and dry summer days. Make sure that you aren’t dragging chains and use caution when using a lawn mower remember rocks and spinning blades can produce sparks.


Watches and Warnings

Montana TornadoDo you know the difference between a severe thunderstorm watch and a severe thunderstorm warning? Thunderstorms are common during the spring and summer in Montana. Severe thunderstorm watches and warnings are issued by the National Weather Service (NWS) to help residents and visitors prepare by taking the necessary precautions.

Severe Thunderstorm Watch

A severe thunderstorm watch means that the potential exists for the development of thunderstorms that may produce large hail or damaging winds. When a watch is issued, you should go about your normal activities, but keep an eye to the sky and an ear to a NOAA weather radio or local radio station for further updates or possible warnings.

Severe Thunderstorm Warning

A severe thunderstorm warning means that a severe thunderstorm is occurring or is imminent based on Doppler radar information. You should move indoors to a place of safety.

The term severe refers to hail that is dime size, 0.75 inches in diameter or larger, and/or wind gusts to 58mph or more. Although lightening can be deadly and excessive rainfall may lead to flashfloods, these are not a criterion for what the NWS defines as severe since an ordinary thunderstorms can produce both dangerous lightening and significant rainfall.

Tornado Watch

A tornado watch means that severe thunderstorms that form may be capable of producing a tornado.

Tornado Warning

A tornado warning is the ultimate in severe warnings and means that a tornado is either occurring or is imminent based on radar. You should take cover immediately.

More Information

There are four NWS offices in Montana. Connect with the office in your area on Facebook or Twitter!

NWS-Missoula & @NWSMissoula
NWS- Great Falls & @NWSGreatFalls
NWS- Billings & @NWSBillings
NWS- Glasgow & @NWSGlasgow

This information was adapted from the NWS. For more information from NWS on weather terminology, click here.



Montana Wildfire Awareness Week

Be Aware.



Celebrate Wildfire Awareness Week!

Wildfire Awareness Week will be held in Montana from June 3-9, 2013. This years’ message encourages homeowners to take simple steps to minimize the negative impacts of wildland fire. During Wildfire Awareness Week organizations and agencies across the state will be hosting events and activities to raise awareness about wildland fire safety, preparedness, mitigation, and prevention.

More Information

For more information on Wildfire Awareness Week, including useful tools and templates, click here.  Events are happening across the state this fire season. Click here to learn about events in your area!

Funding Opportunities

For the last five years, the Governor’s Office of Community Service has been calling on all Montanans to get Fire Ready! This year, funding is available to help support wildland fire preparedness training, events, and one-time community-based wildfire preparedness projects.

Up to $2,000 per project is available along with Fire Ready Montana resources to help organizations encourage preparedness and mitigation in their communities. To learn more about this funding opportunity, click here.




Preparedness for Older Americans

Older American Month

May is Older Americans Month

May is Older Americans Month and a perfect time to help the seniors in your life make an emergency plan. Preparedness is important at any age, but for seniors it is important to create a personal support network as part of your plan. This personal support network should be made up of several individuals who will check on you in an emergency and give assistance if needed. Your support network may include family, neighbors, care providers, or friends.

The American Red Cross recommends seniors complete the following activities with their support networks:

1) Make arrangements prior to an emergency for your support network to immediately check on you after a disaster and, if needed, offer assistance.

2) Exchange important keys.

3) Show them where you keep emergency supplies.

4) Share copies of your relevant emergency documents, evacuation plans, and emergency health information card.

5) Agree on and practice methods for contacting each other in an emergency. Do not count on the telephones working

6) You and your personal support network should always notify each other when you are going out of town and when you will return.

7) The relationship should be mutual. You have a lot to contribute! Learn about each other’s needs and how to help each other in an emergency.

There are many resources available to help older Americans prepare for disasters and emergencies! Here are a few useful resources:

Disaster Preparedness for Seniors by Seniors
Prepare for Emergencies Now: Preparing Makes Sense for Older Americans


Montana Communities Prepare

 “You know, we talk about resiliency, I think many people start out thinking of it as an engineering problem- where do we put the seawall against a hurricane, where do we put the concrete barrier against a terrorist bombing. And it seems that you’re saying that resiliency is more of a social problem. How do we build a strong community that can deal with whatever may come up?” ~National Public Radio’s Steven Inskeep, Neighborhood Connections Key to Surviving Crisis, January 2013

Gallatin CERT PiceditedDuring a large-scale disaster, emergency responders may be overwhelmed. Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) are trained groups of local residents that are able to supplement the response capabilities of professional emergency responders. CERT members build the resiliency of their communities by preparing their families, neighbors, and communities for disaster and assisting with response and recovery efforts.

37 Montanans participated in 20-hour CERT trainings in April. The trainings were hosted by Gateway CERT on April 13, 2013 and April 20-21,2013 and by Cascade County CERT on April 17-19, 2013. Gateway CERT encompasses the Gateway Rural Fire District in Gallatin County and includes the 4-Corners/Elk Grove subdivisions as well as the Gallatin Gateway and Cottonwood communities.

The training included classroom learning modules as well as hands-on scenarios. Participants learned important disaster preparedness and response skills, including fire safety, light search and rescue, and disaster psychology. Check out a KFBB Channel 5 video on the Cascade County CERT training here.CERT

For more information on CERT and other community preparedness opportunities, contact Katie Gallagher at serve@mt.gov or by calling 406-444-1718.


Financial Preparedness and Disasters

FEMABeing ready for disasters is more than storing water and supplies. It is also important to be financially ready. You also need to be financially ready. Starting early and having a plan to pay your bills and access your important records and accounts help you get back on your feet faster and avoid problems with your credit when you need it the most.

Pre-disaster financial planning is essential for individuals and families to complete because disasters leave many Americans without access to finances or with expensive damages.Thousands of American just like you- your neighbors
and friends- have a plan to keep their important documents in their home disaster kit.

Safe guarding your finances and important records is easy if you start now. These steps can help get you started:

1. Identify your important documents and place them in a safe place. You can use the Safeguarding Your Valuables activity and the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit to help you get started.

2. Download phone applications that can help during emergencies. Use the FEMA phone application to access disaster preparedness, response and recovery resources including disaster assistance.

3. Enroll in Go Direct to minimize disruptions to receiving any federal benefits you may receive.

4. Plan ahead of time to recover. Our partners at USDA have created great resources to help you get started including Recovery After Disaster: the Family Financial Toolkit and the Disaster Recovery Log.

This information was provided by FEMA. Click here for more information.


Winter Ready Montana Highlights

Winter Ready Montana HighlightsWinter Ready Montana is a call-to-service promoted by the Governor’s Office of Community Service that encourages citizens, businesses, national service programs, churches, schools, and more to help their neighbors and those in need prepare for winter.

Montanans were out in force during the 2012-2013 winter lending a helping hand to those in need. Here are just some of the highlights:

Senior CorpsMontana Senior Corps programs made, collected and donated over 3,800 winter accessories, including coats, hats, gloves, and mittens.

As part of the Warm Hearts Warm Homes program, Montana Conservation Corps in Partnership with the Department of Public Health and Human Service’s Low Income Energy Assistance Program weatherized 1,181 homes in 51 counties.

The Governor’s Office of Community Service distributed over 2,000 Winter Ready checklists with winter ready awareness information and preparedness tips to 84 Montana Food Bank Network partner agencies and their clients across the state.

WinterCoatsButton2012The One Warm Coat Campaign, a partnership with former First Lady Nancy Schweitzer and First Interstate Bank, was held October 17-26, 2012. 1,433 coats were collected at First Interstate banks across Montana. These new and gently used coats were given to Montana families in need through local agencies.

Senior Companion programs at Action for Eastern Montana and Missoula Aging Services distributed 218 emergency supply starter kits that included items such as blankets, flashlights, and emergency radios to home-bound and disabled seniors. The projects were supported by the Let’s Get Winter Ready, Montana! initiative.


Emergency Resources for Schools


Letter from Denise Juneau, Superintendent of Public Instruction
December 17, 2012
Resources for Emergency Planning and Traumatic Events

Dear Colleagues,

We know how hard our schools work every day to keep Montana children safe. In light of the recent tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut, the Office of Public Instruction would like to share some resources that may be helpful to you as your communities, school staff and children react to this horrific event.

If you have additional questions or need additional assistance, please contact Karin Billings at 406-444-0829 or KBillings@mt.gov or Cheri Seed at 406-444-3000 or CSeed@mt.gov.

Talking to Youth and Children about Traumatic Events:

The U.S. Department of Education has compiled resources from federal agencies and counseling experts to help adults give children the space to talk or express their emotions after traumatic events: http://rems.ed.gov/HelpingYouthandChildrenRecoverFromTraumaticEvents.aspx

Creating and Updating School Emergency Plans:

The U.S. Department of Education provides free tools and education programs to help schools plan how to prepare in an emergency event. The Department has compiled many of those tools here: http://rems.ed.gov/CreatingAndUpdatingSchoolEmergencyManagementPlans.aspx

One resource you may find particularly helpful is Early Warning, Timely Response: A Guide to Safe Schools. This guide offers research-based practices designed to assist school communities to identify warning signs early on and develop prevention, intervention and crisis response plans.

Trainings Available in Montana:

The Montana Safe Schools Center provides training, research and professional development services to schools and communities across Montana and throughout the U.S. This is provided from the campus of the University of Montana.

The OPI's Health Enhancement and Safety Division and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Disaster and Emergency Services have partnered to offer an 8-hour awareness level course for school administrators, their staff and emergency responders. Licensed staff who participate receive seven renewal credits. The next training is on January 3 in Ronan. For more information about this and future trainings, please contact Marschal Rothe, mrothe@mt.gov or 406-324-4776. These trainings are provided to school districts at no cost.

RSVP Volunteers are Winter Ready

Butte RSVP
Senior Corps Members Celebrate Service Contributions
and Prepare for Winter

Montana has some of the harshest and most unpredictable winter weather conditions in the nation. Are you ready for hazardous winter conditions? Over 200 Retired Senior and Volunteer Program (RSVP) volunteers are!

Butte School District RSVP volunteers attended the 13th Annual Recognition Event at the Copper King Hotel in Butte on Wednesday, November 14, 2012 to recognize the over 72,000 hours of service provided by the 349 active RSVP volunteers over the past year. These Senior Corps volunteers serve with agencies and organizations throughout the Butte community, including area schools, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites, World Museum of Mining, Our Lady of the Rockies, St. James Healthcare, and many more.

Butte RSVP

The theme for this year’s event was “The 1st 72 Is On You: preparing for disasters and emergencies of all types.” Guest speakers Katie Gallagher, Ready Montana Coordinator, and Dave McPherson, Butte-Silver Bow 911 Manager, emphasized the importance of creating a 72 hour emergency supply kit, participating in local emergency programs such as smart 911, and helping neighbors in times of need.

All event goers received emergency supply kit starter bags and emergency reminder magnets. The bags can be used to build a well-stocked 72 hour emergency supply kit for the home and car. The magnets provide a place to list emergency contacts and tips for what to do an emergency. Participants also shared a wealth of knowledge by discussing their experiences and providing tips for emergency preparedness from filling the bathtub with water when there is a severe weather warning to setting up a designated emergency meeting place not only for your family, but also for your business.

Join the Montana National Service community and hundreds of Montanans by learning more about Winter Ready Montana and prepare your family, neighborhood, and community for winter in Montana by hosting a neighborhood preparedness party!

New Ready Montana TV Spot

“Together we can be prepared for all seasons in Montana!”

This summer the talented students of the MAPS Media Institute created a new 30-second TV spot for Ready Montana and the Governor’s Office of Community Service. The purpose of this commercial is to inspire young Montanans and their families to prepare for emergencies and natural disasters and to remember help their neighbors during these events. Look for the commercial on the HGTV, Food, Nickelodeon, Discovery, Family, History, Life, TLC, and USA cable channels across Montana through November and December.

Ready MT - Governor's Office of Community Service from MAPS Media Institute on Vimeo.

The commercial features emergency supply kit starter bags and a supply kit checklist that are used for Neighborhood Preparedness Parties. Anyone interested in preparing their community for emergencies can host a Neighborhood Preparedness Party. Learn how to receive materials here.

The MAPS Media Institute is a nonprofit after-school program designed to teach students real-world media arts skills. For more information, visit www.mapsmediainstitute.com.

Check out the coverage of the production in the Ravalli Republic:

Zombie Invasion

Zombies Invade Dillon during Drill of the Dead Exercise

ZombiePreparedness can be fun! Just ask the approximately 250 Dillon students and community members that got into the Halloween spirit by adorning gory make-up and transforming into zombies to help Beaverhead County and Barrett Hospital test their emergency response plans.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) embrace the concept of a “Zombie Apocalypse” as a way to engage citizens, specifically youth and young adults, in public health and disaster preparedness activities.

During the exercise, all zombies filed through the National Guard Armory, becoming inoculated from by consuming Dixie cups full of chocolate and gummy brains. The event allowed the County to test the Point of Distribution (POD) procedures and plans in case of an infectious disease outbreak and educate the public on the importance of emergency preparedness.

Dillon High School students covered in paint and faux blood with newly printed driver’s licenses listened to a preparedness presentation from the American Red Cross of Montana and received resources to create an emergency supply kit for their cars in preparation for hazardous Montana winter road conditions.

Event Supporters:

  • Beaverhead County Public Health Department
  • Barrett Hospital
  • American Red Cross of Montana
  • State of Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services
  • University of Montana Western
  • Spartan Consulting
  • Governor’s Office of Community Service
  • Local Law Enforcement, Disaster Emergency Services (DES), Search and Rescue, and Fire Departments

Become involved in preparedness efforts in your community! To learn how, visit the American Red Cross of Montana and the Governor’s Office of Community Service.



Senior Corps helps prepare Montanans

Senior Corps programs are helping Montanans prepare for disasters and emergencies with two upcoming events.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Foster Grandparents with the St. Vincent Healthcare program are learning how to prepare for wildfires and how to make an emergency supply kit at their in-service training. Contact Barbra Brady, Foster Grandparent Program Director, at 406-237-3485 to learn more.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program) volunteers are helping veterans and military families prepare for emergencies during the annual Eastern Montana Veterans Stand Down event. This Stand Down event will be held at the Eastern Montana Fairgrounds in Miles City from 9am to 3pm on Saturday, August 11. All veterans and military families in the area are encouraged to attend. Contact Betty Vail, RSVP Director, at 406-234-0505 to learn more.


Keep Montana Green

Keep Montana Green Poster Contest
New Twist to an Old Tradition

You can now help select the winning posters in this year’s Keep Montana Green Poster Contest. For the past 50 years students across Montana have been creating Keep Montana Green (KMG) Posters, lending their creativity to the effort to prevent unwanted wildfires. Until now the voting on the posters has taken place in smoke filled back rooms, or at least in some conference room in a State building somewhere.

This year KMG is asking everyone to help select the best posters, by going to the KMG web page-http://www.keepgreen.org/, and voting in each of the categories. Your votes will select the finalists in each category, and from those the State Grand Award Winner will be selected.

Voting ends at the end of the day on March 16th, 2012. The top three finishers in each division will receive cash awards and be eligible for the State Grand Award Prize.

### END ###

Engaging the Whole Community

Whole Community
Engaging the Whole Community

Whole Community is an approach to emergency management that reinforces that our nation’s emergency management team must leverage all of the resources of the collective in preparing for, protecting against, responding to, recovering from and mitigating against all hazards.  Collectively we must meet the needs of the entire community in each of these areas. Both the composition of the community and the individual needs of community members, regardless of age, economics, or accessibility requirements, must be accounted for when planning and implementing disaster strategies.

When the community is engaged in an authentic dialogue, it becomes empowered to identify its needs and the existing resources that may be used to address them. Collectively, we can determine the best ways to organize and strengthen community assets, capacities, and interests. This allows us, as a nation, to expand our reach and deliver services more efficiently and cost effectively to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Whole Community Principles

FEMA has engaged many of its emergency management partners – including local, tribal, state, territorial, and Federal representatives; academia; nongovernmental organizations; community members; and the private sector – in a national dialogue on a Whole Community approach to emergency management. Through this dialogue, three principles emerged that represent the foundation for Whole Community:

  • Understand and meet the actual needs of the whole community. Community engagement can lead to a deeper understanding of the unique and diverse needs of a population, including its demographics, values, norms, community structures, networks, and relationships. The more we know about our communities, the better we can understand their real-life safety and sustaining needs and their motivations to participate in emergency management-related activities prior to an event.
  • Engage and empower all parts of the community. Engaging the whole community and empowering local action will better position stakeholders to plan for and meet the actual needs of a community and strengthen the local capacity to deal with the consequences of all threats and hazards. This requires all members of the community to be part of the emergency management team, which should include diverse community members, social and community service groups and institutions, faith-based and disability groups, academia, professional associations, and the private and nonprofit sectors, while including government agencies who may not traditionally have been directly involved in emergency management. When the community is engaged in an authentic dialogue, it becomes empowered to identify its needs and the existing resources that may be used to address them.
  • Strengthen what works well in communities on a daily basis. A Whole Community approach to building community resilience requires finding ways to support and strengthen the institutions, assets, and networks that already work well in communities and are working to address issues that are important to community members on a daily basis. Existing structures and relationships that are present in the daily lives of individuals, families, businesses, and organizations before an incident occurs can be leveraged and empowered to act effectively during and after a disaster strikes.
A Whole Community Approach to Emergency Management: Principles, Themes, and Pathways for Action

In the document, FEMA synthesized what was learned through the National Dialogue to reflect some of the successes of a Whole Community approach across the country.

Download: A Whole Community Approach to Emergency Management: Principles, Themes, and Pathways for Action
(PDF 1.4MB)

FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.  For more information click here.

Protect your Family from Fire

FOR RELEASE ON:  October 8, 2011

For More Information Contact: Pat Cross, State Prevention Specialist, Montana DNRC, 406-542-4251, pcross@mt.gov

It’s Fire Prevention Week.

Protect your Family from Fire with Defensible Space

What’s the best way to protect your family from fire? Be ahead of the game, of course. This is Fire Prevention Week across the United States, and this year the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) is joining all of Montana’s fire departments in urging everyone to guard against the leading causes of home fires -- cooking, heating and electrical equipment, as well as candles and smoking materials. The DNRC, along with your local fire departments are also asking you to do everything you can to create a defensible space around your home.

By creating a “defensible space” you can help prevent fires from starting on your property, and create a protective buffer to keep fire from spreading to your home. This defensible space creates a firebreak and gives firefighters room to work when battling to protect your home and property.

Pat Cross, State Prevention Specialist with the Montana DNRC says, “Creating defensible space and using firewise landscaping techniques is an easy and cost effective way to protect your home. Plus in most of the rural areas in Montana it’s not a matter of “if “ but when wildfire will strike, so it’s best to take a defensive.”

Cross lists a few of the easy steps you can take to give your home a “fighting chance” should wildfire strike:

  • Thinning the trees around your home so there is 15 feet between crowns will reduce the chance of fire spreading from tree to tree
  • Eliminating “ladder fuels”, brush, small trees etc, will keep fire from climbing into tree tops
  • Dispose of slash and other fuels around your home. If fire does strike it will have less fuel to burn
  • Keep brush and other fuels cut back from your driveway so emergency vehicles can enter and leave.
  • Create at least a 30-foot safety zone around your home by watering and mowing your lawn and landscaping with fire resistant plants.
  • Clean debris from your roof and gutters
  • Display your name and house number in front of your property to assist emergency crews in locating your home

These are a few of the simple steps you can take to protect your home from wildfire, for more information contact your local fire agency or visit www.keepgreen.org


Helping to ensure that Montana’s land and water resources provide benefits for present and future generations

Wildfire Resources

Fire Ready MontanaWith high temperatures and high winds, the 2011 fire seasons has started. Stay informed of fire conditions in your area.

Stay Informed

Learn more about Fire Ready Montana and how you can be prepared and help your neighbor- check out the Fire Ready Montana page.

AmeriCorps Responds with help for Spring Floods

Montana Conservation Corps Report: July 20th 2011

Heavy rain and record levels of spring runoff left many parts of Montana devastated by flood waters, and many residents looking for assistance.

Montana Conservation Corps (MCC) AmeriCorps members were mobilized to assist residents and community groups at needed locations, helping to mitigate the risk of flood water damage to property, and to help clean up damage that had already occurred.

MCC AmeriCorps Senior Youth Crew Leader, Chris Chambers noted,

“Especially in a time of crisis, people need to know that their community is here to support them. We want to lend a hand to those in need. We know from experience that many hands make light work.”

In Billings, AmeriCorps members cleared debris left over from retreated flood water in Cooney State Park, a popular recreation area for residents of Yellowstone, Carbon, Stillwater, and Sweet Grass counties. They also assisted at the Little Big Horn Battlefield National Park remove and replace flood damaged fencing, and assisted in trail repair in Chief Plenty Coup State Park. The AmeriCorps members we also able to remove a log jam from Alkali Creek, which had contributed to rising water in the Billings Heights district.

In Bozeman, AmeriCorps members assisted more than 30 families and place more than 500 sandbags in areas that were in risk of being overtaken by flood water.

In Missoula, when the Clark Fork River flooded into residential neighborhoods, youth who were about to start their month-long youth service Expedition, rallied to a call for help from their crew leaders and sandbagged for a day to protect homes from the rising waters.

July Newsletter

Mold and Mildew in Flood Damaged

Flooding Opens the Way for Dangerous Mold

With the heavy flooding impacting much of the state, residents will find not only water damage when they return to their homes, but another, more insidious threat: mold.

To stay safe, people returning to flooded residences should take a number of precautions to minimize mold contamination:

  • Flooded homes should be thoroughly dried out, a process that may take several days or weeks;
  • Wet carpet and padding should be removed and thrown out;
  • Porous materials – those that absorb water - such as drywall, some paneling, fiberglass insulation, cellulose insulation, mattresses, pillows, wallpaper and upholstered furniture should be discarded;
  • Drywall and other porous wallboards should be removed at least 12 inches above the visible water line left by the flood. Check for wicking, the upward movement of moisture to higher levels;
  • Wall studs, where wallboard has been removed, should be cleaned and allowed to dry completely;
  • Floors, concrete or brick walls, countertops, plastic, glass and other non-porous materials should be washed with soap and water, then with a solution of one to two cups of bleach to a gallon of water, and then allowed to dry completely;
  • Wear rubber gloves and eye protection when using bleach and make sure area is well ventilated. Don’t mix bleach and ammonia – the fumes are toxic. Consider using an N-95 rated dust mask if heavy concentrations of mold are already growing;
  • Materials that cannot be effectively cleaned and dried should be placed in sealed plastic bags to prevent the spread of mold spores; and
  • People allergic to mold and people with asthma or other respiratory conditions should not do mold cleanup.

Mold spores thrive in continuously wet conditions, and can start to grow within 24 hours after a flood. They can cause allergy symptoms, headaches, bronchitis, asthma attacks, lung irritation and skin rashes. People with asthma or other pulmonary illnesses, compromised immune systems, infants and the elderly are more likely to develop mold-related illnesses.

Additional mold information is available at: http://www.fema.gov/rebuild/recover/mold.shtm

After the Flood

There are many helpful recovery resources available to citizens in Montana.

Recovery Resources
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Flood Safety and Cleanup Tips

FloodingSpring is coming early to Montana prompting flood advisories in a number of counties. Flooding poses special hazards to people who use private wells for their drinking water both during and after flood events.

If there is time before flooding, move any chemicals or hazardous materials above flood level to lessen the chance of spill and contamination. Secure any above ground storage tanks.

For those whose homes are affected by floods, the Montana Departments of  environmental Quality (DEQ) and Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) have compiled a list of tips for dealing with flood conditions. These tips are available online at both www.deq.mt.gov and www.dphhs.mt.gov.

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