Montrose, COLO. — Montrose County Emergency Management, Public Works, and Fairgrounds and Event Center have teamed up to install a self-serve sandbag filling station at the fairgrounds available to local residents. The goal of the station is to help homeowners reinforce their property due to high water and flooding potential. The sandbags and sand available at the station are provided free of charge by the county. The sandbag filling station is located on the south side of the beef barn—directly across from the Pythian Avenue entrance to the fairgrounds. It will be open from dawn to dusk. Residents need to bring their own shovels to fill the bags.
“Floods are among the most common weather hazards in the United States. Flooding has already occurred across the county and we are approaching a higher than normal run-off season due to snow accumulations,” said Emergency Manager Greg Fisher. “While there is no immediate danger at this time, we want to plan ahead and offer this service to residents. This sandbag filling station helps provide another tool for homeowners to protect their property.”
Montrose County urges residents to determine if they live in a flood plain and purchase flood insurance as needed. To find out if your house is in a flood plain, please visit https://msc.fema.gov/portal/search and enter your address.
Residents are also encouraged to be prepared and plan ahead for emergencies. The first step is to create an emergency plan and 72-hour kit. Your plan should include the five P’s: people, pets, prescriptions, photos, and personal computer(s). Including the five P’s is essential to five things will have provide a solid foundation for a plan. Visit ready.gov for plan examples and other preparedness tips. Having a 72-hour kit and resources readily available improves response to emergencies. Please sign-up for CodeRED, the county’s emergency notification system for wireless phones, at montrosecountysheriffsoffice.com.
Official updates and preparedness tips are available on the county’s emergency management Facebook page at fb.com/montrosecountyOEM.
Montrose County Emergency Manager Greg Fisher (left) works with Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control staffers, San Miguel County Sheriff’s Emergency Manager Henry Mitchell (right) and U.S. Forest Service-Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre & Gunnison National Forests and BLM – Southwest Colorado Fire and Aviation Management Unit during a fire preseason collaborators meeting.
Have you experienced flood damage to your home or business as a result of Colorado rainstorms? There are always many questions from the community on what is covered by insurance companies or other programs. The first step is to meet with your insurance agent to review your policy. Flood damage is covered under a separate flood insurance policy and not under your general policy. Flood insurance is purchased directly from your insurance agent. A list of insurance agents is available on the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) website. The most important aspect of flood insurance is to understand when coverage starts and what is not covered by the policy.
Flood Preparedness Tips
- Secure a flood insurance policy from an insurance agent.
- Review your insurance policy with your insurance agent to fully understand what is covered and what is excluded.
- Prepare your property to minimize flood damage. Follow the steps suggested by the NFIP to Prepare your House.
- Business owners can follow this Flood Preparedness Checklist.
30-Day Waiting Period
Typically, there is a 30-day waiting period from the date you purchase your policy before it goes into effect. Here are some of the exceptions listed on the NFIP website:
- If a building is newly designated in the high-risk Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) and you purchase flood insurance within the 13-month period following a map revision, there is a 1-day waiting period.
- If you purchase flood insurance in connection with making, increasing, extending, or renewing your mortgage loan, there is no waiting period.
- If you select additional insurance as an option on your insurance policy renewal bill, there is no waiting period.
- If a property is affected by flooding on burned Federal land and the policy is purchased within 60 days of the fire-containment date, there may be no waiting period. Waiving of the waiting period is determined at the time of claim.
What is Not Covered?
Coverage is limited in basements. It’s also limited in areas below the lowest elevated floor, depending on the flood zone and date of construction. These areas include:
- Crawl spaces under an elevated building
- Enclosed areas under buildings that are elevated in full-story foundation walls that are sometimes referred to as “walkout basements”
- Enclosed areas under other types of elevated buildings
Other items not covered under most flood insurance policies:
- Damage caused by moisture, mildew or mold that could have been avoided by the property owner
- Currency, precious metals and valuable papers such as stock certificates
- Property and belongings outside of an insured building such as trees, plants, wells, septic systems, walks, decks, patios, fences, seawalls, hot tubs and swimming pools
- Living expenses such as temporary housing
- Financial losses caused by business interruption or loss of use of insured property
The FEMA Individuals and Households Program is not available for assistance unless designated under a major disaster declaration executed by the President. There are restrictions that come with this program as well as the intent to assist with a safe living space, not to return a structure to pre-disaster conditions.
The FEMA website states, “The Individuals and Households Program (IHP) provide financial help or direct services to those who have necessary expenses and serious needs if they are unable to meet the needs through other means. Up to the IHP maximum is available in financial help (adjusted each year), although some forms of IHP assistance have limits. Flood insurance may be required as indicated below.”
This assistance program will not duplicate insurance coverage.
- Flood insurance may be required if the home is in a Special Flood Hazard Area.
- FEMA programs do not return a home to pre-disaster conditions.
- FEMA programs typically provide assistance with items to meet life-safety needs. Items covered for repair include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Foundation and roof
- Windows and doors
- Floors, walls, and ceilings
- Septic or sewage system
- Well or other water system
- Heating, ventilating, and air conditioning system
- Electrical, plumbing, and gas systems
- Entrance and exit ways from the home, including privately owned access roads.
Source: National Flood Insurance Program at www.Floodsmart.gov
Growing up in the valley, I have lived through years of both drought and flooding. Following last year’s struggles with wildfire, drought, and record high temperatures, this farming season is shaping up to be very different. The fields are green — even parts of the adobe areas have ground cover sprouting up. As the temperatures continue to climb, the county has not seen the end of the flooding from run-off and increased spring rains.
Last week, residents off Marine Road experienced flooding. To date, one home took on water, and the water levels were coming near others. The water level was high enough in the road that the postal service was not able to deliver mail (including bills, paychecks and more). The county felt it was in the best interest of the several-hundred individuals living in the area to provide assistance. Thank you again to the following volunteers and agencies involved for the efforts to remediate floodwaters in the area: Haynes Excavation, ATC, Colorado Department of Emergency Management, Montrose County Jail Inmates, City of Montrose Public Works and Gunnison County.
Floods are among the most common weather hazards in the United States. They can happen anywhere at any time of year. Do you know if you live in a floodplain? To find out, please visit msc.fema.gov/portal/search and enter your address. If you live in or near a flood plain, I strongly recommend insurance. Please contact your insurance agent for more information.
Montrose County is home to a complicated irrigation system and several natural flowing streams and creeks. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers manages the natural waterways, and the county is not allowed to legally alter, modify, or engage in mitigation work on these waterways. The county can liaise with the Corps to work on mitigation efforts on a project-by-project basis. The majority of flooding, however, occurs on private property. I encourage you to take steps to protect your property and house if you live on or near an area with flooding potential. Know where to find sandbags and resources if needed and plan.
Be prepared — with knowledge and a plan — to decrease the impacts of a disaster. To begin a plan, first think of the five P’s: people, pets, prescriptions, photos, and personal computer. These five things should be considered when developing a plan. Visit ready.gov for plan examples and other preparedness tips. Having a 72-hour kit and resources readily available in the time of any emergency eases panic and improves your response to the situation.
Montrose County is here to help. Emergency Manager Greg Fisher works under the Sheriff’s Office and leads the county’s emergency planning efforts. Fisher also manages response to disasters. Don’t worry, the county will be involved when the situation is life-threatening or requires evacuations; the county may be involved when infrastructure is threatened or when the negative impacts to the community are overwhelming. Finally, do not forget to sign-up for the county’s emergency notification system CodeRED at montrosecountysheriffsoffice.com.
You can reach me by email at email@example.com or by phone at 970-249-7755 to continue talking about flooding and waterways.
Appears in the Montrose Press on Sunday, May 12, 2019