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Flood tabletop exercise prepares agencies and departments for flooding

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Posted at 5:11 PM, Feb 06, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-07 12:29:21-05

HELENA — At St. Peter’s Health, agencies and departments from around Lewis and Clark County gathered to participate in a floodplain tabletop exercise.

Annually, emergency crews and various departments gather to run through flood scenarios in the Helena area, East Helena, the Helena Valley, and Augusta. This is the perfect time to practice these scenarios says Worby McNamee, Lewis and Clark County Floodplain Manager.

“It allows us to get into that mind frame of response and recovery. Once we get into the doldrums of the winter, people start forgetting about the impacts in the early part of the spring and even into the early summer,” says McNamee.

This exercise helps remind crews of their duties in these emergency situations as well as establish connections with other departments ahead of a possible flood.

Additionally, recovery agencies and departments discuss short and long-term disaster recovery.

With so many possible variables and consequences due to flooding, it’s these folks’ job to be on the lookout for potential problems. For example, Jennifer McBroom, Supervisor for the Water Quality Protection District for Lewis and Clark County, works to keep landowners safe from well water contamination.

“If you at all think that your well has been flooded, do not drink your water until you have it tested. Have an alternate source,” says McBroom.

Kyle Sturgill-Simon, Emergency Manager for Lewis and Clark County, encourages county residents to sign up for the emergency notification system Smart911 which gives participants emergency alerts.

“While we’re training here to better respond to disasters, what can really help us is when citizens are signed up for this system so that we can notify them of what we need and what we’re going to be doing during a disaster and there be in the better know for it,” says Sturgill-Simon.