John Koch volunteers as Central Montana Red Cross representative

Charlie Denison

Local American Red Cross Representative John Koch (Fergus and Petroleum counties) stands by the disaster response unit trailer on Airport Road Wednesday morning. Koch said he is excited to have this role in the community and looks forward to helping where he can.

Photo by Charlie Denison

The snow is melting, and we’ve had plenty of it this year, which means there is a concern of flooding in our region.

But have no fear.

According to Colleen Tone, Montana-Idaho American Red Cross regional disaster officer, the Red Cross is “always ready to help when people are displaced as a result of flooding.”

“There is a lot people can do to prepare themselves and their families, for possible flooding and to mitigate any damage to their properties.”

New local Red Cross Representative John Koch, a former Washington state Highway Patrol officer, is here to help and give advice to any seeking preparedness plans.

“You just never know,” Koch said. “It’s a good idea to play the ‘what if’ game. Ask yourself ‘What is it that could happen here?’ There are things to think about and ways you can get prepared. The American Red Cross is here to do whatever can be done.”

Koch said it is the mission of the American Red Cross to “prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors” and he proudly stands behind such an undertaking.

“I have a lot of experience with disaster relief and disaster action teams, and this position has to do with a lot of that kind of coordination and interaction. It’s an honor for me to serve and be part of this organization for both Fergus and Petroleum County.”

Koch said he is happy to help members of Lewistown and the surrounding areas whenever they are in need of disaster-related assistance. He also recommends ways people can take matters into their own hands.

“Download the free Red Cross Emergency app, create and practice a disaster plan, heed flood warnings, stay away from flood waters, prepare your property and assemble a flood preparedness kit,” Koch said. “The flood preparedness kit includes at least a three-day supply of water, at least a three-day supply of food, a flashlight, a radio, extra batteries, a First Aid kit, personal hygiene items, copies of personal documents, a cell phone with chargers, extra cash, an emergency blanket, baby supplies, pet supplies, extra clothing, rain gear and more.”

While preparing, Koch said to keep the five p’s in mind: prior planning prevents poor performance.”

“Have an idea,” he said. “Don’t panic.”

For additional information, Koch recommends people go to



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