How to Sandbag Property


1.Decide what type of sandbags will work best. Two common choices are natural untreated burlap, which commonly holds feed or wheat, and woven plastic burlap designed specifically for being used as sandbags. The plastic bags will last longer than the burlap bags so you can use them in many flood emergencies.
2.Locate the sandbags. Burlap bags can usually be purchased from your local feed store or can be found through online stores. The plastic sandbags can be found on the Internet and are frequently distributed by local municipalities' emergency management divisions. Purchase sandbags far in advance of a projected need. If there is widespread flooding, hundreds or thousands of people will be trying to purchase them at the same time. Be wise and plan ahead.
3.Obtain the sandbag fill. Sandbags can be filled with soil, sand or gravel. Sand can seep through a natural burlap bag so is best to use it in the plastic sandbags. Gravel can allow water to come through airspaces so it is a less useful fill, but in certain cases it may be all that is available. Before the flood emergency, find out what types of fill are close by and plentiful.
4.Fill the sandbags. Only do this when the need arises. Pre-filling and storing sandbags for future use promotes rotting of the bags, especially natural burlap. Filling sandbags is a two-person job. One person will hold the bag open and keep it steady while the second person shovels fill into the bag. Only fill the bags half full. They should be 25 to 35 pounds each maximum to allow for carrying and placement. For permanent sandbag installations, tie off the bags with cord, but for temporary flood emergencies, simply fold the open end of the bag underneath. The weight of the bag will keep the end closed while stacking and makes filling and emptying easier and quicker.
5.Build the sandbag wall. Determine where the flood waters are coming from and where you want them re-routed. Take care to not re-route water flow to someone else's property and create a flood hazard there. Once you have decided where the wall should be, begin laying the sandbags like bricks. Lay the bottom row side by side with no spaces between the bags. Lay the next row on top, offsetting the bags by a half of a bag's width. Continue laying in this alternating pattern until the wall is high enough to prevent flooding. After each course is laid down, push down firmly on each bag to seat it securely against the neighboring sandbags. If the wall is expected to be more than 3 feet high, lay a second wall layer beside the first to keep the structure upright.
6.Empty the sandbags. Once the flood threat has ended, dump the fill from the bags as soon as possible. Air dry the bags outside until no moisture remains. Store the bags in a secure location away from humidity and sunlight until the next flood event.



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