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How to Use Sandbags to Prevent Flooding

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Written by Bill Hanks   

Each year millions of dollars in damage is done by floods. Flooding can occur along coastlines, streams, and even ditches. For sandbags to be effective,they must be filled and placed correctly to divert water away from the area you are going to protect. This article will explain how to fill and place sandbags correctly around your property.

First, it is important to have the right bag to use. Although plastic might be preferred by some, it can be used, but not advised. They will stretch, rupture, and tear. They are also harder to handle, because they are slippery. Burlap bags from feed stores will work just find. The problem is that they can be expensive. Woven plastic bags, that are synthesized, are your best bet. They are made for flooding. The good thing about these, is that they are reusable. When empty, fold them and store them for future use. Sometimes you can get these from your local highway department, city maintenance shed, or hardware store. Note; Don't wait to get these. Get these before they have a run on them in a time of crisis.

Second; Have your sand placed close to your area of sandbagging. Make it as easy on yourself as you can. Time is of importance. It takes two individuals to fill a 35 pound sandbag. One to hold the bag and one to fill. You should not fill and stockpile them. They will degrade too easily. Sand soil and small gravel is okay to use. However, it is sand that works best. Fine sand might filter through burlap bags.

One person kneels and holds the bag, while another fills it. If you are fighting the clock, do not tie it off. Just fold the end under as you place the bag. Also, only fill the bag about half full. If you decide to tie it off, the person doing the filling, should do it.

Three; Setting the sand bag. the bags need to be placed in a flat area. No debris under the bags. Determine where the water will come from. Your goal is to divert it to a different direction. Do not divert it to a neighbors property. Laying bags is like laying bricks. The first row has the bags next to each other. The second row should be half on each bag below it. this process then continues until done.

Four; Cleanup. Remember the bags you didn't tie? You will be glad you did. Just dump the sand in one spot. Place the bags in the sun to dry. Then store them in a cool place. That's it.

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