Hurricane and Flood-Related Emergency Sandbags

Emergency Sandbags

There are many uses for burlap sandbags like raised garden beds, retaining walls, steps, footpaths in water-logged areas, low-cost green building materials for homes, and added weight in pickup trucks during icy weather.

One very important use is preventing and containing emergency flood waters from natural disasters locally, nationally, and worldwide. With hurricane season approaching, being prepared can make all the difference in the prevention of catastrophic damages and subsequent relief efforts.emergency-sandbags

Emergency flood control situations can require building dikes and dams as well as reinforcing existing ones. Sandbags also help residential home flooding issues, water run-off and erosion control from flooding, and prevent beach erosion during seasonal storms.  There are plenty of other emergency issues that may or may not include flood waters like the construction of firewalls, crowd control barricades, and weighted traction for vehicles in bad weather. Sandbags are used for stabilizing temporary highway signs often needed in emergencies too.

Prefilled bags are approximately 35 to 50 pounds of class ‘A’ sand and sealed with stainless steel clips or ties. Sandbags can also be purchased empty and filled later. There are many styles and colors to choose from depending on the need. Natural and treated burlap, white polypropylene, acrylic, and cotton duck are common and the sizes can be customized and contain self-closing valves. Many sandbags can be recycled or reused.

Sandbags usually measure about 14 inches wide and 24 to 26 inches long. Other sizes of bags are available but they are easier to handle if their filled weight is limited to 35 to 40 pounds. Being prepared for an emergency means putting a high priority on pre-planning. Filling sandbags requires two people, one to hold the bag and one to fill the sand. Filling half-way and tying the bags near the top allows sand to move easily inside the bag. If they are overfilled or tied too low they can leave gaps in the structure where water can seep through. Sandbags do not need to be tied unless being transported.

There are several large-scale military or federal emergency uses such as protective barriers, bunkers, testing facilities, and surge operations that may use bulk sandbags calleemergency-sandbags-2d Flexible Intermediate Bulk Containers (FIBC). They are much larger with filled weights of between 500 and 4000 pounds and are designed for one-time use.

Burlap sandbags can be the best choice for environmentally friendly, biodegradable water control that is harmless to wildlife.  Some people prefer plastic sandbags because they are lighter and less expensive. Both will last up to 8 months to a year with no specific guarantees, especially if they are exposed to the sun. Burlap is a bio-degradable material that will eventually decompose even if treated for UV rays, rot and mildew which extends its use a little longer. Polypropylene is a plastic that will eventually shred making it degradable but not biodegradable. If you are in a flood-prone area, be prepared by having the proper sandbags and recruiting needed help for weather-related emergencies.


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This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 17th, 2016 at 12:25 pm and is filed under Emergency.

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