Bag Filler

Written by Bonnie McElfresh
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Once you get a flood warning for your area, it's time to act quickly to limit damage should flooding occur. The best possible equipment for holding back floodwater is a wall of sandbags. With a little forethought you could be ready with as many as you need, provided you don't leave it till the last minute.

Although proper sandbags filled with sand are the ideal, in a pinch you can use black trash bags filled with soil. So always keep plenty of trash bags at hand, along with a shovel, even if you make no other preparations. If things are really bad, you can use shopping bags, pillow cases or anything else similar (even women's pantyhose have been used successfully); you'll have to get creative.

Filling Sandbags Fast

A simple machine can be purchased to make the process of filling sandbags fast and easy. There are a number available, but one that makes it possible for one person to fill bags would be ideal. It can take two, or even three people to successfully fill sandbags without the right equipment. You may even consider buying more than one of these.

The use of sandbags is not new. People have been using them for centuries for protection in times of war and against the elements. Now, you can get the traditional burlap sacks as well as the modern polypropylene equivalent. Either will do. You may think that burlap wouldn't be that effective, but once they and the sand are quite wet, they become a highly efficient barrier to water.

How to Build Your Sandbag Wall

You can fill the bags only two-thirds full for wall-building purposes, and these can be left untied. If you want the bag for a special purpose such as filling holes or holding something in place, fill them slightly fuller and tie them. Sand becomes heavier when wet. It is far superior to earth or clay, which may leak through the burlap sack when wet. If you have time, always get yourself a good supply of sand if flooding is imminent. Try and fill your bags as close as possible to the site where they'll be used to save on effort and time. You can also get specially prepared flood boards to make the process of boarding up openings to your home as fast as possible. Don't forget to keep an emergency kit of a flashlight, batteries, rubber boots and a first aid kit ready in case you have to add to or repair your flood wall during the night.

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