Sandbagging: Build a Sandbag Flood Levy

A sandbag can help protect property during a natural disaster. Building a sandbag flood levy is something you should learn if you live in a flood prone area.

Supplies You will Need

To construct sandbags, you will need soil and other fillers to place in the bags. A dense soil mixture is best, but if sand is the only material available, you should line the bags with plastic or purchase bags with lining. Some areas will offer sandbags to area resident. Check with the local Red Cross to see how they can help you prepare.

Step 1 - Making the Sandbags

It takes two people to make sandbags quickly. Both people should wear gloves to protect their hands as well as well as wear safety glasses to protect their eyes. One person should hold the sandbag while the other scoops the soil into the bag. Once the bag becomes too heavy to hold, then the bag is placed on the ground and a new bag is begun. You don’t need to tie off the end of the bags. Each bag should have approximately 25 to 35 pounds of material in it for the best results. If you have too heavy of sandbags, they are harder to lift and to put into place. The bigger the body of water which is to be stopped, the more sandbags you will need.

Step 2 – Arrange the Sandbags

Once you have created enough sandbags to surround the area which needs to be protected, you need to put them in place. At the base of the water source, begin to line up the sandbags in a row of two to three bags. You can have a thicker row of bags as well, depending on the amount of water estimated to become problematic. This base layer should be staggered, as though the bags were bricks in a wall. After the area is lined, stack the bags on top of this initial layer, tucking the open tops of the bags under the bags themselves. Continue to add more sandbags until you reach your desired height. If you can, create a slightly bowed shape to the sandbag wall since this can take more force than a straight wall. Curve the wall from one side of the water to the other.

Step 3 – Monitor the Levy

When the flooding begins, monitor the sandbagged area from a safe distance. If you notice that sandbags are floating away, you might need to add more to the layers. If you notice that the wall of bags is being moved, you might want to add an additional wall of support behind the wall you’ve created. However, if you monitor the sandbag levy, do not put yourself in danger. Ideally, the levy should be able to withstand the flood waters without your interference.

A sandbag levy can help to slow the spread of flood waters or even stop them completely. This helps to protect buildings from damage, while also giving people the chance to get to safety.