Correct sandbag usage important to protect Tampa Bay area homes

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Sandbags are a good way to prevent Hurricane Irma’s floodwaters from getting in your home, but you have to use them correctly. 

Thousands of people waited in long lines for their turn to fill sandbags.

Then, they worked in the hot sun, filling their 20 bag allotment.

“I boarded up my house, now just getting sandbags. Already went and got a generator. All the water that I need,” said Nathaniel Varnadore.

In Town N’ Country, Eagle 8 spotted long lines, too. Cars snaked along city streets, drivers eager to start shoveling.

Installing sandbags correctly is important.

8 On Your Side asked a crew from Pinellas County Public Works to show us how it’s done.

You start with plastic lining, like a shower curtain.

“The proper way of doing it is kind of laying it out in front of the doorway that we would be protecting,” said Jim Bernard.

Next, build your sandbag wall.

“Take the bag, get it up nice and tight against the wall. Shake it out a little bit, ya know? And a lot of people over fill these bags,” said Bernard.

Half full is best.

This part is important: “Put the new bag over the tail from the old bag,” said Bernard.

Now, on to the second row.

“Placing the bag over the cracks from the last bag,” Bernard instructed.

Finally, fold the plastic over the entire wall. 

“This is ideal for protecting against shallow flooding, where you think it may be six inches of water or so. Maybe even more,” said Bernard.

Keith Knudsen is bringing sand bags to his elderly customers.

“Normally, I would be cutting lawns tomorrow and Friday, but hurricane preparedness,” he said.

When you’re finished building, you’ll have two layers of plastic between you and flood waters.


Click here for more information on sandbags from Pinellas County Emergency Management

Follow Peter Bernard on Facebook


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