Sandbags will not stop flooding completely. However, if they are placed in appropriate locations they can help reduce the amount of water that enters your home or business.
Sand, sandbags and plastic can be purchased from hardware stores or landscaping suppliers. We recommend checking with stockists for availability. It is best to be prepared and purchase your own sandbags before flood events as when significant flooding is occurring, sandbags may be in limited supply.
During times of significant sustained and intense rain with widespread flooding, Council may make sand and empty sand bags available for community members to come along and fill their own bags. Council will make public announcements through the media if they are making sand and sand bags available.
During flooding, the State Emergency Service (SES) may be able to provide assistance to residents physically unable to get their own sandbags due to illness, age or other incapacity. If assistance is required, contact the SES on 132 500.
The following tips are also provided on the Queensland Government's Disaster Management website.
Emergency services may not always be able to get to you. This information is to help you better prepare for the possibility of flooding.
Protecting your home and business
Buy the items you need to make your own sandbags from local hardware stores and landscape supply businesses (see list below).
What you will need:
- Empty sandbags
- Plastic sheeting
You will also need string if you are transporting the sandbags.
Note. Phone ahead to check with local stockists if they have supplies in stock.
Empty stockfeed bags may also used.
Store sandbags in a dry place out of the weather. They can rot if they get wet or damp.
DIY sandbagging demonstrations
For an online demonstration of how to make your own sandbags to protect your home or business watch the SES How to Sandbag your home and business video or download the DIY Using Sandbags information flyer.
Filling the sandbag
- Use dry sand - not soil or gravel.
- Fill to two-thirds full so they are not too heavy to carry.
- Leave the top of the sandbag untied.
- If you need to transport sandbags, tie loosely then untie the sandbag again.
Choosing the best location for the sandbags
- In front of doorways, roller doors and brickwork vents.
- Over floor wastes and shower and bath drains to prevent backflow of grey water.
- Make sure you leave at least one doorway for your use. You should build a small sandbag wall away from the actual doorway.
- The number of sandbags you use depends on location and expected flood height. Usually two rows of sandbags are enough.
- Place a layer of plastic sheeting for the sandbags to be stacked on top. This acts as a water proofing covering.
- Lay sandbags like brickwork on top of plastic sheeting.
- Start at one end and work to the other end.
- Make sure the untied end of the sandbag is covered by the next sandbag.
- At the end of the row, tuck the untied end under the last sandbag.
- Stagger rows so that the joins do not line up.
- TIP: Flattening down the sandbag row before adding the next row will help you to build a better structure.
Where do I place the sandbags?
- Place a small sandbag wall across doorways. Generally around two (2) sandbag rows high.
- Have at least one doorway that you can use to access or exit the building by building a wall that allows the door to still be opened.
- Air vents between brickwork may need sandbags. Small vents may be covered with waterproof tape or plastic.
- Cover all drainage holes and floor drains to stop backflow of contaminated water.
- Protect air vents or drains with sandbags or tape. To avoid back flow of grey water block toilets with a small plastic bag of sand, weighed down by a larger sandbag.
What else can I do to protect my home or business?
- Raising valuables off the floor may prevent damage to personal items from floodwater that may still enter.
- Lifting of curtains, rugs and bedding, and removing items from low cupboards may be necessary.
- Turn off solar power, power and gas at the mains.
Disposing of used sandbags
- Sandbags need to be thrown away once they've been exposed to floodwaters.
- Never re-use them.
- Take care when moving used sandbags. You should wear sturdy gloves. They bags will be heavy and may contain contaminants from flood water.
Images supplied by QLD Government SES