Sand in hessian sacks has long been the most popular way to prevent flood water entering a building or area of land. These sand bags are inexpensive and fairly readily available.
But there are downsides. They're bulky and therefore difficult to store for that ‘rainy day’. And once wet, they're very heavy and take ages to dry out (during which time the hessian rots, leaving a wet heap of sand). There's also the problem of getting your hands on them when you need them most - at times of serious flooding, local builder’s merchants are inundated with requests. And what if the builder’s merchant is inaccessible due to flooding!?!
So what's the alternative?
There's now a wide range of alternative sandbags available on the market. They range in size from small strips that you place around your vulnerable doorframe (which swell to create a seal), to several metre long boons that can divert flowing water during flash floods.
These alternative sandbags all utilise the same principle of having a gel-like substance inside that swells up when wet and gives the bag volume. As they swell they mould to the available space, creating a much more effective seal than traditional sandbags. Made using modern but biodegradable fabric, they can be stored easily and deployed quickly so are ideal for any flash flooding situation. They can also be dried out and reused as long as they're not contaminated with sewage. They do cost a little more than the traditional sandbags they replace, but provide much better protection and value.
The Hydrosnake by Gravitas International
If you'd like to take a look at some of the options for your home or business, here's some examples to get you started:
A word of caution - if you're deploying alternative sandbags (not the strips) in a moving water situation, they're quite light in weight to begin with and so, if just left, will float away. It's a good idea to wet them before using them, to weigh them down.
If your home or business is at risk of flooding, getting hold of some alternative sandbags would be a sound investment. Don’t forget to tell everyone that uses the building where they're stored and how to deploy them. You might not be there to tell them!
- Know your risk
- Be prepared
- Have a plan