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How to properly fill, use sandbags in case of Utah flooding

Posted at 1:11 PM, Apr 04, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY — As Utah residents prepare for possible flooding after the winter season that brought epic snowfall to the state, many are flocking to city- and community-operated locations offering sandbags for protection.

While sandbags are a great way to protect homes and property from rising floodwaters, they must be used properly to be effective. In case of an emergency, there is an actual "method to the madness" of placing sandbags properly and in the correct location.

The Utah Department of Public Safety shared tips on the proper sand bag use that residents should follow to make sure property is secured.

  • To "make" a durable sandbag, they should be filled 1/2 to 2/3 full
  • Not necessary to tie a sandbag, tuck the top of the bag under its own weight
  • Use a liner (preferably plastic) on the ground before building a wall
  • Stack bags in staggered formation
    • This means that each layer of sandbags is offset from the layer below, decreasing by one sandbag
  • Pull the plastic wrap up over to cover the wall

To gauge how many sandbags will be needed to create the desired wall height, use the chart below:

31 Foot
62 Feet
93 Feet
124 Feet

Sandbags can be reused if they only came in contact with precipitation and not floodwaters. However, should sandbags come in contact with floodwaters, they can be reused in areas that would not involve human touch.

Once sandbags have been used, they should not be allowed to sit out in the sun for an extended period of time. They should not be dumped in creeks, rivers, canals, ditches, roadway gutters, or storm drain inlets.