Tips for safety near floodwaters, preparing effective sandbags

Tips for safety near floodwaters, preparing effective sandbags

Individuals are advised to stay away from floodwaters

Emergency Management BC

KELOWNA – With the potential for continued flooding in the Interior regions of the province, residents need to be vigilant with their safety.

Individuals are advised to stay away from floodwaters. If you come upon a fast-flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go the other way, as just over 15 centimetres (six inches) of swiftly moving water can sweep you off your feet.

Never underestimate the swiftness of the water. High stream flows are unpredictable. Even though the surface water may be smooth, the water could be moving very fast. If you have to walk in water, wherever possible, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.

Never attempt to drive or walk in flood water. About 61 centimetres (two feet) of rushing water can carry away most vehicles, including SUVs and pickup trucks.

Sandbagging

To minimize flood water damage, sandbagging is one of the most versatile flood-fighting tools and is a simple, effective way to prevent or reduce flood water damage. Homeowners, who are preparing homemade sandbag,s need to be aware of the proper steps to take:

* A minimum of two people should be part of the sandbagging process. It will take about one hour to fill and place 100 sandbags, giving you a 30.5-centimetre-by-six-metre (one-foot-by-20-foot) wall.

* Make sure you have enough sand, burlap or plastic bags, shovels, and time to properly prepare.

* Contact your local government for information on obtaining sandbags.

Fill materials

* Sand is, by far, the easiest material for filling and shaping sandbags, and becomes heavier when saturated with rain or moisture.

* In emergencies, other materials, such as silt, clay and gravel, or a mixture of these, may be used. None of these work as well as sand.

Proper filling proceedure

* Always wear gloves, and avoid touching your eyes and mouth.

* Filling sandbags is normally a two- to three-person task.

* One member, while crouching with feet apart and arms extended, places the bottom of the empty bag on the ground.

* The opening of the bag is folded outward about 2.5 centimetres to 3.8 centimetres (one inch to 1.5 inches) to form a collar, and held open to allow the second team member to fill with material – approximately one-half or two-thirds full, and then fold them over.

* Do not hurry. Haste can result in undue spillage and additional work.

* The third team member stockpiles or stacks the open sacks.

Proper placement

* Remove any debris from the areas where bags are to be placed.

* Place the bags lengthwise and parallel to the direction of flow.

* Fill the low spots first, before placing bags the full length of the area to be raised.

* Start at approximately 30.5 centimetres (one foot) landward from the river or levee’s edge.

* Fold the open end of the bag under the filled portion. The folded end of bag should face upstream.

* Place succeeding bags with the bottom of the bag tightly and partially overlapping the previous bag.

* Offset adjacent rows or layers by one-half bag length to avoid continuous joints.

Learn More:

For information on flood-related evacuation alerts and orders, visit: www.emergencyinfobc.gov.bc.ca or follow on Twitter: www.twitter.com/EmergencyInfoBC

PreparedBC is British Columbia’s one-stop shop for disaster readiness information. For tips on how to prepare an emergency plan and what to include in an emergency kit, visit PreparedBC: www.gov.bc.ca/PreparedBC

Flood prevention tips can be found here: http://ow.ly/E2JV30bttgr

The PreparedBC Flood Information for Homeowners and Home Buyers guide: http://ow.ly/t4lg30bttjr

River Forecast Centre: http://bcrfc.env.gov.bc.ca/

Floodwaters can quickly wash out roads and bridges. Be prepared and plan an alternative route. For the latest road conditions, visit: www.drivebc.ca