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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Can Residents Use Sandbags to Help Prevent Flood Damage?

9/14/2020 (Permalink)

sandbags stacked on top of each other protecting street and homes Sandbags can help minimize the risk of flooding.

Salem Homeowners Are Keen to Protect Their Properties from Flood Damage 

Anyone living in Salem knows that home repairs can be costly and time-consuming. That is why it is better to keep on top of home maintenance and fix problems as soon as you notice them. It is advisable potential issues and mitigate them before they happen.  

One crucial area of preparation is reducing flood damage from Salem storms. By the time weather forecasters predict a storm, it is often too late to take action and protect your home. Get your supplies together ahead of time, so you are ready to act when a storm warning comes.  

Sandbags are one way to protect your home. 

What are sandbags, and how do they work? 

A sandbag is a burlap or polypropylene sack filled with sand or dirt. People use sandbags to: 

  • Create military barricades
  • Temporarily fix a damaged levee or dyke
  • Control and direct traffic
  • Protect homes and businesses from flood damage 

Sandbags can create a temporary barrier and keep floodwater away from your home, but you must have them on hand when the storm hits. If flooding is already underway, you will not have time to fill and stack sandbags. 

How do I make and stack sandbags?  

Making sandbags is easy. For residential use, around 18" wide and 36" deep, or slightly smaller, is a good size. Fill bags between a third and a half-full with a heavy-bodied or sandy soil. Always use burlap or woven polypropylene sacks – no other materials are suitable.  

When you get word that a flood or storm is coming, stack sandbags by following these steps:  

  • Overlap the top of the bag (don't tie) and stack them with the folded part underneath
  • Place the folded piece pointing uphill so they will not open when water runs past them
  • Stamp each bag firmly into place to create stability
  • Create one layer at a time, placing bags, so they overlap like bricks in a wall 

What risks do I need to look for when using sandbags?

SERVPRO knows it is essential to keep floodwater from your Salem property, and improper use of sandbags can cause more problems than it solves. Do not use sandbags to create a fence around your home. Flood water can collect between the bags and your house and cause more damage.  

Use plastic sheeting between sandbags and your house's wall if you can, as this makes the sandbags more effective. 

Know that it takes two people to fill sandbags, and it is a time-consuming process – you cannot do it in a hurry when a storm has already started. Sandbags cannot always completely protect your home, but they can reduce the amount of water that reaches your house.  

Can SERVPRO help me if water gets into my property?  

If water enters your property, SERVPRO of Salem / Peabody / Marblehead is here to assist. We are constantly available 24/7, and we train our technicians in every aspect of flood damage cleanup. We are Faster To Any Size Disaster, which means you should call us to help with minor or significant flood damage.  

What can SERVPRO do about storm damage? 

Our technicians can take care of every factor of flood damage remediation: 

  • We use free-standing and truck-mounted pumps to extract flood water from your house
  • We use dehumidifiers and air movers to dry the structure of your home, and to dry around and between furniture
  • We use wet and dry cleaning, spot cleaning, and ultrasonic cleaning to restore your personal belongings
  • We bring in air scrubbers, fogging machines, and ozone generators, to remove damp odors 

Our technicians use industry-standard monitoring equipment to log drying results and adjust our method if necessary. If elements such as drywall, carpet, or wallpaper are damaged beyond repair, we can restore them. 

Is there anything else I can do to protect my house from floodwater? 

Before a storm comes, you might want to look into fitting storm doors. It is also good to stay on top of repairs such as damaged guttering, missing roof tiles, or damaged window and door frames. Water can get through the tiniest gaps, so it is essential to mend even the smallest of leaks. 

Sandbags are a temporary measure – they degrade with use and cannot be used as a permanent measure. However, they can provide temporary relief and reduce the amount of water that enters your home during a storm. If water leaks into your home, call SERVPRO so we can take care of remediation. 

For help with flood damage, call SERVPRO of Salem / Peabody / Marblehead at (978) 744-4545.

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