Dayton Bag & Burlap Blog

How To Use Sandbags Part 2 - How To Fill a Sandbag

Apr. 30th, 2012

The following is from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. They have a complete and thorough guide called, Flood Fighting: How To Use Sandbags. They have granted permission for us to post this and we thought it was a VERY informative guide on how to use sandbags (typically burlap bags). So thanks to them for this great information so here's part two: 

How to fill a sandbag

Filling sandbags is a two-person operation.  Both people should be wearing gloves to protect their hands.  One member of the team should place the empty bag between or slightly in front of widespread feet with arms extended.  The throat of the bag is folded to form a collar, and held with the hands in a position that will enable the other team member to empty a rounded shovel full of material into the open end.  The person holding the sack should be standing with knees slightly flexed, and head and face as far away from the shovel as possible.

The shoveler should carefully release the rounded shovel full of soil into the throat of the bag.  Haste in this operation can result in undue spillage and added work.  The use of safety goggles and gloves is desirable, and sometimes necessary.

Bags should be filled between one-third (1/3) to one-half (1/2) of their capacity.  This keeps the bag from getting too heavy, and permits the bags to be stacked with a good seal.

For large scale operations, filling sandbags can be expedited by using bag-holding racks, metal funnels, and power loading equipment. However, the special equipment required is not always available during an emergency.