How to Use Sandbags


Strengthen Your Home | Take Emergency Action • Floods | Hurricanes

Sandbags can redirect stormwater and debris away from homes and other structures if they are correctly filled, placed, and maintained.

If you plan to use sandbags to protect your home in a hurricane or flood, follow these instructions:


  • Fill sandbags one-half full.
  • Use sand; otherwise, use local soil.
  • Fold the top of the sandbag down and rest the bag on its folded top.


  • Limit placement to three layers unless you have a building or wall to use as a backing. You can also stack sandbags in a pyramid.
  • Tamp each sandbag into place, completing each layer before starting the next layer.
  • Clear a path between buildings for debris flow.
  • Lay a plastic sheet in between the building and the bags to control the flow and prevent water from seeping through openings like sliding glass doors.


  • Sandbags will not seal out water.
  • Sandbags deteriorate when exposed to continued wetting and drying for several months. They may not be effective when needed if they are left outside for too long.
  • Sandbags are for small water flow protection – up to two feet. Protection from more significant water flow requires a more permanent flood prevention system.
  • Wet sandbags are very heavy. Use caution when lifting to avoid injury.

NOTE: Consult your local environmental protection department before disposing of used sandbags as sandbags exposed to contaminated floodwaters may pose an environmental hazard and require special handling.

Purchase and monitor a NOAA Weather Radio and download mobile weather alerting apps to stay informed of potential severe weather activity.



Protect your home

Upgrade your home for harsh weather with retrofits specific to the age and location of your house.

Please enter a valid address.

Prepare for disasters

See how to make a plan for what to do before, during and after.