In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, people in the path of Hurricane Irma are preparing for her wrath. While placing sandbags at your front door won’t do much to help people in evacuation zones, it can help minimize the damage flooding can cause in other areas.
In New Orleans in 2009, businesses used them in their preparations for Hurricane Gustav.
The U.S. military used sandbags at Langley Air Force Base to protect it from Hurricane Joaquin in 2015.
During Hurricane Sandy, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority used sandbags to try to protect a Staten Island bus depot from flooding.
Hurricane Irma is no exception. According to the Tampa Bay Times, on Tuesday, the city distributed over 16,500 bags — and some people waited in line for over two hours.
However, on September 4, Edward Obediah Sweat, who according to his Facebook page lives outside of Houston, posted a very useful tip for his “Florida friends” on Facebook:
To my Florida friends and family…Some things I learned about hurricane damage management. Plastic bags 1/3 filled…
If you can’t get a hold of sandbags, Sweat explained he’s learned a trash bag one-third filled with water can make a “good substitute.” As for the garage, he noted that sealing it off with duct tape can be a good way to prevent “water intrusion.” He also added that paint cans and five-gallon buckets can serve as a good way to easily elevate furniture.
Even if you’re evacuating, he suggested that everyone trip the main breaker so the electricity in the house isn’t running. An electric current and water is a lethal combination; Sweat revealed that a volunteer, who went to check on a house, was electrocuted and killed because the power was on.
For those who didn’t evacuate, Sweat urged people to wear clothes to bed because “nothing looks worse than seeing people on the news in water-logged nightgowns and boxer shorts.”
His other tips included wearing hard-soled shoes and carrying identification, a flashlight, and a large white sheet to signal for help if necessary.
Sweat’s tips have been shared more than 165,000 times on Facebook, and he commented on the post that there’s “nothing like getting 50 inches of rain in 4 days to learn about blocking water!” Hopefully, these tips will be able to save at least a few homes.