Sandbags can reduce the impact of flooding if they’re placed in appropriate locations around your home or business.

Where to get sandbags

Sandbags can be purchased at major hardware stores, landscape supplies and other retailers.

A limited supply of free sandbags and sand may be available for collection from designated SES and Council depots during a storm or flood. Contact SES on 132 500 to confirm which depots are active and whether sandbags are available.

You may be required to fill your own sandbags at the SES depot. If you are unable to do so, call the SES on 132 500 to make alternative arrangements.

Using sandbags correctly

Sandbags placed in appropriate locations around your home or business can reduce the impact of flooding. Sandbag walls are not waterproof and will not stop the water completely, but using plastic sheeting may reduce the amount of water entering.

Filling sandbags

Residents may need to fill their own sandbags. If you are not able to fill sandbags yourself, please contact the the SES on 132 500 to make alternative arrangements.

  • Use sand, or another appropriate filling that has weight, like dirt, to fill – they only need to be filled to 2/3 full.
  • Do not over fill the bags as they will be too heavy to carry.
  • There is no need to tie the top of the bag.
A man and a woman filling a sandbag

Laying sandbags

Sandbags should be placed over floor drains and drainage holes, like showers, in laundries or bathrooms. This can help prevent backflow of contaminated water. Sandbags should also be used in front of doorways, roller doors and brickwork vents.

  • If possible build the base of your sandbag wall against a structure to prevent the sandbags from moving due to pressure from the floodwater.
  • Place down a layer of plastic sheeting to act as the water proofing skin.
  • Flatten and lay sandbags like brickwork with the long edge facing the flow of water on top of the plastic sheeting.
  • Ensure the unfilled open part of the bag is covered by the next bag and tuck the flap under the bag at the end of the row.
  • Stagger rows so that the joins do not line up and weave plastic sheeting or tarp under the sandbags.

Two people who have laid black plastic along the door opening of a shed and are putting sandbags on the plastic to avoid water entering the shed.

Disposing of sandbags

  • Care should be taken when handling wet sandbags, sturdy gloves should be worn as floodwater can contain chemicals, harmful waste and contaminates.
  • Used sandbags that have not come into contact with oil or other contaminants can be opened and the sand scattered on lawns and gardens as topsoil, where it will not wash into storm water drains.
  • The empty bags should be placed in the general waste bin.
  • Sandbags that have come into contact with floodwaters need to be thrown away and can be disposed of at Council waste facilities.
  • Don’t return used sandbags to the depot or place full sandbags that have been used in the general waste bin.

Storing sandbags

It is not advisable to store pre-filled sandbags as they can rot.

Empty sandbags can be stored in a dry place out of the sun.

What else can I do to protect my home or business?

  • Secure objects that could float away.
  • Be prepared to stack furniture and possessions up high out of the way of floodwaters.
  • Turn off power and gas.

For other ways to protect your home and family during a flood, see Disaster and emergency.

For more information about using sandbags, visit the Queensland Government's Disaster management website.