Intervention – Measures taken immediately before and during a flood event: Sandbags and other types ofmobile intervention
Sandbags are widely used during flood intervention. The logistics in Germany are in place to provide sand and sandbags, and quickly get them where they are needed. Germany’s intervention capability is very sound and well-organized, thanks to the country’s Federal Agency for Technical Relief or ‘THW,’ and the Bundeswehr. Sandbags do have limitations, though; these include limits on what they can achieve, possible restricted availability and the speed at which they can be deployed. These days, many countries have opted for other, more modern alternatives to sandbags, such as long and robust plastic tubes, that have many advantages: durability, ease and speed of deployment, reliability and the relative ease at which they can be de-installed after use. Concerns about waste and recycling should also be considered. Customers and authorities alike have voiced concerns that sandbags are often left behind after floods and need to be disposed of by property or site owners. When the bags are contaminated by oil or other material, used bags create huge volumes of hazardous waste. At least some of those who have dealt with the problem in Germany believe that even if the solution is costly, there should be ways to clean and recycle these bags.