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Dike construction requires proper planning

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Building a functioning dike takes more than just throwing one sandbag on top of the other— it takes careful planning.


David Clarke, emergency preparedness co-ordinator at Red River College knows the right way to construct a dike that will remain stable and waterproof. He taught a workshop on dike building to area residents in Elie on April 20.


The workshop was organized through C.a.S.H. , the emergency measures organization for the RMs of Cartier, Headingley and St. Francois Xavier.


Clarke showed the participants the proper way to fill sandbags— just half full — then lay them in a pattern with polyethylene sheets woven between the bags to form a waterproof barrier. The base of the dike should be two feet wider than the top and there should be between 2-2 1/2 feet of dike above the highest estimated water level.


The dike shouldn’t be any closer than eight feet from a house or other building, and should be built on land free of snow and ice.


"Building a dike is hard work," he said, adding he was exhausted after a few hours the first time he tried it.


He recommends that people start with stretching exercises and end with a cool-down to help prevent injuries.


"You’ve just been doing strenuous work," he said, adding that taking frequent breaks helps.
Dike building leaders should give their volunteers instructions before work begins so everyone knows how to safely fill and pass sandbags thereby reducing the risk of injury.


The same rules apply when dismantling dikes.


For information on dike construction, see www.gov.mb.ca/emo/home/sandbag.pdf


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