The City of Tampa's policy has been to provide sand and sandbags to our citizens to protect their property from flooding. This service was provided by our fire stations. Effective July 12, 1999, City of Tampa fire stations will no longer provide this service. During flood emergencies, Fire Rescue personnel will be mitigating life threatening medical emergencies, fire emergencies, evacuations, and assisting with Emergency Management Operations. Additionally, the City has researched more effective methods to prevent home flooding.
The City tested sandbag alternatives that provide better protection. The tests simulated the attempt to seal the gap between a residential door and its door jamb when exposed to two feet of flooding. The tests compared sandbag performance to the following: visqueen backing, duct tape, various caulking and sealing products, and an expanding urethane foam product used for sealing cracks in walls.
The test results conclude that sandbags provide the least protection from water intrusion while the expanding urethane foam product provided the best opportunity to minimize water intrusion when surrounding areas experience limited, short term flooding. We recommend the use of this product as your first choice for flood protection. This product is available at most hardware stores.
Sandbags are only available after an emergency declaration has been made. If you need sandbags for additional structural support, every property owner in the City of Tampa is entitled to receive ten sandbags per storm event. Depending on the expected severity of the storm one or more locations may be activated as a distribution site. The city has generally used the locations below for distribution. We encourage you to confirm the activated distribution sites for each storm event.