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Water-filled flood bags for emergency flood control

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Title: Water-filled flood bags for emergency flood control.
Abstract: An emergency flood control apparatus is described that includes a row of a plurality of vertically separated cells horizontally arranged formed between at least two continuous sheets of impermeable flexible material, a continuous horizontal tube formed between the sheets and disposed at an end of the cells, and a plurality of necks disposed perpendicularly between the tube and the cells, the necks connecting each of the cells to the horizontal tube in a manner such that the cells may be filled with fluid from the tube at substantially the same time. ...


- Sacramento, CA, US
Inventor: Tim Richard Tyler
USPTO Applicaton #: #20070243021 - Class: 405115 (USPTO) - 10/18/07 - Class 405 


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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20070243021, Water-filled flood bags for emergency flood control.

Flood   

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001]The present Utility patent application claims priority benefit of the [U.S. provisional application for patent Ser. No. 60/791,761 filed on Apr. 12, 2006 under 35 U.S.C. 119(e). The contents of this related provisional application are incorporated herein by reference for all purposes.

FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

[0002]Not applicable.

REFERENCE TO SEQUENCE LISTING, A TABLE, OR A COMPUTER LISTING APPENDIX

[0003]Not applicable.

COPYRIGHT NOTICE

[0004]A portion of the disclosure of this patent document contains material that is subject to copyright protection. The copyright owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent document or patent disclosure as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office, patent file or records, but otherwise reserves all copyright rights whatsoever.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0005]The present invention relates to various devices and structures using water or air filled tubes, bladders, or other containers or barriers for purposes of rapid response flood control, to control and direct surface water flows, to form temporary levees, to dam levee breaks, and to form temporary enclosures for containment of liquids. More particularly, the present invention relates to continuous-roll, water-filled plastic "flood bags" as an inexpensive substitute for sand-bags

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0006]Sand-filled bags using cloth and other fabrics have been used for centuries for emergency flood control and to temporarily control and direct surface water flows or to contain liquids to a confined area. Typically sandbags are used with an impermeable plastic sheet to stop surface water from flowing into the area to be kept dry or from the area to be kept wet. However, the filling and transporting of sand-filled bags to a flooded area is time-consuming, labor intensive and often impractical for rapid response in emergency situations.

[0007]Often there simply is not enough time to fill sandbags in an emergency. Sandbags must be filled and moved one at a time. Also, the soil in flooded areas may be too soft and muddy for filling sandbags and sand may have to be trucked to the site from other locations. In some cases the soil in the flooding area is too soft to support heavy equipment and it simply becomes impossible to get suitable sand to the necessary location.

[0008]Further, after sandbags have been used they are soggy, muddy and saturated with floodwater that has often been contaminated with sewage and toxic waste. Consequently, the removal of sandbags after a flood can be a daunting waste removal task.

[0009]The need for relatively inexpensive, temporary, rapidly deployable damming devices inflated with water that can be used as a substitute for sandbags in emergencies has long been recognized by numerous inventors.

[0010]One early proposal was a combination water/sand bag that contained a moderate amount of sand for ballast but depended primarily on a waterproof bladder that can be filled with floodwater through a valve to increase the weight of the bags. The bags are then stacked manually to form a flood barrier. While this approach reduces the need for sand at the flood site, bags of this type pose considerable expense and are still time-consuming and labor intensive to deploy because each bag must be individually filled and stacked.

[0011]Another idea that has been proposed is the use of blocks of lightweight water absorbent material that soaks up floodwater to form a flood barrier. Such devices are light and simple to put quickly into place, and they automatically absorb floodwater to form a heavy barrier. However, after these devices become soaked, they cannot later be moved or removed feasibly for days or even weeks. In addition, since these devices necessarily become soaked with floodwaters that may be contaminated with sewage and toxic waste, this results in a large quantity of contaminated material that may pose a serious waste disposal problem.

[0012]Some other inventions have proposed temporary fabric dams stretched perpendicular to flowing water so that the dams are automatically inflated as they hang below floats. One such solution proposes a horizontal tube inflated with air that suspends a horizontal tube that inflates with water. Another solution proposes a horizontal floating tube that suspends a V-shaped membrane that likewise automatically inflates with water. Since these fabric dams must be stretched perpendicularly across flowing water to work, they appear to only be applicable to large-scale straight-line situations and cannot be used to surround structures or form curved flood control structures around obstacles.

[0013]A number of other inventions have been based on horizontal water-filled tubes, bladders or pontoons depending on water pressure for rigidity and without external supports. For example, one invention suggests a single continuous plastic tube with a circular cross-section that can be filled with water to encircle and contain hazardous waste spills.

[0014]Other solutions are based on the use of fixed length linear "pontoons" filled with water with various cross-sections for flood control. One such solution suggests the use of two parallel water-filled pontoons of equal length and circular cross-section, sealed at each end and connected longitudinally by a membrane running between them. It is proposed that such pairs of pontoons can be stacked one upon the other in varying configurations to form a dam or water barrier.

[0015]Another solution suggests a linear, water-filled "inflatable dam" with a single tube with a triangular cross-section. Yet another solution suggests a similar inflatable linear dam using three horizontal water-filled pontoons with round cross-sections, forming a triangular shape when one is stacked on and attached to the two others. A similar idea uses several large pontoons filled with water and strapped together in a pyramid formation.

[0016]A similar inflatable linear dam comprises a horizontal pontoon filled with water and fitted with an internal longitudinal baffle or membrane to produce an oval or figure-8 cross-section that avoids rolling in crosscurrents. A very similar design with the addition of a longitudinal "skirt" is known in the art. Pontoon dams with somewhat different cross-section designs with various longitudinal baffles or membranes are also known.

[0017]Recently a configuration of two or more linear, horizontal water-filled pontoons or tubes, generally contained within an outer sleeve has been suggested. The tubes can be sewn in various sizes, diameters and shapes with longitudinal seams and baffles to form dams, fish ladders, and breakwaters.

[0018]All of these approaches using stacked water-filled tubes, bladders and pontoons have the advantage that they can be put in place quickly and easily, attached to a water hose at a single location and pumped full of water, abundant at the flood site, to form a horizontal flood barrier many feet in length with very little labor. One such tube can effectively replace a large number of sandbags that would take much longer and much more labor to put in place. But these approaches depend on water pressure to inflate them to pre-determined lengths and circumferences, and this necessarily produces stiff linear, horizontal cells of predetermined length that are not well-adapted to small scale applications, to curve around obstacles, or to turn sharp corners. Consequently these approaches are more suited for large-scale, relatively straight-line applications such as, but not limited to, damming levee breaks.

[0019]Further, known methods utilizing horizontal water-filled `tubes` or cells are configured such that any puncture or rupture of the external membrane of the tube at any location necessarily causes the entire linear segment to lose pressure and fail. In many cases this causes failure of the entire flood control structure.

[0020]Other inventions combine a horizontal linear tube or plastic liner filled with water within an external supporting structure of wood or metal. One such invention confines a water-filled tube with a triangular cross-section within an A-shaped framework of wood or metal vertical side supports placed approximately two feet apart. An almost identical approach has an A-shaped framework with horizontal side supports.

[0021]These external support designs also appear to be more suitable for large-scale applications such as, but not limited to, lining levees. These designs require more labor to put in place than the "inflated tube" designs, but they have the same advantage that once put in place they can be filled with water quickly and easily from one or more locations, effectively eliminating the need for hundreds of sandbags. But these designs necessarily require a substantial investment in framing materials and associated storage expense. And, as with the "inflated tube" designs, these designs depend on a plastic membrane creating a single horizontal cell of water so that any rupture or puncture of the external membrane or any failure of an external support at any place along the length of the dam will necessarily cause failure of the entire flood control structure.

[0022]Other water-filled dam structures using multiple rigid or semi-rigid containers filled with water are known in the art. An early proposal suggests using rigid or semi-rigid collapsible plastic containers that form water-filled cubes that can be stacked and connected together to form dams and other structures. This same approach using stacked containers filled with water and connected to each other to form a dam is known in different versions. One such approach uses large rigid sided boxes, and another approach uses collapsible boxes bolted together. Similarly, another approach proposes using connected rectangular water-filled boxes with external supports to form temporary water barriers and containment structures.

[0023]These proposals using rigid or semi-rigid containers filled with water are much more labor intensive since each container must be stacked, connected and filled separately. And as with the designs using an external A-shaped framework, all of these proposals using rigid or semi-rigid containers necessarily require a substantial investment in framing materials and associated storage expense.

[0024]A common feature of all "water-filled dams" and other flood-control structures described above is that once put in place and filled with water these structures are so heavy that they cannot be moved or repositioned even a few inches. Further, these structures are all large-scale proposals involving expense and engineering far beyond the capabilities of the average individual, for example, without limitation, homeowner, shopkeeper or farmer. Consequently the average individual faced with a relatively small-scale need, such as, but not limited to, quickly sealing off a single doorway or stairwell from surface water intrusion or protecting a hay barn from a few inches of rising floodwater, is usually forced to rely on sandbags or other ad hoc measures despite the inherent limitations these methods pose.

[0025]Currently known methods for the use of water-filled structures for flood control require positive water pressure or external framework to maintain vertical height. Further, known methods generally cannot easily be used on a small scale, cannot be used to easily negotiate turns, and often pose the danger that a puncture in any cell at any place causes a loss of the entire cell and possibly loss of structural integrity of the entire flood-control structure.

[0026]In view of the foregoing, there is a need for an improved method of emergency flood control that has minimal expense, is easy to store, is easy to use, can be deployed rapidly, and can be stacked to form floodwalls. Additionally, there is a need for emergency flood control that has flexibility to form structures of any shape, to turn corners, seal off entrances, encircle structures, and curve around ground obstacles. It is also desired of a water-filled, flood control structure that a puncture of any one flood bag does not affect the integrity of any other bag in the structure. It is also desired of a water-filled, flood control that water can be quickly drained out of the flood bags and that the flood bags can be rinsed off and returned to storage without the need to dispose of large quantities of contaminated material.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0027]The present invention is illustrated by way of example, and not by way of limitation, in the figures of the accompanying drawings and in which like reference numerals refer to similar elements and in which:

[0028]FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of two exemplary hollow chambers or flood bags that are part of a continuous sheet of such bags, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

[0029]FIG. 2a, FIG. 2b, FIG. 2c, and FIG. 2d illustrate side elevation views of a single exemplary flood bag separated from a continuous sheet of flood bags, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 2a shows the flood bag empty. FIG. 2b shows the flood bag being filled with water. FIG. 2c shows a method for clamping the flood bag after the flood bag is full of water. FIG. 2d shows an alternate method for clamping the flood bag;

[0030]FIG. 3 shows a perspective view of how three exemplary flood bags can be filled simultaneously, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

[0031]FIG. 4 shows a perspective view of two exemplary flood bag lines placed on the up-hill side of a structure and a roadway to control and direct surface water flows away from the structure and the roadway, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

[0032]FIG. 5 shows a perspective view of an exemplary flood bag line placed around a stairwell and filled with water from a hose bib to quickly prevent surface water from flooding into a below grade area such as, but not limited to, a basement or subway, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

[0033]FIG. 6 illustrates a perspective view of four exemplary flood bags as part of a continuous series of such bags, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

[0034]FIG. 7 illustrates a perspective view of the flood bags, as illustrated by way of example in FIG. 6, folded back on themselves along the fill-tube to form two continuous rows of parallel, tandem flood bags, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

[0035]FIG. 8a and FIG. 8b show end-view elevations of two exemplary tandem flood bags, formed as illustrated by way of example in FIG. 7, after being filled with water through a fill-tube, in accordance in an embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 8b shows the flood bags tied off at the fill-tube;

[0036]FIG. 9 illustrates a perspective view of four exemplary tandem flood bags with attachment flaps, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

[0037]FIG. 10 is an end-view perspective of horizontally opposed flood bags, as illustrated by way of example in FIG. 9, showing how a single sheet of plastic fabric can be folded and sealed to create the attachment flaps, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

[0038]FIG. 11 is an end-view perspective showing how the flood bags, as illustrated by way of example in FIG. 9, can be folded to form two rows of tandem flood bags with two bags toward the front and two bags to the rear, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

[0039]FIG. 12 is a side perspective showing six exemplary flood bags, three pairs of tandem bags, with attachment flaps, attached to a vertical support, and being filled with water, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

[0040]FIG. 13 is an end-view elevation showing how two exemplary layers of flood bags with attachment flaps can be filled with water, as illustrated by way of example in FIG. 12, and stacked, one atop the other, to form a flood wall, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

[0041]FIG. 14 is a top-view of an exemplary floodwall plan showing how a floodwall can be created from four separate lengths of flood bags to protect structures, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

[0042]FIG. 15 is a top-view of an exemplary floodwall plan showing how a floodwall can also be created from two separate lengths of flood bags to protect structures, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

[0043]FIG. 16 is a top-view of an exemplary flood wall plan showing how a floodwall constructed as shown by way of example in FIG. 13 can be created using support poles on the inside of the floodwall to completely surround a structure, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

[0044]FIG. 17 is a top-view of an exemplary floodwall plan showing how a floodwall constructed as shown by way of example in FIG. 13 can be created using support poles on the outside of the floodwall to temporarily contain a body of water, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention; and

[0045]FIG. 18 is a perspective view of an exemplary floodwall plan showing how two floodwalls can be attached to the side rails of a bridge to prevent floodwaters from coming onto a roadway, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

[0046]Unless otherwise indicated illustrations in the figures are not necessarily drawn to scale.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0047]To achieve the forgoing and other objects and in accordance with the purpose of the invention, water-filled flood bags for emergency flood control is presented.

[0048]In one embodiment of the invention, an emergency flood control apparatus is presented. The apparatus includes a row of a plurality of vertically separated cells horizontally arranged formed between at least two continuous sheets of impermeable flexible material, a continuous horizontal tube formed between the sheets and disposed at an end of the cells, and a plurality of necks disposed perpendicularly between the tube and the cells, the necks connecting each of the cells to the horizontal tube in a manner such that the cells may be filled with fluid from the tube at substantially the same time. In other embodiments the apparatus includes means for clamping ends of the tube, a second row of cells disposed on an opposite side of the tube from the row to form a first layer of tandem cells and the second row of cell being connected to the tube by necks and attachment flaps formed on the tube and on a top and bottom of the sheet for attachment to other structures. Further embodiments include holes in the attachment flaps for providing means for attaching additional layers of cells and holes in the attachment flaps for attachment to a supporting structure. Other embodiments include a second layer of tandem cells stacked on top of the first layer and attached to the supporting structure and a ground cloth beneath the first layer and wrapped up the water-side of the first and second layer to minimize punctures to the cells and seepage between layers. Further embodiment include a plurality of layers of tandem cells stacked atop one another and attached to the supporting structure and the supporting structure is a pole.

[0049]In yet another embodiment of the invention an emergency flood control apparatus is presented having means for forming a plurality of vertical cells horizontally arranged, means for forming a horizontal tube adjacent to the cells, and means for connecting the cells to the tube such that the cells may be filled from fluid in the tube at substantially the same time. Further embodiments include means for clamping ends of the tube, means for attachment to structures, means for forming a plurality of layers of vertical cells, and means for minimizing punctures to the cells and seepage between layers.

[0050]In yet another embodiment of the invention, an emergency flood control apparatus includes two rows of a plurality of vertically separated cells horizontally arranged formed between at least two continuous sheets of impermeable flexible material, the rows forming a tandem layer of cells, a continuous horizontal tube formed between the sheets and disposed between the rows, means for clamping ends of the tube, attachment flaps formed on the tube and on a top and bottom of the sheet for attachment to other structures, and a plurality of necks disposed perpendicularly between the tube and the cells, the necks connecting each of the cells to the horizontal tube in a manner such that the cells may be filled with fluid from the tube at substantially the same time. Further embodiments include holes in the attachment flaps for providing means for attaching additional tandem layers of cells and holes in the attachment flaps for attachment to a supporting structure. Other embodiments include a plurality of tandem layers of cells stacked atop one another and attached to the supporting structure and a ground cloth beneath the first layer and wrapped up the water-side of the layers to minimize punctures to the cells and seepage between layers.

[0051]Other features, advantages, and object of the present invention will become more apparent and be more readily understood from the following detailed description, which should be read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0052]The present invention is best understood by reference to the detailed figures and description set forth herein.

[0053]Embodiments of the invention are discussed below with reference to the Figures. However, those skilled in the art will readily appreciate that the detailed description given herein with respect to these figures is for explanatory purposes as the invention extends beyond these limited embodiments. For example, it should be appreciated that those skilled in the art will, in light of the teachings of the present invention, recognized a multiplicity of alternate and suitable approaches, depending upon the needs of the particular application, to implement the functionality of any given detail described herein, beyond the particular implementation choices in the following embodiments described and shown. That is, there are numerous modifications and variations of the invention that are too numerous to be listed but that all fit within the scope of the invention. Also, singular words should be read as plural and vice versa and masculine as feminine and vice versa, where appropriate, and alternatives embodiments do not necessarily imply that the two are mutually exclusive.

[0054]It is to be understood that any exact measurements/dimensions or particular construction materials indicated herein are solely provided as examples of suitable configurations and are not intended to be limiting in any way. Depending on the needs of the particular application, those skilled in the art will readily recognize, in light of the following teachings, a multiplicity of suitable alternative implementation details.

[0055]The preferred embodiment of the present invention provides connected, water-filled flood bags that can be used as a rapid substitute for sandbags for flood control and similar control and containment of surface liquids. In the preferred embodiment of the invention, multiple individual flood bags may be filled with water sequentially from a single hose connection so the bags can be filled more rapidly and with less effort than sandbags can be filled with sand. In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, the bags can be easily emptied and stored for reuse so they eliminate the need for disposal of large quantities of sand or other materials that are often contaminated with sewage and toxic waste after a flood.

[0056]FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of two exemplary hollow chambers or flood bags 11 and 12 that are part of a continuous sheet of such bags, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. The present embodiment, Embodiment 1, comprises two flood bags 11 and 12 that are shown as part of a continuous series of such bags that can be wound into a roll or coil or folded similar to an accordion. Flood bags 11 and 12 are formed between two layers 13 and 14 of plastic sheeting. The material anticipated for use is polyethylene but other types of impermeable plastic fabric or sheeting may be substituted such as, but not limited to, rubberized cloth or canvas. Plastic layers 13 and 14 may be separate sheets of plastic or a single sheet of plastic folded along an edge 15 to form layers 13 and 14. The fabric used to form flood bags 11 and 12 is thick enough to be somewhat puncture resistant such as, but not limited to, 10-mil polyethylene sheeting. However, when in use bags 11 and 12 may also be placed on and wrapped with other fabric materials such as, but not limited to, plastic sheeting or polypropylene tarps to protect bags 11 and 12 from being punctured. In the present embodiment, layers 13 and 14 are made of the same type and thickness material, but in alternate embodiments, layers 13 and 14 may vary in thickness or be made of different types of materials. The bags, represented by flood bags 11 and 12, being formed from continuous sheets of plastic material, may be coiled into continuous rolls or folded for storage. When needed, these sheets of flood bags can be uncoiled, cut to any length, and filled from any water source. Consequently, flood bags, according to the present embodiment, are cheaper to manufacture, easier to store, and easier to deploy to a flood site than sandbags and the sand necessary to fill the sandbags.

[0057]In FIG. 1 layers 13 and 14 of plastic sheeting are sealed to each other everywhere except along a strip near edge 15 that creates a fill-tube 16 at the top of the bags, at necks 17 and 18, and at the bodies of flood bags 11 and 12. Flood bags 11 and 12, respectively, are connected perpendicularly to fill-tube 16 by necks 17 and 18. Necks 17 and 18 are offset to one side of each flood bag 11 and 12 to facilitate emptying water from the bags after use. In alternate embodiments necks 17 and 18 may be centered on each flood bag instead of offset. Some embodiments may also include emptying valves or holes in the flood bags to make emptying the bags faster. These valves or holes are able to be closed with a watertight seal when the bags are full to prevent leakage. In the present embodiment, fill-tube 16 sequentially connects all of the flood bags in the continuous sheet together and enables the flood bags to be inflated simultaneously with water entering from a single hose connection at one end of fill-tube 16. Alternately, the flood bags may be separated from each other and filled with water separately, as shown by way of example in FIGS. 2a, 2b and 2c. When needed for flood control, flood bags in a continuous sheet are uncoiled and cut to any length desired and stacked to form a wall of any required length or shape. Also, the flood bags may be filled with water completely or only partially as necessary to fit a given space or need.

[0058]In the present embodiment flood bags 11 and 12 are designed with fill-tube 16 running lengthwise along the top so a roll of such bags could be unrolled in lengths for example, without limitation, along the top of a levee or around a house to be protected and filled simultaneously from a single hose connection, creating a flood-control barrier much faster than the use of sandbags. Once filled, water is held in each bag by gravity creating vertical height without dependence on water pressure. Since flood bags 11 and 12 are designed as separate cells, holding water by gravity and not water pressure, a puncture of any cell or bag will not cause the other cells or bags to lose water, unlike flood-control methods using horizontal water-filled tubes or pontoons. As a result, each pocket of water is totally self-contained and a puncture of any one bag would not cause any other bag to lose water or shape. Consequently, a puncture of one flood bag has little or no detrimental effect on any other flood bag in the structure. Also, flood bags 11 and 12 are designed as separate cells so flood bags 11 and 12 can be cut to any needed length and curved around structures and obstacles. Further, since the height of flood bags 11 and 12 is created by gravity pulling water to the bottom of each bag, not water pressure pushing the bag upward, flood bags 11 and 12 require no external skeleton or framework to hold them in place and can be articulated in series to form any horizontal shape including walls that turn corners and "S-curves" to easily avoid ground obstacles.

[0059]In the present embodiment, layers 13 and 14 are sealed or adhered to each other using heat or some other common sealing method such as, but not limited to, welding, gluing or stitching, which may vary depending on the type of plastic fabric or sheeting used to form the bags. In the present embodiment, flood bags 11 and 12 can be separated from the continuous series by cutting along dotted lines 19 to form a single flood bag, as shown by way of example in FIG. 2. In some embodiments, the continuous series could be perforated along dotted lines 19 to facilitate separation.

[0060]FIG. 2a, FIG. 2b, FIG. 2c, and FIG. 2d illustrate side elevation views of a single exemplary flood bag 11 separated from a continuous sheet of flood bags, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 2a shows flood bag 11, from FIG. 1, when empty. FIG. 2b shows flood bag 11 being filled with water. FIG. 2c shows a method for clamping flood bag 11 after flood bag 11 is full of water. FIG. 2d shows an alternate method for clamping flood bag 11.

[0061]FIG. 1 illustrates that fill-tube 16 runs horizontally across the top of the bag and is connected to the body of bag 11 through neck 17 into the body of the bag, 20. Note that in the present embodiment both sides of flood bag 11 are cut on an angle at points 22 to create a tab of fill-tube 16 at a point 21 that can be folded to seal off one end of fill-tube 16 during and after filling of the bag.

[0062]FIG. 2b illustrates how flood bag 11, from FIG. 1 and FIG. 2a, is filled with water. The tab-end of fill-tube 16 is clamped shut at a point 21 with a clamp 25, while a water hose 24 is inserted into the other end of fill-tube 16 at a point 23 to fill flood bag 11 through neck 17 into the body of the bag, 20. The closed end of fill-tube 16 at point 21 may be clamped with any sort clamping means such as, but not limited to, a spring clip, twine tie or plastic zip-tie, etc.

[0063]FIG. 2c illustrates that after flood bag 11 is filled with water as shown by way of example in FIG. 2b flood bag 11 may be sealed for use by making a short cut 26 in the plastic fabric in the side of neck 17 and then clamping each end of fill-tube 16 with clamping means 25, such as, but not limited to, a spring clip, a zip-tie, a twist-tie, twine or other fastener. Clamping both ends of fill-tube 16 creates a single sealed bag of water for use anywhere. In some embodiments, flood bag 11 may be perforated at cut 26 to facilitate this. In alternate embodiments, the ends of fill-tube 16 may include means for sealing so that clamps are not required to seal flood bag 11. For example, without limitation, one embodiment may comprise an interlocking closure that can be pinched or zipped shut to seal the ends of fill-tube 16 similar to a reclosable sandwich bag. Another embodiment may include adhesive tabs spaced along fill-tube 16 between flood bags that can hold the ends of fill-tube 16 in place when folded over. In yet another embodiment, neck 17 may comprise sealing means such as, but not limited to, an interlocking closure to enable flood bag 11 to be easily sealed.

[0064]FIG. 2d shows a side view of flood bag 11 after the body of the bag, 20, has been filled with water as shown by way of example in FIG. 2b illustrating an alternative method of sealing flood bag 11 by rolling fill-tube 16 and neck 17 down and clamping this roll with a single clamp or fastener 25. Clamp or fastener 25 may be any clamping means, such as, but not limited to, a spring clip, a zip-tie, a twist-tie, twine, adhesive tab, or other fastener.

[0065]FIG. 3 shows a perspective view of how three exemplary flood bags 31, 32 and 33 can be filled simultaneously, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. Flood bags 31, 32 and 33, separated from a continuous sheet of flood bags, are filled from a single hose 34 connected at an open end of fill-tube 16 after a closed end 35 of fill-tube 16 has been sealed with clamp 25 or other sealing means. After bags 31, 32 and 33 are filled, the open end of fill-tube 16 is also clamped or otherwise sealed to seal all three bags, flood bags 31, 32 and 33.

[0066]FIG. 4 shows a perspective view of two exemplary flood bag lines 41 and 42 placed on the up-hill side of a structure 43 and a roadway 44 to control and direct surface water flows away from structure 43 and roadway 44, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. When filled with water as illustrated by way of example in FIG. 3, flood bag lines 41 and 42 rapidly protect structure 43 and roadway 44 from water and mudflows 45 caused by occurrences such as, but not limited to, rain or snowmelt. To give additional protection from puncture and prevent water 45 from running under flood bag lines 41 and 42, flood bag lines 41 and 42 may be placed on a ground-cloth 46 made of an impermeable material such as, but not limited to, plastic sheeting, plastic foam or fabric woven from some material such as, but not limited to, polypropylene.

[0067]Sandbags are often used for the purposes illustrated in FIG. 4, but sandbags must be filled with sand first and then carried up the steep hillside. Then when the sandbags are no longer needed, the sandbags must be carried down the hillside full of sand or else the sand must be dumped in place, which creates more debris that may eventually flow downhill onto structure 43 or roadway 44 with future rains or snowmelts. Consequently, using sandbags for this purpose is both labor intensive and somewhat self-defeating. The use of flood bags lines 41 and 42 enables a user to quickly and easily deploy the lengths of flood bag lines 41 and 42 on the hillside while empty and then fill flood bag lines 41 and 42 with water while in place using a hose connected to the uphill end of each length. The ends of flood bag lines 41 and 42 are then sealed, and flood bag lines 41 and 42 remain in place until structure 43 and roadway 44 are no longer threatened by water and mudflows 45. When flood bag lines 41 and 42 are no longer needed, the water in the bags can be easily drained by removing the clamps or alternate sealing means at the bottom ends of flood bag lines 41 and 42 and laying the bags on their sides. When the bags are laid on their sides the water in flood bag line 41 and 42 drains out the bottom end of each line. After flood bag lines 41 and 42 are drained, the empty flood bags can be rolled into coils or folded and placed in storage for future use.

[0068]FIG. 5 shows a perspective view of an exemplary flood bag line 51 placed around a stairwell 52 and filled with water from a hose bib 53 to quickly prevent surface water from flooding into a below grade area such as, but not limited to a basement or subway, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. In the present example, flood bag line 51 is placed on a ground cloth 54 that may be made from an impermeable material such as, but not limited to, plastic foam or sheeting to protect the bags in flood bag line 51 from puncture and also to prevent seepage of ground water under flood bag line 51. After the danger of flooding has passed, flood bag line 51 can be easily laid over on its side, unclamped or otherwise unsealed and drained. When empty, flood bag line 51 can be rolled o folded up and stored for future use.

[0069]While FIGS. 1-5 depict Embodiment 1 of the present invention, using bags formed with straight, vertical sides and relatively flat bottoms that form cells in the shape of cylinders, this is not necessarily the only shape that is suitable for the bags. For example, without limitation, the bags might also be formed with sloping sides forming cells in the shape of cones, or the bags might be formed with pleated bottoms so they stand up by themselves more easily when filled with water. Those skilled in the art, in light of the present teaching, will recognize multiple alternative shapes for the flood bags, such as, but not limited to, cubes, spheres, or pyramids. In some embodiments, the entire body of the bags may have pleating or extra fabric that enables the sides of the bags to expand and create shapes such as, but not limited to, rounded shapes. These three-dimensional embodiments may still be rolled up or folded for easy storage when empty because of the flexible nature of the fabric used for their construction. In yet other embodiments, bags may be separated into sub cells by seams in various locations in the bodies of the bags. Depending on the particular use to which the flood bags may be put, each design may have its advantages.

[0070]A second embodiment of the present invention, Embodiment 2, is shown in FIG. 6. FIG. 6 illustrates a perspective view of four exemplary flood bags 61, 62, 63, and 64 as part of a continuous series of such bags, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. In the present embodiment, flood bags 61, 62, 63, and 64 are formed in horizontally opposed pairs from two layers 65 and 66 of waterproof material such as, but not limited to, plastic sheeting or plastic fabric. As with Embodiment 1 shown by way of example in FIG. 1 through FIG. 5, layers 65 and 66 may be separate sheets or a single sheet folded back on itself at an edge 67. Also as with Embodiment 1 shown by way of example in FIG. 1 through FIG. 5, layers 65 and 66 are sealed to each other everywhere except along a strip near the middle of the sheet to form a fill-tube 68 between flood bags 61, 62, 63, and 64, at necks 69 connecting each bag to fill-tube 68, and at flood bags 61, 62, 63 and 64 to form the body of each of the flood bags. In the present embodiment, fill-tube 68 is formed perpendicularly to flood bags 61, 62, 63, and 64 in the middle of each opposing pair of bags. The neck of each bag, 69, is offset to one side of each bag to facilitate draining after use. In alternate embodiments the neck of each bag may be centered instead of offset. As with FIG. 1, layers 65 and 66 in the present embodiment are sealed or adhered to each other using heat or some other common sealing method, such as but not limited to, welding, glue or stitching, that may vary depending on the type of plastic fabric or sheeting used to form the bags.

[0071]While FIG. 6 shows flood bags 61, 62, 63, and 64 on each side of fill-tube 68 as perfect mirror images, for example, without limitation, flood bag 61 is a mirror image of flood bag 63, this is not necessary. In some embodiments flood bags 61, 62, 63, and 64 may be formed with an offset so that the seam between flood bags 61 and 62 is not exactly opposite the seam between flood bags 63 and 64. And although FIG. 6 shows each flood bag 61, 62, 63 and 64 as single cells, in some embodiments, it is equally feasible to partially subdivide the bags into two or more sub-cells by means of seams as indicated by, but not limited to, a dotted line 60. In some embodiments the opposing flood bags may be shaped differently from each other to create different shapes when filled. For example, without limitation, in one such embodiment one line of bags is designed to have a flat outer surface when full while the opposing line of bags is designed to have a slanted outer surface. An exemplary use for this embodiment is to create a wedge-shaped flood barrier to be placed against a flat surface such as, but not limited to a wall or fence.

[0072]FIG. 7 illustrates a perspective view of flood bags 61, 62, 63, and 64, as illustrated by way of example in FIG. 6, folded back onto themselves along fill-tube 68 to form two continuous rows of parallel, tandem flood bags, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. In the present embodiment, flood bags 61 and 62 make up the near row and flood bags 63 and 64 make up the far row. Flood bags 61, 62, 63, and 64 are each connected to central fill-tube 68 at the top of each bag by way of the neck to each bag, 69. Flood bags 61, 62, 63, and 64 may be filled simultaneously from a single hose connection at an end 71 of fill-tube 68 after an end 70 of fill-tube 68 has been clamped shut similar to the manner that was illustrated in FIG. 3 for the prior Embodiment 1 of the present invention. As with Embodiment 1, alternate means for closing the ends of fill-tube 68 may be used such as, but not limited to, interlocking closures or adhesive tabs. A flood wall formed from flood bags 61, 62, 63, and 64, according to the present embodiment, has two tandem but self-contained water-filled cells at each section along the wall instead of only one cell, as illustrated by way of example in Embodiment 1, and four layers of fabric instead of only two layers of fabric. Consequently, if one flood bag were accidentally punctured the other flood bags would not lose their integrity.

[0073]FIG. 8a and FIG. 8b show end-view elevations of two exemplary tandem flood bags 81 and 82, formed as illustrated by way of example in FIG. 7, after being filled with water through fill-tube 83, in accordance in an embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 8b shows flood bags 81 and 82 tied off at fill-tube 83. In the present embodiment one of the two tandem flood bags 81 or 82 may be punctured without affecting the integrity of the other tandem flood bag. For example, without limitation, if flood bag 81 is punctured and completely drained of water, flood bag 82 will remain filled. Therefore, if a floating object or other object causes one of the tandem bags 81 or 82 to be punctured, the other tandem cell remains filled and the integrity of the entire flood containment structure is maintained.

[0074]FIG. 8b is an end-view elevation of tandem flood bags 81 and 82, as shown by way of example in FIG. 8a, tied at the top with a rope 84. Tandem flood bags 81 and 82 may be tied in this manner with other means such as, but not limited to, twine, a zip-tie, strapping, a twist tie or any other fastener to seal the bags. Flood bags 81 and 82 might also be suspended on rope 84 in this manner to create a temporary weight to hold down objects such as, but not limited to, tarps, ground cloths, awnings, other fabric structures, and other lightweight objects in place of sandbags.

[0075]A third embodiment of the invention, Embodiment 3, is illustrated in FIG. 9. FIG. 9 illustrates a perspective view of four exemplary tandem flood bags 91, 92, 93 and 94 with attachment flaps 96a, 96b, 97a, and 97b, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. In the present embodiment, flood bags 91, 92, 93 and 94 are formed between two layers of fabric in the same manner as shown by way of example in FIG. 6. Flood bags 91, 92, 93 and 94 are all connected to a center fill-tube 95. In the present embodiment two extra flaps of plastic fabric 96a and 96b are formed along the top of fill-tube 95 and two extra flaps 97a and 97b of plastic fabric are formed at the bottom of each flood bag. Flaps 96a, 96b, 97a and 97b are constructed of the same material as the body of flood bags 91, 92, 93 and 94. This may be any waterproof material such as, but not limited to, plastic fabric or plastic sheeting. In alternate embodiments, flaps 96a, 96b, 97a, and 97b may be constructed of a different material than the body of the flood bags 91, 92, 93, and 94 or may be reinforced or coated to resist tearing. In the present embodiment, flaps 96a, 96b, 97a and 97b comprises holes 98 to allow flood bags 91, 92, 93 and 94 to be attached to each other or to supporting structures such as, but not limited to stakes, fences, etc.

[0076]As is the case with Embodiment 2 illustrated by way of example in FIG. 6, flood bags on each side of fill-tube 95 do not have to be exact mirror images, and, in some embodiments, flood bags 91 and 92 can be offset from flood bags 93 and 94 so that the seam between flood bags 91 and 92 is offset from the seam between flood bags 93 and 94. Also as with Embodiment 2, opposing flood bags may have different shapes from one another. For example, without limitation, flood bags 91 and 92 may be shaped differently from flood bags 93 and 94. Further, in some embodiments, flood bags 91, 92, 93 and 94 may be subdivided by vertical seams as illustrated by, but not limited to, a dotted line 99.

[0077]FIG. 10 is an end-view perspective of horizontally opposed flood bags, as illustrated by way of example in FIG. 9, showing how a single sheet of plastic fabric can be folded and sealed to create attachment flaps 96a, 96b, 97a, and 97b, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. The present example describes the use of plastic fabric; however other suitable materials such as, but not limited to, plastic sheeting, etc. may be folded and sealed in the same manner to create flood bags according to the present embodiment. Alternatively the bags may be made of rubberized canvas or rubberized polypropylene fabric with sewn seams. Starting at a point 101 a single layer of plastic fabric is laid flat to the edge of center fill-tube 95 at a point 102. From point 102 the plastic fabric is extended to a point 103 to form the bottom of fill-tube 95. From point 103 the plastic fabric is extended to a point 104 to complete the bottom layer of the flood bags. From point 104 the plastic fabric is folded back onto itself and sealed to itself from point 104 to a point 105 forming end flap 97a and flood bags on the far side of fill-tube 95. From point 105 the plastic fabric is extended to a point 106 to form a side section of fill-tube 95. From point 106 the plastic fabric is extended to a point 107 and folded back and sealed to itself at a point 108 to form top flap 96a. From point 108 the fabric is extended to a point 109 forming the top of fill-tube 95. From point 109 the plastic fabric is extended to a point 110 and folded back on itself and sealed to itself at a point 111 to form second top flap 96b. From point 111 the plastic fabric curves down to a point 112 to form the rest of fill-tube 95. Then from point 112 the plastic fabric is sealed to the bottom layer back to a point 113 to form the flood bags on the near side of fill-tube 95 and end flap 97b.

[0078]Additional seams may then be made in the areas between points 101 and 102 and 103 and 104 to form the bodies and necks of the flood bags. The number and shapes of these seams depend on the particular shape of flood bag being implemented by the particular embodiment, for example, without limitation, cylindrical or triangular. Further, additional seams may be included in the body of the bags to create separate cells within the bags. In some embodiments, the flood bags may have seams along dotted lines 115 and 116 to separate flaps 97a and 97b from the bodies of the bags. In other embodiments the bottom seams of the bodies of the bags create the separation between the bodies of the bags and flaps 97a and 97b or the plastic fabric may be completely sealed onto itself below the bottom of the bodies of the bags to create flaps 97a and 97b. Furthermore, embodiments with attachment flaps are not required to be constructed as shown in FIG. 10. FIG. 10 merely illustrates one exemplary method of constructing flood bags with attachment flaps, and those skilled in the art in light of the present teachings will recognize that various alternate methods may be used.

[0079]While FIG. 10 illustrates that it is possible to create flood bags according to Embodiment 3 from a single folded sheet of plastic fabric, it is not necessary to do so, and flood bags according to Embodiment 3 can be created from two sheets of plastic fabric each with the same or a different thickness. For example, without limitation, it is possible that the bottom layer of fabric from points 101 through points 102 and 103 to 104 might be made of 6-mil polyethylene while the top layer running from point 104 through points 105, 106, 107, 108, 109, 110, 111, and 112 to 113 could be 10-mil polyethylene.

[0080]FIG. 11 is an end-view perspective showing how flood bags 91, 92, 93, and 94, as illustrated by way of example in FIG. 9, can be folded to form two rows of tandem flood bags with bags 91 and 92 toward the front and bags 93 and 94 partially obscured to the rear, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. This is similar to the method in which two rows of tandem bags are formed in Embodiment 2 as illustrated in FIGS. 6, 7, and 8a, 8b and 8c. However, in the present embodiment, bottom flaps 97a and 97b are sealed to each other longitudinally along a centerline 1110, by a method such as, but not limited to gluing, welding, or stitching, so that each row of flood bags is attached to the other at fill-tube 95 at the top and at centerline 1110 at the bottom. By allowing extra slack in a bottom panel 1120 a connecting membrane is created between the bottoms of flood bags 91, 92, 93 and 94 allowing the bags to spread somewhat apart to form an "A-frame" structure that can stand unassisted and be stacked, one row atop the other. In some applications a user may weigh down the flood bags by placing objects such as, but not limited to, rocks or weights on bottom panel 1120 between the rows of flood bags. If two separate sheets of plastic of different thickness are used to form tandem flood bags as illustrated by way of example in the present embodiment, the thicker sheet of plastic is most likely used to form an outside layer 1130 to maximize puncture resistance.

[0081]FIG. 12 is a side perspective showing six exemplary flood bags, three pairs of tandem bags, with flaps 96b and 97b attached to a vertical support pole, 121, and being filled with water, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. The flood bags are attached to vertical pole 121, which is threaded through top flap 96b at a hole 122 and through bottom flap 97b at a hole 123 and then driven into the ground to form a supporting structure. At a point 124 one end of fill-tube 95 is clamped with clamp 25, or sealed by alternate means, and the flood bags are filled from a hose 125 inserted into the other end of fill-tube 95. In the present embodiment, top flap 96b is free to slide up and down pole 121 at hole 122 so the vertical height of the wall formed from such bags increases as the bags are filled with water. When the bags are filled to the desired height, hose 125 is removed and fill-tube 95 is sealed to hold in the water.

[0082]FIG. 13 is an end-view elevation showing how two exemplary layers of tandem flood bags with attachment flaps 96b and 97b can be filled with water, as illustrated by way of example in FIG. 12, and stacked, one atop the other, to form a floodwall 138, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. The first layer consists of tandem bags 131 and 132 filled and attached to supporting pole 121 in the same manner as illustrated by way of example in FIG. 12. Supporting pole 121 is inserted through hole 123 in bottom flap 97b and through top flap 96b at hole 122. Supporting pole 121 is then driven into the ground. Supporting pole 121 is braced diagonally with a brace 135 for additional lateral support in the present example; however, in some applications brace 135 may not be needed. A second layer of flood bags 133 and 134 is then laid on top of the first layer and attached to supporting pole 121 in an identical manner at the bottom at a hole 124 and the top through a hole 136. A flood wall of this type would typically be laid on a ground cloth 137 of an impermeable material such as, but not limited to, polyethylene sheeting to prevent puncture damage to the bottom layer, to prevent punctures from floating debris, and to prevent seepage between the layers of flood bags. Ground cloth 137 is wrapped up the water-side of floodwall 138 and secured at the top of floodwall 138. FIG. 13 illustrates an advantage of Embodiment 3 over Embodiment 2 in that the bottom of each layer of tandem bags can be spread somewhat apart producing an "A-frame" shape that adds stability. Bags 133 and 134 partially straddle the top of bags 131 and 132 on the bottom layer yet they are still held together and cannot split completely apart.

[0083]In the present embodiment illustrated in FIG.13, top flap 96b of the bottom layer at hole 122, the bottom flap of the top layer at hole 124, and the top flap of the top layer at hole 136 are all free to slide up and down supporting pole 121 so that floodwall 138 increases in height vertically as the bags in each layer are filled with water. A floodwall similar to floodwall 138 may also be formed by attaching flood bags 131, 132, 133, and 134 to an existing chain-link fence or another existing structure, such as, but not limited to a wooden fence or a wall. In this example flap 97b is secured to the bottom of the structure and the upper flap, 96b, is attached to the structure after all bags are filled with water, expanding the floodwall to its full height. The flaps may be secured to the structure with various means such as, but not limited to being tied with ropes or twine, plastic zip-ties, clips, or nails. FIG. 13 illustrates a basic advantage of this flood bag design over alternative approaches using "external frameworks" or "A-frame" structures. External framework approaches generally cannot be stacked in any manner so the floodwalls they create are of a fixed height that cannot be increased by any means.

[0084]FIG. 14 is a top-view of an exemplary floodwall plan showing how a floodwall can be created from four separate lengths 141, 142, 143 and 144 of flood bags to protect structures 145 and 146, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. Each section of flood bags is wrapped around two supporting poles 148 and doubled back on itself to create a wall four cells thick. The floodwall can easily curve around a ground obstacle 147. As with the embodiment shown by way of example in FIG. 13 the floodwalls may be laid on a ground cloth of a continuous sheet of polyethylene or other impermeable material that wraps up the flood-side of the floodwall to both minimize punctures to the flood bags and prevent seepage through the floodwall.

[0085]FIG. 15 is a top-view of an exemplary floodwall plan showing how a floodwall can also be created from two separate lengths of flood bags 151 and 152 to protect structures 145 and 146, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. As was illustrated by way of example in FIG. 14, the floodwall can easily curve around ground obstacle 147. Each length of flood bags 151 and 152 is laid alongside a series of supporting poles 148 creating a floodwall four cells thick. As with the embodiments shown by way of example in FIG. 13 and FIG. 14 the floodwall may be laid on a ground cloth of an impermeable material such as, but not limited to, a continuous sheet of polyethylene that wraps up the flood-side of the floodwall to both minimize punctures to the flood bags and prevent seepage through the floodwall.

[0086]FIG. 14 and FIG. 15 illustrate two basic advantages of the flood bag design over prior art using inflated "tubes" or "pontoons". In these figures the floodwall is easily built to curve around ground obstacle 147. The "tube" or "pontoon" approaches require positive water pressure to attain and maintain vertical height. As a result, the pontoons become rigid, forming straight-line structures that cannot be easily curved around ground obstacles as shown in these figures. Further, if there is any puncture in any tube or pontoon at any place, the entire structure may fail. In contrast a floodwall composed of flood bags as illustrated here can be erected in any shape, and a puncture of any one cell has little or no effect on the integrity of the entire structure.

[0087]FIG. 16 is a top-view of an exemplary flood wall plan showing how a floodwall 161 constructed as shown by way of example in FIG. 13 can be created using support poles 148 on the inside of floodwall 161 to completely surround a structure 145, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. Floodwall 161 is comprised of a length of flood bags 163, two cells thick; however, two or more lengths of flood bags may be laid to create a thicker wall. As with prior figures floodwall 161 may be laid on a ground cloth made of an impermeable material, for example, without limitation, a continuous sheet of polyethylene that wraps up the flood-side of floodwall 161 to both minimize punctures to the flood bags and prevent seepage through floodwall 161. If structure 145 is surrounded by an existing chain link fence, floodwall 161 can be quickly formed around the outside of the fence by simply attaching the layers of flood bags to the existing fence with means such as, but not limited to, rope, twine, zip-ties, or twist ties in the manner shown by way of example in FIG. 13.

[0088]FIG. 17 is a top-view of an exemplary floodwall plan showing how a floodwall 171 constructed as shown by way of example in FIG. 13 can be created using support poles 148 around the outside of floodwall 171 to temporarily contain a body of water, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. This method is possibly useful for agricultural purposes such as, but not limited to, irrigation around trees in orchards or as a holding pond for irrigation water. As with the example shown in FIG. 16 a wall of only one length of flood bags, two cells thick, is illustrated however two or more lengths of flood bags may be laid to create a thicker wall. The bottom of the structure may be lined with an impermeable material such as, but not limited to, polyethylene sheeting to form a temporary storage tank.

[0089]FIG. 18 is a perspective view of an exemplary floodwall plan showing how two floodwalls 181 and 182 can be attached to the side rails of a bridge 183 to prevent floodwaters 184 from coming onto a roadway 185, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. This may be done for example, without limitation, to secure an evacuation route. In this case, any existing water on roadway 185 may be pumped out so vehicles can evacuate across the bridge.

[0090]In each embodiment shown above gravity keeps water in the flood bags after the flood bags are filled as long as the flood bags are kept upright, and if the fill-tubes or necks of the bags are clamped or otherwise sealed the flood bags can be laid on their sides without loss of water. When the flood bags are no longer needed, the flood bags can be drained by simply laying the flood bags on their sides and unclamping or otherwise unsealing the fill-tubes. The flood bags drain by gravity flow and once they are drained they can be coiled or folded and stored for future use. This illustrates a basic advantage of the flood bag approach over much of the prior art using rigid or semi-rigid containers or water absorbing materials. Structures based on those approaches require far greater expense and storage requirements. And after use many prior art devices are harder to drain, and some are impossible to drain if water-absorbing materials are used. As previously described some embodiments of the present invention may also comprise valves or drainage holes in the flood bags to decrease the drainage time.

[0091]The feasible height of a wall of flood bags stacked on top of each other obviously increases with the thickness and strength of the plastic fabric used to form the flood bags and the strength of the seams that form the cells within the flood bags.

[0092]There are many possible uses for these flood bags. For example, without limitation, these flood bags may be of interest to entities such as, but not limited to, homeowners, farmers, shopkeepers, maintenance workers, highway departments, transit authorities, flood control agencies, fire departments and other emergency agencies for various purposes. Some exemplary uses include, without limitation, to create temporary levees, line the tops of existing levees to temporarily increase their height, to seal off doorways, stairwells, and subway entrances, to protect houses and barns, to channel surface runoffs away from structures and roadways, and to line bridges to prevent flood waters from sweeping over them. Furthermore, those skilled in the art, in light of the present teaching, will recognize other alternative uses for these flood bags.

[0093]Having fully described at least one embodiment of the present invention, other equivalent or alternative continuous-sheet water-filled flood bags according to the present invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art. For example, without limitation, some embodiments may have weighted bottoms to keep the flood bags in place. One such embodiment has one or more weighted objects such as, but not limited to, metal disks, plates or balls attached to the bottom portions of the flood bags. In another such embodiment, the bottoms of the flood bags comprise a pouch that holds an amount of material such as, but not limited to, sand or ball bearings to weigh down the flood bags. This embodiment enables the weighted bottoms of the flood bags to conform to the surface on which the flood bags are being placed. The invention has been described above by way of illustration, and the specific embodiments disclosed are not intended to limit the invention to the particular forms disclosed. The invention is thus to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of the following claims.

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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20070243021 A1
Publish Date
10/18/2007
Document #
11786230
File Date
04/10/2007
USPTO Class
405115
Other USPTO Classes
International Class
02B7/02
Drawings
12


Flood


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