SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Filling a sandbag seems like a no-brainer, but firefighters tell us there is a science to it.

Here are some tips firefighters gave CBS13:

First, fold the top of the sandbag down and then fill the bag half-way, to three-quarters of the way.

You want to be sure to leave some room so you can tie it off and ensure the bags won’t break.

Next: Use a pyramid stacking system instead of just one bag directly on top of another, which doesn’t provide a strong enough barrier to divert moving water.

But be careful how high you stack your sandbags. Experts say you shouldn’t go above three layers in most areas.

“You don’t want to wait until the storm is hitting to come out and do this in the rain,” said firefighter Steve Coleman. “Really, it’s coming out in advance and knowing how many bags you need.”

One important note from firefighters: Never use garbage bags in lieu of sandbags because they are too slick to stack and won’t provide the same level of protection.

There are a number of sandbag locations set up across our region, just remember to bring your own shovel.

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