Well, I sandbagged today for the first time. It wasn’t that bad. It also wasn’t that awesome. Cass County brings in a good collection of prisoners to help with one of the spider machines (there are three total).
So what happens is this: sand is brought into warehouse (Sandbag Central, aka a building usually occupied by the Sanitation Dept). Sand is then brought up through a conveyor belt to the top of the spider. The spider has a rotating gauge on top that puts the sand into one of eight chutes. Each chute gets hit with sand every 5 seconds or so.
I didn’t want to get in anyone’s way by taking photos so close to the ends of the chutes. At the bottom of each chute there are at least 7 people. Two people alternate holding a bag up to the chute to collect the sand. Then the bag goes to the next two people who twist the bag like a loaf of bread to allow for it to be closed shut. The 5th person has a wire gun that automatically shoots wire into a circle around the bag, like a giant twist tie (these handheld machines cost $1300 each). The last two people organize the sandbags on a pallet, stacking them efficiently.
I only stayed for a few hours, but I’ll definitely be back.
You can read about my “official” experience here. But I should also add that the Fargo Fire Department was also on hand, helping the city run the show. And I just want to say, those men were fine.