Each year natural disasters claim the lives of on average, 68,000 people(1). Among the various types of damage that occur in the event of a natural disaster, flooding is one of the most common and one that causes a substantial number of preventable deaths. Sandbags are commonly used to combat flooding by mitigating and redirecting water flow, away from areas where it can cause significant damage. The efficacy of a sandbag relies on several factors including the material within the bag and the bag itself. If the material is coarse or gravelly and rocky then the sandbag will be less effective than if the material is heavy bodied(2). Furthermore, placement methods of the sandbags in certain areas and the speed of deployment are also important factors.
As a result, traditional sandbags have multiple disadvantages. One of which is the type of material within the bag. As mentioned previously, sandbags may vary in the materials that they contain. Often, they will contain some kind of earthy soil, however, there are only a few soils which work particularly well. Other soils can decompose overtime and even compromise the structural integrity of the whole sandbag, if confronted with enough water. This disincentivizes individuals from storing sandbags. Another issue is the amount of time it takes to prepare sandbags. In certain disaster situations, many areas do not always have enough pre-prepared sandbags to combat flooding. Instead, these areas may often have places in the community where individuals may fill their own sandbags. It is not always efficient or safe in natural disaster scenarios for individuals to commute to these areas and make their own bags, particularly when the disaster occurs suddenly. Another issue traditional sandbags have, is their bulkiness. In disaster relief situations where there is not a lot of time to prepare or deploy, transportation and placement of these sandbags in certain communities can be an arduous task. Additionally, the risk of injury is greater when individuals must transport and place 20-50lbs sand bags.
In addition to the importance of sand bags in natural disaster relief scenarios, thermal blankets/sleeping bags are also crucial. In the event of a natural disaster, it is possible (and in some cases likely) that an individual may be exposed to harsh environmental conditions and be displaced from their home. As a result, thermal blankets/sleeping bags are crucial tools for individuals recovering from a natural disaster. It offers a warm, dry place where an individual may sleep or a material that a person may wrap around their body to prevent hypothermia.
The Nike Grind Disaster Relief Kit is composed of two items: a unique and lightweight sandbag replacement, and a thermal blanket. The unique lightweight sandbag replacement addresses all the issues with traditional sandbags previously stated. This unique “sandbag” is composed of various Nike Grind materials. Its composition makes it more efficient in redirecting and mitigating water flow than traditional sandbags. It also allows it to be stored for long periods of time without risk of decomposition or reduced efficacy. Furthermore, it is lightweight/durable and can be easily transported and deployed in various environments. The thermal blanket is also made up of Nike Grind materials and doubles over as a sleeping bag. Like the unique sandbag, it too is lightweight and durable.
Subsequently, the aim of the Nike Grind Disaster Relief Kit is to provide these economically feasible and durable items, that are crucial for combating natural disasters and recovering from them, to large scale communities/cities/governments and at the individual level. We can and must envision a future where no children succumb to the effects of hypothermia in the event of a catastrophe and where entire families and their homes are not swept away into floating detritus.
1. Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED), The Human Cost of Natural Disasters 2015: A Global Perspective.
2. U.S Army Corps of Engineers, Flood Fighting: How to Use Sandbags.