What Is Infrastructure Protection?
Infrastructure plays an important role in maintaining the functionality and prosperity of our communities. Alarmingly, over 50% of infrastructure in the United States is at risk of being damaged by natural disasters. By August of 2019, natural disasters led to $1.2 billion in damages to U.S. public infrastructure.
Critical infrastructure protection (CIP) is vital to shield these expensive, essential forms of transportation and public services from natural disaster-related destruction, enabling communities to remain intact and thrive even after experiencing a severe weather event.
Types of infrastructure that need protection from various natural disasters include:
- Highways and roadways: Americans drive on 2.6 trillion miles of road every year. Well-maintained, safe roadways and highways are necessary for all kinds of purposes, from ensuring timely work commutes to allowing people to get to their local grocery store to providing a clear path for ambulances headed to the hospital. Natural disasters can flood, block, or demolish roadways, leading to incredibly expensive repairs and hugely inconvenienced citizens.
- Bridges: Working, easily accessible bridges are key to keeping the economy intact—in addition to everyday transportation needs, they allow for goods to be transported, and provide a safe, effective way to connect areas separated by water.
- Dams: This form of infrastructure is incredibly important for many reasons, used for power, and also protection. Dams keep cities safe from the destructive effects of flooding, and if compromised, can have serious consequences like the loss of life and property.
- Subways: Forms of public transportation are integral to many communities, especially those in large cities. In 2021, it was reported that over 2 million people utilized New York’s subway system, though pre-pandemic that number was closer to 5 million. If a subway is damaged, people are prevented from getting to work, school, and maintaining their routine.
- Airports: For travel and commerce, airports are essential. Without proper protection in place, flooding and large amounts of debris can make a runway inaccessible during or after a natural disaster.
- Water supply facilities: Maintaining a clean, regular water supply is essential during natural disasters. Water can become contaminated during natural disasters. Lack of water can create many public health issues as well as severely impact industries that require water to thrive, like agriculture.
- Waste management facilities: Our society is healthier and cleaner as a result of effective waste management services. If these facilities sustain damages from natural disasters, it can be extremely harmful to the environment and people of a community, contaminating water sources, wetlands, and heavily traveled public areas.
Natural Disasters and Infrastructure
Natural disasters are becoming more common and more severe, both induced and exacerbated by climate change. The impact these storms and events can have on infrastructure is not only frightening but also incredibly expensive. In 2021, over 20 extreme natural disasters cost at least $1 billion each in economic losses.
There are many types of hazardous natural disasters that can demolish infrastructure, including:
- Hurricanes: The strong winds and heavy amounts of rain that hurricanes unleash can be both deadly and destructive to public and private property. As climate change causes oceans to increase in temperature, hurricanes and other tropical storms grow in frequency and intensity.
- Tornadoes: Every state in the U.S. has experienced tornadoes at least once, though they are most common in the midwestern and southern states of Kansas and Texas. Tornadoes can rip through a municipality in just a few minutes, leaving millions of dollars of damages in their wake.
- Earthquakes: When an earthquake occurs, it can significantly shatter important forms of infrastructure, eroding previously strong land to loose sediment. Without effective forms of barriers, many structures are at risk of collapse or damage.
- Landslides: When not diverted properly, the shifting, tumbling ground from a landslide or mudslide can crash into buildings.
- Flash floods: Intense flooding can cause serious issues for all kinds of infrastructure. It can greatly affect transportation, waste management facilities, and lead to immense water damage that weakens the integrity of a building.
Preparation for a Natural Disaster
Planning and preparing to protect infrastructure from natural disasters is the first step in mitigating damages and potential repair or rebuilding costs.
Infrastructure Protection Plan
While the chance of natural disasters striking has always been a threat, climate change is exacerbating the severity of these storms, and governing offices are needing to employ different strategies to keep their communities safe.
An infrastructure protection plan is about assessing risks and mitigating damage. Often, the plan needs to be specific to the area you are in—identify what natural disasters have the highest chance of affecting your community. This will allow you to invest in protective solutions that suit your area’s needs. For your area, that might be seawall coastal protection to fend off large hurricane or tsunami waves, MSE or gravity walls to divert landslide debris, or an easily deployable, watertight barrier that functions as a dam in the case of flooding.
TrapBags as Critical Infrastructure Protection
To avoid the loss of life, economic damage, and infrastructure collapse that can result from natural disasters, reliable methods of infrastructure protection are essential. TrapBag barriers are an effective, versatile solution. TrapBags can be employed as flood barriers, like dams, seawalls, or levees, diversion walls from landslides, and are durable enough to provide additional stability to existing infrastructure, mitigating damage.
TrapBags as Flood Barriers
TrapBag barriers are watertight, quick to install, and easy to stack if water heights rise, making them an affordable, effective flood barrier during hurricanes, tsunamis, and other flood-inducing storms.
TrapBags as Erosion Control
Extreme winds and rising water levels associated with natural disasters can weaken the integrity of the land. TrapBag barriers can keep land safe from eroding, ensuring property values stay high and the ecosystem is intact.
TrapBags as Diversion Walls
During mudslides, land can tumble into buildings and structures, leaving huge amounts of damage. When filled with concrete, TrapBags can form incredibly sturdy protective walls, blocking and altering the course of mudslide and landslide debris.
TrapBags as Spill Control
The durability and leakproof structure of TrapBags make them a great, rapidly deployable solution in the case of chemical and/or oil spills, which can be very damaging to the environment.
What Makes TrapBag Barriers Superior
When it comes to critical infrastructure protection, TrapBags are the superior solution—they are incredibly effective in reducing the impacts of natural disasters, as they are:
- Versatile: TrapBags can be filled with a variety of substances including sand, washed gravel, and concrete. They can create many types of structures, as well as offer support during many forms of natural disasters.
- Durable and dependable: The exterior strength of TrapBags, along with the leakproof, accordion structure, makes them extremely reliable forms of protective and preventive barriers.
- Easily installed: Unlike many other forms of protection, like FIBC bags, TrapBag barriers do not require heavy machinery to be placed. Installation is made simple by the interconnected structure.
- Quick to deploy: Natural disasters can happen quickly. TrapBags are rapidly deployable, offering a quick and strong form of protection.