Flood barriers adapted to real challenges: Follow our journey from transforming beliefs to putting them into practice. The article shows how we combined the requirements of three unique regions in Poland to create effective circular flood barriers.

Exflooder: From Idea to Application – Improving Flood Barriers

Exflooder: From Idea to Application - Improving Flood Barriers

From this article you will learn:

  • Why we decided to change something in regular flood barriers
  • Which fire brigade units did we test our flood barriers with
  • How we combined requirements from three regions of Poland into one barrier (equipment)
  • “Low price & high quality” but not with us

Why did we decide to change something about circular dams?

From around 2019, we started offering flexible dams in various diameters (from 20 to 80 cm) based on the requirements and inquiries we received. We must admit that at the beginning we did what the market and customers wanted. At the end of 2021, after one of the state tenders, we decided to take a closer look at these requirements and the practice of using dams. Why?

In one of the large tenders, the formal requirement was an almost 10-year warranty and the technical requirement was the use of light PVC fabric (650g/sq m). And here, consultations with manufacturers of such technical fabrics from Europe would suffice as none of them will provide even a 3-year warranty for dams filled with water (usually contaminated or in contact with it) because such materials are intended for roofs and walls of tent halls. In practice, such a 10-year warranty for a barrier made of a de facto “tent tarpaulin” usually lasts until the first or second use, after which mechanical damage may most often occur. Because the material of such a barrier is simply “too thin” – low grammage (650g/m2), basic polyester weave (1100 dtex, tensile strength 2800N/5cm). In addition, of course, the number of layers and the chemical composition of the fabric coating are responsible for UV resistance and resistance to chemical compounds. The “PVC” itself in the description of the fabric does not provide this, otherwise we would make fertilizer tanks from fabrics for banners (both fabrics are “PVC coated”).

In practice, as confirmed by our conversations with users of various dams, 650g fabric barriers are often damaged (by stones or floating objects), require repairs and, with great luck, are reusable. With our knowledge of technical fabrics (we have been producing flexible tanks for over 10 years) and the desire to improve the world, we decided to create our own barrier proposal.

Where have we tested our flood barriers and why?

We announced our campaign on social media – we are looking for Volunteer Fire Department units from all over the country to test our prototypes and talk about their experiences with floods. Out of several dozen (!) units that contacted us, we selected two. Finally, we tested our flood barriers and took into account:
  • in Gdynia – backwater on the quay, strong wind and increase in the level of rainwater
  • in Opole – increase in the water level in the river
  • in Podłopień – mountain streams and rivers, water flowing onto houses

We went with our prototypes to selected units, but as it turned out, this was only the beginning. Because conclusions are one thing, and their technical implementation in the product is another… and it took another several months (including more or less successful attempts).
We also came back from the tests with a very important conclusion:

There is no single dam that is perfect for all types of floods and suited to all terrain.

Whether it is a rigid plastic barrier, a flexible barrier, coated foil or traditional sandbags – each solution has its pros and cons that you need to know about in order to adapt them to the threat that may occur. We will try to describe it in a separate article.

How did we combine requirements from three regions of Poland into one circular dam?

We tried to create a universal dam that would combine all the needs of units struggling with various types of flood threats.
The common requirements of the units translated into the dam equipment:
  • greater resistance to damage and longer service life -> stronger fabric with better quality coating
  • faster filling with a more durable connection -> larger cross-section and connections in the form of a strong threaded flange
  • faster emptying of the dam, possibility of inspection -> drain collar with a plug with a diameter of 148 mm and handles to facilitate lifting the dam
  • better venting during filling -> two vents in the dam
  • quick series connection of barriers -> self-locking sleeve with additional guides
  • protection against “rolling” and sliding of the barrier -> additional belts with an eyelet to anchor the barrier to the ground
  • greater height after filling -> the diameter of our barrier of 90 cm translates into approximately 10% greater height than the “standard” 80cm.

“Low price & high quality” but not in Exflooder

After almost a dozen or so months of trials, tests and implementations, the team and I decided that Exflooder in the basic version would answer most of the problems related to the use of dams – it would be stronger, more durable, and as practical as possible.
We did not implement all the ideas from our tests because we were looking for a compromise between needs and the final price of the product. In our opinion, in its current version, Exflooder meets the most important qualitative and practical expectations.

What influences the price of a new Exflooder dam?

  • hicker (900g) and stronger material (4000N/5cm) with a special coating formula (it is not the same PVC as in the standard 650g fabric), so it has a much longer service life (7-year warranty)
  • high-quality and durable components manufactured in the EU, according to the highest quality standards and environmental protection policy
  • quality of workmanship: Polish production using automatic, renowned welding machines and HF (high frequency) and HA (hot air) technologies
  • dam diameter approximately 10% larger, i.e. 90-45-22cm instead of 80-40-20
  • equipment: the 90cm diameter dam is the “highest” version – responding to the most challenges for Volunteer Fire Department and State Fire Service units. We used, among others: a special flange connection made of UV-resistant PEHD – stronger than the often breaking “filling sleeves” built into the dam or a drain flange with a detachable cover (diameter of almost 15 cm).


Przemysław Domagalski

CEO of Exflo Sp. z o.o.. Regular participant of training and workshops on the storage of hazardous substances and conferences on fire protection. Certified ISO 14001 internal auditor, co-creator of practical products supporting environmental protection, logistics and fire protection.