A Scottish town which was devastated by a “biblical” flood has become better prepared to fight overflowing water with the help of innovative sandbags.

In the summer of 2015, the residents of Alyth faced the biggest flood in living memory which saw damaged dozens of properties, cars swept away in the water-filled streets and widespread power cuts.

The Perthshire town, with a population of 2370 people, has since seen a number of residents install floodgates.

A flood team set up in the town has now ensured that the households have access to FloodSax alternative sandbags that can be used to soak up water that seeps indoors.

While the major flood was believed to be a once-in-a-century event, the town has continued to see large-scale floods in over the past three years.

Leader of the town’s Retained Alyth Flood Team (RAFT) Grant Train, 36, said: “This was supposedly a once in 100-year issue but is now happening multiple times a year.”

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The Herald: Grant Train of RAFTGrant Train of RAFT (Image: Supplied)

The multi-purpose sandbags are filled with a gelling polymer which absorbs water, making them very proficient at soaking up fluids they come into contact with.

If fully immersed in water the FloodSax can absorb up to 20 litres and expands to become instant sandless sandbags and can therefore act as protective flood barriers just like traditional sandbags.

They are also better suited to the town’s population, Mr Train explained.

He said: “Sandbags are so heavy, especially when wet, so they may as well not exist for vulnerable households as they would find it impossible to lift them.

“Around half of Alyth’s population is over 50 so FloodSax are far more manageable for them.”

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The 2015 flood caused millions of pounds worth of damage in the small town and was caused by extreme rainfall according to a joint investigation.

The town is located in a valley surrounded by hills with grooves that were carved out by glaciers around 20,000 years ago.

This process left it with little more than two metres of permeable soil layers causing any rainfall to run down the channels into a burn that run through the town.

On July 17, 2015, the water burst the banks and carried away large amounts of debris, including a skip, until the items became jammed under an old packhorse bridge.

This self-made dam sent the water cascading through the town until the skip was forced under the bridge by the sheer force of the water.

Following the major damage, RAFT – an action group of trained volunteers - was set up in the town to help advise and guide residents if another flood hits.

The purchase of the FloodSax was funded by the Alyth Development Trust following advice from the Scottish Flood Forum.

The company behind the items, the Environmental Defence Systems Ltd, provided the sandbags at a discounted price.

RAFT now boast a team of seven volunteers who are all well-trained in what to do during a flooding emergency as well as first aid.

Mr Train said that the 2015 flood left the residents “emotionally scarred”.

“Everyone rallied round during the 2015 flood to try to save whatever they could, but some crazy dangerous things went on such as someone being dangled over the bridge on a chain to try to clear the debris. It’s a wonder no-one was hurt or killed,” he said.

“Now we have a dedicated and trained flood team it makes things a lot safer. What happened that day has made people living in Alyth, especially those close to the burn, very nervous about flooding and they have a fear it could happen again. That’s why it’s so important people have what they need so they feel they are ready.

“It’s no exaggeration to say they are emotionally scarred by the events of July 2015. There is a lot of passion and tension about flooding in this town.”

RAFT has received funding from the National Lottery and Perth and Kinross Council which helped the team secure a shipping container filled with flood-fighting equipment.

There are also sensors in the burn higher up the valley so the group will have a maximum of 40 minutes' warning if the water is suddenly rising to potentially dangerous levels.