Baylor after Harvey: Here for you then, here for you now

It’s been almost one year since Hurricane Harvey hit Houston with devastating rain. While many people affected by the flooding are still recovering and rebuilding, the College stands ready to help the Baylor and Houston community weather the next storm, just as it did last August.

“When Harvey hit last year, we were ready from a physical standpoint. Our facilities were well prepared, and our buildings, labs and clinics and other property were protected,” said Dr. Paul Klotman, president, CEO and executive dean of Baylor. “When our greatest asset, our employees and trainees, were affected, we quickly were able to respond to their needs, as well as to the needs of the broader community.”

The Baylor family organized to help those in need by volunteering their time and other support. More than $825,000 was donated to and distributed through the Employee Relief Fund to employees who experienced damage and loss to their homes from Hurricane Harvey.

Established more than 15 years ago in the wake of Tropical Storm Allison, the Employee Relief Fund is an important tool to assist members of the Baylor family who are affected by a natural or other disaster.

Volunteer man-hours also were an important element of assistance efforts post-Harvey. A student-led effort resulted in help to more than 60 faculty, staff and others in the Baylor community. Assistance included pulling out flooring, walls and counters, clearing debris and damaged items and cleaning, allowing those affected to begin the lengthy journey of rebuilding their lives.

Students also devoted their annual Matthew Carter Service Day to Harvey recovery efforts. Benefits-eligible employees donated their time to Harvey relief efforts through the Volunteer Time Off program. To date, 680 volunteer time off hours were devoted to Hurricane Harvey assistance.

Baylor faculty provided immediate response to displaced Harvey victims at shelters set up at the George R. Brown convention center. More than 100 clinicians were involved in these efforts, and, now, a database has been created with their information so they can be quickly contacted and dispatched in the wake of future emergencies where healthcare is needed.

What can employees and trainees do now to help, and to prepare for future emergencies?