Texas Strong: Hurricane Harvey
Cat 4 Hurricane
We were watching the news as Hurricane Harvey headed for Houston. We hoped it would weaken as it approached land, but forecasters warned of the storm strengthening. The thought of Houston being hit with a Category 4 Hurricane seemed like it out of the question, but in our industry, we know better than to say, “That’ll never happen to us.”
So, we prepared.
We are SERVPRO, and our offices are in Dallas, Texas. Houston is about a four-hour drive southeast of us. In the days leading up to Hurricane Harvey, our office was divided. Some of us were working on emergency damages around North Texas. Others were busy at the office, readying vehicles and trailers and loading them to the brim with supplies.
All of us had our minds on Houston, Corpus Christi, and Rockport. We began to receive phone calls from family, friends, and colleagues down there. Evacuations began. We prepared our homes up here for those who would be displaced.
For hours, our office searched for open hotels for our crews to stay. The ones that were still open were full. Others couldn’t guarantee there would be anyone there when we arrived.
So, we packed tents.
We told our families we were headed for Houston, and then we left.
A SERVPRO from the Houston community gave us a call and offered our technicians to sleep in his warehouse. Streets were still accessible to their office for the moment, and that was all the space they had left. It was a plan.
For over a month, our technicians worked 12 to 15-hour days, 7-days a week. The schedule was simple and repetitive: get up at 6, work until 6, plan and verify the next day’s schedule, eat, sleep, repeat. We responded to every call we received, visited homes, sucked out water, dried, and treated properties. Back home in Dallas, our North Texas crews did the same to compensate for the work their Houston-bound teammates would normally take care of.
We are grateful to every first responder that bravely faced the storm and saved people’s lives.
We are grateful for SERVPRO offices from around the nation that left home and came to Texas.
We are grateful for the many organizations in our state and Louisiana that lent a hand and are continuing to help today.
Harvey arrived on August 17, 2017. Our company continued working on homes in Houston, Corpus Christi, and Rockport until a few weeks ago. It is now December.
“Texas Strong” was on our lips as rebuild efforts began. It still is today.