This article is a news story written for BrightView.
No one could have anticipated what Hurricane Harvey delivered to southeast Texas over the last week of August.
“What a lot of people don’t understand is that a majority of what we had was a rain event,” said Sam Evans, BrightView Branch Manager in Katy, Texas. “We had five days of torrential rain. Our situation wasn’t so much high winds as it was historic flooding.”
In anticipation of the storm, Evans had his team prepare by loading up a covered trailer with a golf cart and everything they thought they would need for clean-up operations following the storm, including edgers, blowers, and generators.
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The branch office is located in a floodplain, so they staged the trailer at an offsite location on high ground as a precaution in case no one would be able to reach the branch once Harvey hit.
Evans never would have thought his team would be unable to access the branch until Sept. 11.
“Our branch was flooded out,” he said. “There was no water in the building, but we were basically landlocked away from the branch. Since Harvey, we have been working remotely out of our pickup trucks and from other BrightView locations.”
Not a single team member was able to get within two miles of the branch office.
Planning ahead is what kept the Katy team active and able to get to work by Aug. 30.
“We had a Plan ‘A,’ ‘B,’ and ‘C’ and after activating Plan A, met at an I-Hop that first day,” Evans said. “We were able to get crews together with trucks we staged offsite. We pulled all our resources together and were able to initiate limited clean-up operations based on the personnel and equipment we had. We could get out and blow, pick-up debris, cut-up branches and trees, and do some things to help with clearance issues.”
For those 12 days, the Katy team received help from other BrightView teams and continued to clean-up client sites from the their pickup trucks.
As BrightView teams in Dallas, roughly 250 miles away, geared up to send additional equipment to Katy, a team member was able to use a lifted four-wheel drive truck to get into the branch’s yard and retrieve tractors on Sept. 7.
“We are grateful to the Dallas branches that were making concessions with their own crews so they could supply us with the equipment needed to service our clients,” Evans said. “This is a testament to the leadership in this region and the company.”
Four days later, the water dropped enough that team members can now safely drive on the road and access the branch.