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Safety Week Day 5 - Caring for a Community in Crisis

Day 5 of Safety Week is "Feel Good Friday," encouraging involvement in communities or local societies through voluntary or philanthropic activities that matter most to employees, our offices and sites. 

In 2016, operations in our Houston office developed a holistic Emergency Response Plan under Jacobs’ global Crisis Management Framework. The nominated Houston Emergency Management Team (EMT) were put to the test not long after they completed their training. 

In August of 2017, Hurricane Harvey made landfall in South Texas and would go on to affect 13 million people across Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Kentucky. Causing $180 billion in damage, the hurricane forced 40,000 people from their homes, destroyed one million vehicles and left one-third of Houston under water. 

Tracking the storm as it entered the Gulf of Mexico, the EMT initiated daily meetings and began regular communication with employees, keeping the team up-to-date on the storm’s projections and key preparations that should be made. As Harvey made landfall, and in the days that followed, the team continued to connect with employees. Through the EverBridge Emergency app, surveys and phone calls, 2,100 employees were contacted and confirmed safe in the Gulf Coast area.

The ultimate example of supporting a community is how people step up to support in times of crisis. Although the plan covers employee safety and care, the EMT knew that they could do more to help the suffering community. A GoFundMe page was set up and volunteers were organized to help clean-up and rebuild efforts. 

Jacobs employees generously donated over $133,000 to support colleagues impacted by Hurricane Harvey. The steering committee, comprised of representatives from across our lines of business, reviewed and processed 259 applications for disaster relief, dispensing all donations according to individual need. 

It wasn’t just money that our teams donated, however. Our Clear Lake Group in Houston (who serve Johnson Space Center) showed exceptional teamwork and leadership as the hurricane hit: within 24 hours they had contacted 98% of their employees to assess their needs, identify which employees were worst hit (100 were directly affected and lost property in the storm) and dispatched Jacobs staff to help these employees and their families start the rebuilding effort. 

Even in a city the size of greater Houston area, the sense of community and the Culture of Caring among employees and families became palpable.  Each effort began with a safety moment and an assessment of the work at hand.  The work teams tirelessly went to home after home as the flood waters receded, “mucking” out debris from days-old standing water, removing wet flooring and drywall as well as flooded furniture and appliances, and demolishing and removing cabinets and fixtures. 

Throughout the days, some of the CLG Management team obtained and delivered food and water to the work teams, ensuring the recovery efforts continued.  In many cases, employees took the initiative to contact co-workers and provide assistance with food, shelter and clean up, further demonstrating the Culture of Caring that has evolved throughout Jacobs. The Emergency Response Plan has become a standard for emergency response across the company.

In response to the widespread devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey, CH2M (now Jacobs) offered an employee matching gift incentive and built an online giving site with strategic partner American Red Cross. The company's overall charitable impact to help those affected by the disaster surpassed $125,000.


Hurricane Harvey's floods inundated hundreds of thousands of homes, displaced more than 30,000 people, and prompted more than 17,000 rescues. 
Unloading of critical supplies provided by Jacobs' team on NASA's ESSSA (Engineering and Science Services and Skills Augmentation) contract.
Jacobs employees roll up their sleeves and help lead the rebuilding effort. 




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