Leading Cancer Center Weathers Storms in Multiple Ways

For the last 25 years, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston has consistently ranked among the top two cancer care hospitals in the nation, according to a survey published by U.S. News & World Report. The hospital’s staff of more than 19,000 treat an average of 114,000 patients each year from around the world.

For the last 25 years, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston has consistently ranked among the top two cancer care hospitals in the nation, according to a survey published by U.S. News & World Report. The hospital’s staff of more than 19,000 treat an average of 114,000 patients each year from around the world.

The center’s ranking reflects the expertise and accomplishments of the physicians, researchers, nurses, staff and volunteers in treating patients.

Safeguarding staff, patients and property is essential and the reason for multiple disaster mitigation and notification initiatives at the facility.

“It’s important that we be here for the patients. We don’t want to close. If there is a significant event, we want to be up and running as soon as possible to minimize down time,” said MD Anderson Executive Director of Environmental Health and Safety Matthew Berkheiser.

“Patients wanting their treatment are literally knocking on our door as soon as the storm is over. If you have a broken leg, you could probably wait a few days to get it checked. Our patients are very serious and committed to getting in here.”

In 2001, Tropical Storm Allison caused catastrophic damage to the center. They undertook a major mitigation project to protect the center from another flood. “We came up with a list of things that we felt we could do better. Money was made available from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to enhance mitigation already in place.

“We used the funds to enhance our floodgate system,” said Director of Environmental Health and Safety Devina Patel. “Now we have 70-80 floodgates, a combination of different kinds of gates as well as submarine doors.”

FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program helped to fund the flood mitigation project. The work consisted of building interior and exterior flood walls and relocating critical mechanical and electrical life-saving equipment above the 50-year floodplain – floods that have a two percent probability (1 in 50) of being equaled or exceeded in any year. A concrete wall was constructed around the entire facility.

The project also called for the installation of 25 floodgates (located at entrances and drives), submarine doors, and a series of valves and lift stations to isolate the sanitary and storm systems.

“We have annual unannounced drills to test the flood gate system as well as the competency of the people who are installing the gates,” said Patel.

“A lesson learned from Tropical Storm Allison was that we needed a stationary command center,” said Patel. “Depending on who was in charge, the command center kept moving making communication an issue. Now we have one that’s stationary and fully staffed.”

To learn more about how cities and towns across Texas are building stronger, safer communities visit Best Practice Stories | FEMA.gov.

The center’s ranking reflects the expertise and accomplishments of the physicians, researchers, nurses, staff and volunteers in treating patients.

Safeguarding staff, patients and property is essential and the reason for multiple disaster mitigation and notification initiatives at the facility.

“It’s important that we be here for the patients. We don’t want to close. If there is a significant event, we want to be up and running as soon as possible to minimize down time,” said MD Anderson Executive Director of Environmental Health and Safety Matthew Berkheiser.

“Patients wanting their treatment are literally knocking on our door as soon as the storm is over. If you have a broken leg, you could probably wait a few days to get it checked. Our patients are very serious and committed to getting in here.”

In 2001, Tropical Storm Allison caused catastrophic damage to the center. They undertook a major mitigation project to protect the center from another flood. “We came up with a list of things that we felt we could do better. Money was made available from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to enhance mitigation already in place.

“We used the funds to enhance our floodgate system,” said Director of Environmental Health and Safety Devina Patel. “Now we have 70-80 floodgates, a combination of different kinds of gates as well as submarine doors.”

FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program helped to fund the flood mitigation project. The work consisted of building interior and exterior flood walls and relocating critical mechanical and electrical life-saving equipment above the 50-year floodplain – floods that have a two percent probability (1 in 50) of being equaled or exceeded in any year. A concrete wall was constructed around the entire facility.

The project also called for the installation of 25 floodgates (located at entrances and drives), submarine doors, and a series of valves and lift stations to isolate the sanitary and storm systems.

“We have annual unannounced drills to test the flood gate system as well as the competency of the people who are installing the gates,” said Patel.

“A lesson learned from Tropical Storm Allison was that we needed a stationary command center,” said Patel. “Depending on who was in charge, the command center kept moving making communication an issue. Now we have one that’s stationary and fully staffed.”

To learn more about how cities and towns across Texas are building stronger, safer communities visit Best Practice Stories | FEMA.gov.

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