How Hurricane Prep Can Save Lives

Key initiative with FedEx stages essential medicines at health centers in hurricane-prone areas before disaster strikes.



Jason Borillo remembers leaving his house the evening of Aug. 26, 2017 to meet up with a group of friends who had gathered to watch a big sporting event on TV.

While doing their best to enjoy the night’s festivities, the group kept a close eye on the developing weather situation. The rain intensified as Hurricane Harvey grew more powerful and settled over the Houston region.

Borillo could feel the water on his feet shortly after returning home. While some areas received little or no flood damage, other locations received as much as five feet of rain in a matter of days. Borillo’s home took on about 12 inches of water.

“We were all shocked,” he said. “We thought it was just another storm, and we’d hunker down until it passed. I was one of the luckier ones even though my house was flooded.”

Borillo knew there was nothing he could do to protect his home at that point, so he turned his attention to assisting others. Borillo, who works as a physician assistant for the Coastal Health and Wellness clinic in Texas City, Texas, picked up his stethoscope and started providing services.

“I could either think about my house, or I could get to work,” he said. “There was a shelter down the street where a lot of my neighbors and patients were, and they needed help.”

Torrential flooding forced thousands of Houston-area residents, including Borillo, out of their homes and left them in need of shelter, food and water. It also led to road and interstate closures, which presented a major barrier to delivering critical supplies and medicines.

“A lot of people didn’t have their medicine,” Borillo said. “When I evacuated, I was chest high in water. If I had any medication, it would have been completely wet. A lot of our patients have chronic diseases and their medicines weren’t available. There were no pharmacies open. You couldn’t even get to some of our streets. You had a lot of worried people without their medication.”

Through its Hurricane Preparedness Program, Direct Relief provides hospitals and clinics in high-risk areas throughout the United States with pre-positioned medicines and supplies to help meet the needs of patients immediately after disaster strikes. One Hurricane Prep Pack (HPP) can treat up to 100 people for five days. Direct Relief prepositioned 10 HPPs in Texas before Hurricane Harvey hit.

When FedEx began working with Direct Relief in 2003, the initial focus was on providing swift, targeted medical relief after disasters. Since that time, both organizations have grown to recognize the importance of preparing communities to respond to disasters before they strike. FedEx is the only company that provides cash support to Direct Relief for the HPP program.

In addition to preparedness efforts, Direct Relief and FedEx responded quickly in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, delivering vital shipments to affected areas. These efforts are part of the FedEx Cares Delivering for Good initiative, in which we use our global networks and logistics expertise to provide support for organizations with mission-critical needs in times of disasters.

Explore the map below to see where Hurricane Prep Packs are staged in advance of hurricane season.

Click the map above to view a live, interactive map of hurricane tracks.

Editor’s note: The post below was originally published by FedEx on July 12, 2018.

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