Spring of 2021 brought snowstorms to Texas. While the first of these storms provided a bit of “winter wonderland” to an area that does not receive much snow, the intensity and duration of the storms proved disastrous for Texas residents. The storms and record low temperatures caused significant problems for the Texas power grid, exposing residents to extreme cold, reducing water availability and causing various other problems. To help Texas residents through this disaster, nonprofit organizations including BCFS Health and Human Services offered their capabilities. BCFS Health and Human Services is a leader in emergency management and disaster response, medical care, and a variety of other capabilities. It brought its experience managing multiple natural disasters, caring for vulnerable populations, and repurposing facilities to the Texas snowstorm disaster.
The organization’s work was required throughout the state. It helped San Antonio residents stay warm in a local convention center by providing a temporary shelter for warmth, with blankets, cots, and the security of backup generators. BCFS Health and Human Services also procured 300 pallets of bottled water which it provided to the San Antonio Food Bank and other locations, including the residents of a large apartment complex that was damaged by fire.
The organization reported six of its Texas facilities were without power and/or water during and after the storms. The organization was prepared for this type of scenario with on-site generators, and plenty of food and water to help its residents and staff members manage a disaster. Its dedicated staff put in extra hours during this disaster to ensure the youth at the residential facilities received the best possible care and were kept from harm.
An organization in dire need of assistance during the snowstorm was Breckenridge Village of Tyler (BVT), a nonprofit offering care to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The facility’s managers realized it would need to evacuate residents due to the power outage and the falling temperatures that would reach unsafe levels. They worked with BCFS Health and Human Services to relocate staff and residents to a nearby chapel where emergency generators provided electricity for heaters, and cots and blankets ensured comfort.