In late Summer of 2017, Hurricane Harvey made landfall in the Gulf of Mexico region of Texas and Louisiana. In addition to the 100+ lives lost, the Category 4 hurricane triggered unprecedented flooding that inundated hundreds of thousands of homes, commercial and government buildings in Southeast Texas and surrounding areas.
After initial rescue missions and safety protocols were underway, Polygon pitched in to recover critical documents, archives and books of dozens of businesses and organizations throughout the region.
“We started by reaching out to our Code Blue clients, letting them know we are ready to help when they were ready,” said Chris Chylack who was a Project Supervisor during the time and now District Manager of Polygon’s Document Center in Allentown, PA. “We had already mobilized equipment, people, and partners in just a few days. We knew we needed boots on the ground to accelerate the recovery and minimize damage.”
While some teams worked on drying out buildings with climate control and water-extraction equipment, Chris and his team spent over 3 weeks meeting with clients, evaluating damage, coordinating emergency pack-outs, and managing shipments of damaged valuable materials to Polygon’s State-of-the-Art Processing Centers.
“We would inventory materials at multiple sites – many in Harris County - load boxes into refrigerated trucks to stabilize and drive them to our National Document Recovery Processing Centers. I remember moving 10, maybe 12 trailers full 53’ freezer trailers.”
The influx required Polygon to leverage network partners for safe storage until materials could be processed in specialized freeze-dry chambers and handled by our Technicians at our Processing Centers.
“We helped a lot of organizations in a short period of time. The early assessment and pack-out phases during an event can be a chaotic and emotional experience for our clients,” Chylack explained. “That is why it is important that we communicate clearly and often from the start, to allow for the most effective recovery process for all involved.”
Chris spent time with clients to understand of the nature of the materials and organize high-priority items that might be needed for insurance or legal matters. “Knowing what they care about most is critical to ensuring access to documents during the restoration process and ultimately the safe and timely return of documents.”
- Harris County Jail and Judge Office
- Justice of the Peace
- City of Houston - City Hall
- Schools and Museums
- Nursing Homes
- Hilton Garden Hotel
- Lake Forest Utility District
- San Jacinto County and Orange County Courthouses
- Chevron Phillips
- Du Pont
- Murphy Exploration and Production Company
- Suburban Propane
For more on our projects, helpful information and tips, click here to join our newsletter.