Even though the flood waters from Hurricane Harvey have long since receded, the need for support across our area remains massive. As our communities continue to recover, families with children are among those with the greatest needs. Here are a few ways you can help Houston’s kids get the support they need as recovery efforts continue.

Save the Children

Hundreds of displaced families with young children are still being housed in shelters, and Save the Children is making sure they have what they need with family-friendly supplies and services. A donation of $15 will provide arts, crafts, and recreation supplies, and $500 will provide child-friendly play spaces for 100 displaced children. Click here to learn more about Save the Children’s relief efforts, and click here to find out how you can help.

Houston Food Bank

Many displaced families with kids are struggling to provide for basic needs, and the Houston Food Bank is helping by distributing food and other supplies. Click here if you’d like to make a monetary donation, or you can bring food and other items to 535 Portwall. According to the Food Bank’s website, most-needed items include

  • Canned, ready-to-eat vegetables and fruit with pull tops
  • Protein in pouches or pull-top cans (tuna, beef stew, chili, canned chicken)
  • Peanut butter
  • Snacks (granola bars, breakfast bars, etc.)
  • Toiletries
  • Paper goods
  • Diapers
  • Cleaning supplies (mops, mop buckets, brooms, bleach wipes, bleach, garbage bags, bug spray)

Houston Children’s Charity

When displaced families are able to return to their homes, many will have no furniture to come back to, due to destruction from flood waters and mold. Houston Children’s Charity is teaming up with Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa to ensure that each child has a bed of his or her own waiting for them when the family is able to return home. Their goal is to raise $500,000 to purchase 5,000 beds; click here to make a donation.

 

The people of Houston have shown tremendous community spirit in helping each other recover from this disaster, especially our neighbors with little ones. Let’s keep the spirit alive until all children have what they need to learn, grow, play, and just be kids again.

On August 25-27, Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc on southeast Texas, causing historic flooding and leaving many areas in shambles. If your school, park, or neighborhood playground was affected by the flood, here are a few tips to help you bring the fun back while ensuring the safety of kids and families.

Inspect All Equipment

If your playground was submerged in flood waters — even just a few inches — it’s important that you inspect it carefully before allowing kids to play on it. Here are a few things to look out for:

  • Water may be trapped in double-walled components like slides and climbers. If a piece of equipment is holding water, it needs to be drained before it’s safe to play on. Drill a small hole in a low, unused location (such as the very bottom of a slide) and allow the water to drain.
  • Erosion may have occurred around the base of the equipment. As flood water drains, it can carry large amounts of soil with it, and erosion can make playground equipment unstable. If you notice significant erosion, keep the playground closed and contact the equipment manufacturer.
  • Hardware such as nuts and bolts may have become compromised. The force of flood waters can loosen and even sweep away hardware elements. Inspect each piece of equipment carefully for loose or missing hardware, and tighten or replace as needed.

Clean It Up

Flood waters can contain numerous toxins, so playgrounds that have been exposed to flood waters must be thoroughly cleaned before they can be safely used. Pressure washers are a good choice for this task; just be careful with your pressure settings to avoid damaging the equipment.

Check Moving Parts

Moving equipment like merry-go-rounds can trap debris and sand in their internal mechanisms if they’re submerged in flood waters. Check each piece of equipment by moving it around a bit. If it doesn’t move normally, try flushing the moving parts with clean water. If that fixes the problem, let the equipment dry and then lubricate according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If the problem persists, contact the manufacturer.

Check Safety Surfacing

Pay special attention to your safety surfacing, as it’s the component most likely to suffer flood damage. Once you’ve removed any large debris such as branches and trash, inspect the area for missing, torn, or otherwise damaged surfacing. Different types of surfacing require different approaches to cleaning and restoration, so review your manufacturer’s recommendations, and contact them if you have questions.

Keep Records

You will need documentation for insurance claims and other purposes. Take photos and videos of any damage as soon as you notice it, and make a list of all actions taken, such as cleaning or replacement of components.

 

If you have any additional questions about restoring your playground after the flood, please feel free to call us at (713) 939-9888.

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