Health Science Center offers help to Houston-area U.T. institutions

San Antonio (Sept. 22, 2005) – Leaders of The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio said Thursday they are working with their sister campuses – the U.T. M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, the U.T. Medical Branch at Galveston and the U.T. Health Science Center at Houston – to accommodate colleagues who need assistance because of Hurricane Rita.

On Wednesday, Health Science Center President Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., asked faculty and staff to provide accommodations for evacuees from the three Houston-area institutions. Nearly 200 responses are being triaged.

Health Science Center leaders have a plan in place to respond to any campus needs that might arise in San Antonio. With Rita heading east in recent hours, more emphasis is being placed on the Houston and Galveston colleagues. Administrators were in meetings to prepare for every contingency.

Earlier expectations of heavy rain and high wind from Rita in San Antonio are dissipating, but the Health Science Center is prepared nonetheless and leaders view this as an excellent readiness exercise. James D. Kazen, executive vice president for administration, said the Health Science Center is taking every precaution to protect the missions of the institution.

Kazen earlier asked for the Health Science Center community’s cooperation in this effort. Faculty and staff were advised to shut down and unplug computers for the weekend and to perform computer backups. Laboratories were asked to make sure that all critical experiments were supported by emergency generator power. These precautions are still in place.

Facilities management employees secured all loose exterior items, such as trash cans.

All emergency generators are checked weekly, and the Health Science Center campuses have a three-day emergency fuel supply. The laboratory animal resources department made plans to protect all research animals, including a three-day supply of bottled water.

The division of general stores purchased additional quantities of dry ice to help researchers in the event of a power outage.

The latest information about the Health Science Center is available at the Campus Status link on the Health Science Center home page or at (210) 567-SNOW. In the event that icy road conditions or other occurrences prompt a campus closing, early closing or delayed start to a workday throughout the year, the Health Science Center external affairs office will notify San Antonio radio and TV stations as quickly as possible.

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