Fluor Employee Rescues Hundreds Fleeing Hurricane Harvey Flooding

📅   Tue September 19, 2017 - National Edition


After the storm hit the Texas Gulf Coast on Aug. 25, Sissa spent three days ferrying about 300 people who were fleeing floodwaters to safety. From behind the wheel of his truck, he organized rescue operations, transported paramedics to the people who needed them most, and even helped deliver a rescue boat.
After the storm hit the Texas Gulf Coast on Aug. 25, Sissa spent three days ferrying about 300 people who were fleeing floodwaters to safety. From behind the wheel of his truck, he organized rescue operations, transported paramedics to the people who needed them most, and even helped deliver a rescue boat.

With 10 years of experience in the construction industry, six years of living Fluor's Core Values and a two-and-a-half ton military vehicle, Nick Sissa was well prepared for Hurricane Harvey.

The contract manager at the U.S. Gulf Coast Petrochemicals (CP Chem) project has served in many different disciplines, as a field engineer, a construction superintendent and other roles. After the storm hit the Texas Gulf Coast on Aug. 25, Sissa spent three days ferrying about 300 people who were fleeing floodwaters to safety. From behind the wheel of his truck, he organized rescue operations, transported paramedics to the people who needed them most, and even helped deliver a rescue boat. He placed one of his infant son's baby bottles on the dash to remind him of Fluor's first Core Value: Safety.

“That was the first thing that crossed my mind. I kept telling myself, I have a family that needs me, so I need to make sure that at the end of this, I can go back home to them,” Sissa said. “When you respond to something like that, obviously, you don't want to make the situation worse, so we were trying to make sure that we didn't put ourselves or any of the people we picked up in any worse danger. I didn't know what the conditions were, so I just took it really slow at first.”

Along the way, he assembled a team of like-minded strangers, volunteers to ride with him, helping him navigate or wade out to those in need. As they drove from neighborhood to neighborhood, plucking people from the floodwaters and getting them to higher ground, they eventually encountered the commanding officer of a local fire department who asked Sissa and his team to assist.

“From there, it was systematic decision-making of how we need to run operations,” he said. “In this situation, everyone was cut off. First responders couldn't get in, people couldn't get out. We kind of just had to grab resources, put together our own chain of command and get to work. I met with our team, we asked the commanding officer what we needed to do and told him our plan. Being able to assess the resources we had and making quick decisions, things I've learned during my time at Fluor and in the industry, really helped with that.”