Free water bottles provided to victims of blazing heat on gamedays

Photo courtesy of Wyndi Klement

By Caroline Yablon | Reporter

Baylor’s’ Environmental Health and Safety Department passed out water bottles before the past two home games in front of the bridge as a way to provide hydration to folks walking long distances to the stadium in the blazing heat.

The Environmental Health and Safety Department‘s (EHS) mission is to provide services that promote a healthy and safe environment for the Baylor community, according to the EHS website.

EHS is doing just that. They recognized a need for thousands of Baylor fans and responded.

“We recognized a need for shade, water and seats for some of us to cool off, catch our breaths or just give little legs a chance to recharge before heading over the bridge to watch our Baylor Bears play some football. With the daytime high of 98 degrees on Sept. 1 and 93 degrees on Sept. 15, the need for some cold water and a chance to cool off was greater than ever,” Wyndi Klement, biosafety officer for EHS, said.

EHS, with the help of volunteers, has set up the “Cool Down Station” next to the law school a few hours before the last two home games. They passed out ice cold water bottles and wet towels to people as they were walking to the stadium and provided a place for people to sit down under a fan and take a break from walking.

Dennis Nolan, director of the Environmental Health and Safety Department, said some people walk up to a mile in the heat before they even get to the bridge — which is another 700 to 800 feet across.

According to Brent Jones, safety manager for EHS, volunteers handed out 1,200 water bottles during the first game, with last weekend’s game increasing to 3,100 bottles plus 400 cups of water. He said that the water bottles have been supplied by Baylor Student Activates and the Red Cross.

Jones said the elderly and people with medical conditions and small children who get overheated have greatly benefited by being able to take a rest in the shade before walking down the bridge to the stadium.

Although the tent is mainly set up to cater to people heading to the game, the tent is still up for fans to hang out on their way back from the game, too.

Additionally, If someone has a special need and needs assistance getting back to their vehicle, EHS has a shuttle service to help.

Jones said during the last game, they were able to transport seven to eight individuals in need back to their car.

EHS will open the tent back up for this weekend’s game, but they do not know about future games yet.

Nolan said the past two home games and Saturday’s game were pilots to show if there was a need for this service on game days. They were able to show there was a need by nearly doubling in water bottles each game.

“The goal is to establish a way to get support for this since it was a pilot to show that it was needed,” Nolan added.

He added that it is a game by game basis as of now.

“The bottom line is we do this to make a difference. And everyone who gets a water bottle that is hot and thirsty is a victory. Anytime we transport someone with a broken foot is good for them and good for us because this is what we represent — safety and healthiness, that’s out mission for the university and being able to fulfill that is a good feeling,” Jones said.