Winter Fire Safety is Top Priority
Harris County, Texas -- With the onset of winter weather, the Harris County Fire Marshal is urging residents to be concerned about continued fire risk even with the recent rains. For many people, the current cold spell means increased use of space heaters and appliances. Officials urge residents to practice the following winter safety tips:
- -Heating Appliances - Have all heating appliances and furnaces checked for proper operation.
- -Space Heaters - Only use space heaters with a "tip off switch" shut off. Do not store or place any items that may catch fire within 3 feet of the heater.
- -Fire Escape Plan – Have a family plan. Practice two ways to escape with your family. Know where you will meet outside the home and tell your children. Once you and your family are outside, DO NOT GO BACK INSIDE!
- -Smoke Detectors - Test your smoke detectors at least once a month.
- -Ovens - DO NOT use your oven or stove to warm your home!
- -Carbon Monoxide Detectors - If you have natural gas in your home install a Carbon Monoxide Detector on each level - if the alarm sounds exit the house and call 911.
In other fire safety news, today Commissioners Court approved an order to prohibit the sale and use of restricted fireworks—stick rockets and missiles with fins—in all areas of unincorporated Harris County due to dry vegetation and the abundance of dead trees across the county. The restriction begins December 20th and will last through the New Year holiday. Violation of the order is a “Class C” misdemeanor and carries a fine of up to $500 a day. Fireworks Safety Tips can be found at: http://www.hcfmo.net/safetytips.aspx.
Although recent winter weather patterns have included much-needed rain, the amount of dry vegetation and dead trees pose a hazardous fire risk that will only increase with the expected freezing conditions. Due this, the county is not lifting its burn ban. Burning of household waste is allowed if done in an enclosure that will contain all flames, embers and sparks.
“Public safety is the top priority for our residents,” said Fire Marshal Mike Montgomery. “Many people don’t realize that burning debris piles in Harris County is not allowed, even if the ban is lifted, except when no practical alternative to burning exists. And only the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality can make an exception and issue a permit.”
For more information on the fireworks ban, contact:
Lt. Todd Mitchell, HCFMO
For more information on outdoor burning regulations, contact:
Jennifer L. Wheeler
Compliance Manager, Harris County Pollution Control Services Department
For more information on the burn ban, contact:
Asst. Chief Laurie Christensen, HCFMO