July 2016  

Fireworks Safety Tips
The Harris County Fire Marshal's Office (HCFMO) is asking everyone to be careful and reconsider their use of fireworks this season. Although Harris County has recently received substantial rainfall, there is always the potential for fireworks-related fires. Careless use of fireworks can start a fire or cause injury.
"Fireworks are illegal in most cities and are banned in certain unincorporated areas of the county," said Harris County Fire Marshal Mike Montgomery. "Additionally, fireworks can be dangerous and cause serious injury if not used properly."
For a safer July 4th holiday, Montgomery suggests the following tips:
  Read and follow fireworks directions and warning labels.
  Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  Only light one firework at a time - well away from buildings, homes or vehicles.
Don't forget your pets. The following tips will help ensure that not only you, but also your pets, have a safe 4th of July:
  Do not take your pets to a fireworks display.
  Do not leave them in the car by themselves or unattended outside.
  Keep all pets inside. If you are having guests, keep the pets in a room that is off-limits to the guests and provide the animals with plenty of food and water.
  Create a calming environment. Surround pets with their favorite toys and other familiar objects.
  Play soothing music or keep the TV on and keep the room as quiet as possible to outside noise by closing windows, doors and blinds.
  Do not let pets sniff or ingest fireworks. Aside from a severe burn, your animal can become ill or even die due to ingesting chemicals and heavy metals in fireworks.
  Make sure your pet is licensed and wearing its license tag. Consult with your veterinarian and seriously consider micro chipping your four-legged friend. These two items better ensure the pet is able to reunite with you if it gets lost.
Residents are urged to contact the HCFMO by emailing fmosupport@fmo.hctx.net, calling 281-999-2200, or visiting http://www.hcfmo.net to register any complaints about the sale or illegal use of fireworks in the unincorporated areas.
Fire Safety Tips for Apartments and Condominiums

The number of accidental apartment fires across Harris County is increasing. The primary causes of these fires have been unattended cooking, carelessly discarded smoking materials and candles left burning. Regardless of the cause, the result has been the same – significant displacement of families, property loss and injuries to the public and firefighters.

The Harris County Fire Marshal's Office (HCFMO) urges residents of apartments or condominiums to discuss fire safety with family, neighbors and landlords. Do you and your family know what to do if a fire happens in your building? Having a fire escape plan and practicing the plan is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones.
"Smoke alarms play a key role in your home fire escape plan. Working smoke alarms give you and your family early warning so you can get outside quickly," said Harris County Fire Marshal Mike Montgomery. "It is important to have and practice a home fire escape plan."
Every fire is different. You must act quickly when you hear the alarm or discover a fire. State law requires every apartment to have a working smoke detector when residents move in. After that, residents are responsible for changing the batteries. Batteries should be replaced at least once a year. A good time to replace the batteries is when clocks have to be changed in the fall and spring for Daylight Saving Time. Test your smoke alarm monthly.
Know the emergency procedures outlined in the building's fire safety plan. Identify two ways to get out of your apartment and select an outside meeting place that is a safe distance away from the building where everyone will meet once they have escaped. If there are infants, older adults, family members with mobility issues or anyone who does not wake to the sound of the smoke alarm, make sure that someone is assigned to assist them. Once outside, stay outside. Do not try to reenter the building.
The HCFMO has developed a plan to reduce fire risks in Harris County, but it needs your help. Please take caution when cooking, smoking or burning candles. It only takes a few minutes for a fire to overtake an apartment. Pay attention when parking. Do not park in front of fire hydrants or in fire lanes. Fire trucks need quick and close access to buildings.
Get more information about fire safety and fire prevention at the HCFMO's website, www.hcfmo.net .
To submit a request for a member of the HCFMO Community Outreach Team to meet with the residents of your apartment or condominium, email fmosupport@fmo.hctx.net.