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Fire Safety Tips

Educational Occupancies
The Harris County Fire Marshal's Office  is currently developing fire safety guidelines for customers.    The purpose of this pilot project is to help customers comply with with Fire Code standards and procedures.   The following guidelines apply to educational facilities.

Fire Safety Guidelines for Educational Facilities:

Fireworks and celebrations go together, especially during the holiday season. But fireworks can be dangerous when used improperly, causing serious burn and eye injuries. That ’s why the Harris County Fire Marshal strongly recommends that you: LEAVE FIREWORKS TO THE PROFESSIONALS!
If celebrating with fireworks is legal in your area, and you decide to use them, follow these safety tips:

Before you shoot:
  • Only buy from reliable fireworks sellers   
  • Never experiment or attempt to make your own fireworks
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place   
  • Find a smooth, flat surface -- away from the house and other buildings, or dry leaves and grass  
  • Be sure to have water handy in case of a malfunction or fire  

When you're ready to shoot:
  • Always read and follow label directions, warnings, and instructions
  • Be considerate of your neighbors
  • Only ignite fireworks outdoors, and away from houses and other buildings
  • Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks
  • Light only one firework at a time
  • Never try to re-light fireworks that have not fully functioned
  • Never give fireworks to small children, even sparklers can cause serious burns
  • Never throw fireworks at another person, vehicle, or animal
  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket
  • Never shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers
  • Dispose of spent fireworks properly
Cold Weather
  • Heating Appliances - Have all heating appliances checked.
  • Space Heaters - Only use ones with a "tip off switch" shut off and do not store or place any items that may catch fire within 36 inches (or 3 ft)
  • Fire Escape Plan - If you do not have one develop it NOW! Practice two ways to escape with your family - know where you will meet outside the home and tell your children 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 it alarms leave out of the residence and call 911

  • Artificial Trees - Ensure your artificial tree is fire retardant - look on label.
  • Real Trees - Do not place near a heat source i.e.: heat vent or fireplace, keep water in the bottom and do not leave up more than 2 weeks.
  • Christmas Lights - Inspect for frayed wire or bare spots, do not use if these exist. The standard allotment of strands is three connected together at any one time.
  • Electrical Outlets - Do not overload electrical outlets; use a surge protector not a power strip to connect lights and other Christmas decorations.
  • Decorations - Remember to use decorations that are "flame retardant", this includes flower, stuffed animal and ornament decorations.
  • Candles - Do not light near trees, decorations and always remember to put them completely out!
  • Batteries - DO NOT USE THE BATTERIES FROM YOUR SMOKE DETECTORS TO TEST GAMES OR TOYS! This teaches your children bad habits and you may forget to replace them!
Night Clubs
Every day, millions of people wake up, go to work or school, and take part in social events. There have been many deadly fires in in buildings classified as assembly occupancies -- sports arenas, restaurants, churches, meeting halls, nightclubs, and similar places.   Take the time to learn about the public assembly buildings you may enter so that you know what to do if the unexpected happens
  • Take a good look - Does the building appear to be in a condition that makes you feel comfortable? Is the main entrance wide and does it open outward to allow easy exit? Is the outside area clear of materials stored against the building or blocking exits?
  • Have a communication plan -  Identify a relative or friend beforehand to contact in case of emergency and you are separated from family or friends.
  • Plan a meeting place -  Pick a meeting place outside to meet family or friends with whom you are attending the function. If there is an emergency, be sure to meet them there.
  • Locate exits immediately -  When you enter a building look for all available exits. Are the exits clearly marked and well lit? Some exits may be in front and some in back of you. Always be prepared to use the exit closest to you. (You may not be able to use the main exit.)  
  • Check for clear exit paths -  Make sure aisles are wide enough and not obstructed by chairs or furniture. Check to make sure your exit door is not blocked or chained. If there are not at least two clearly marked exits or exit paths are blocked, report the violation to management and leave the building if it is not immediately addressed. Call the local fire marshal to register a complaint.
  • Make sure you feel safe  - Does the building appear to be overcrowded? Are there fire sources such as candles burning, cigarettes or cigars burning, pyrotechnics, or other heat sources that may make you feel unsafe? Are there safety systems in place such as alternative exits, sprinklers, and smoke alarms? Ask the management for clarification on your concerns. If you do not feel safe in the building, leave immediately.
  • React Immediately - If an alarm sounds, you see smoke or fire, or other unusual disturbances immediately exit the building in an orderly fashion. Use your closest exit – keep in mind that it may not be the main exit.
  • Get out, stay out! - Once you have escaped, stay out. Under no circumstances should you ever go back into a burning building. Let trained firefighters conduct rescue operations.