The Emergency Operations Division houses the Harris County Hazardous Materials Response Team (HCHMRT), often referred to as HazMat. This team is responsible for the effective planning, mitigation and recovery from emergencies and disasters – whether natural, accidental or deliberate. This program supports fire departments and law enforcement with hazardous spills and chemical releases.
The Investigation Division of the Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office investigates fires warranting investigation under rules adopted by the Harris County Commissioners Court. Investigators determine the origin and cause of fires and or explosions. When the possibility of criminal intent exists investigators may collect evidence and when appropriate file criminal charges with a court of competent jurisdiction. Investigators are often required to testify in criminal cases. The investigation division is required to respond to fire incidents that occur in the unincorporated county that result in a fatality, a circumstance where an individual requires medical transport to a medical facility as a result of the fire, the cause of the fire is undetermined or the cause is incendiary. HCFMO investigators also investigate the circumstances of life threatening injuries and fatalities that occur as a result of electrocution through an agreement with the Harris County Institute of Forensic Science.
The Prevention Division is responsible for the effective prevention of fires through the inspection of buildings during and after construction to determine compliance with the adopted county fire code. Furthermore, prevention personnel conduct periodic inspections of commercial and public buildings upon request or in response to citizen complaints, for the presence of hazardous conditions and ensuring corrections through the issuance of order, violations, and citations. The division also provides a wide variety of fire/life safety programs for the general public and first responders.
The Services Support Division is responsible for effective accounting, budgeting, employee personnel assistance, and payroll procedures. It supplies required documentation for purchases authorized by the Commissioners Court and assist all divisions with preparations of annual budget.
The Operational Support Division manages and oversees the agency’s strategic planning initiatives, training management, logistical management, liaison program, intelligence gathering, and outreach services.
The Outreach Section consists of two critical components; public education and youth fire-setter intervention. The public education section coordinates to provide fire and life safety education campaigns aligned with national and locally developed strategies. The second section is our Youth Fire-setter Intervention Program. By working with our county’s youth to intervene in potential harmful and illegal actions, we can ensure that we are building proponents for fire/life safety rather than influencing them negatively at a young age.