Around Katy April 2016

| April 1, 2016

(L-R): HCESD 48 Commissioners Derrick Hughes and Bret Fossum talking with LT Simon Vandyk about the importance of having a working smoke alarm.

(L-R): HCESD 48 Commissioners Derrick Hughes and Bret Fossum talking with LT Simon Vandyk about the importance of having a working smoke alarm.


The Harris County Emergency Services District 48 Fire Department (HCESD 48), the American Red Cross, Kingsland Baptist Church and Katy Area Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) members all went door-to-door Saturday to alert residents in the Memorial Parkway community about the importance of having working smoke alarms and to install new detectors in homes where needed — as part of the Home Fire Prevention Campaign.

HCESD 48 firefighters and volunteers from the Texas Gulf Coast Red Cross chapter, Kingsland Baptist Church and Katy Area CERT divided into several teams on separate routes through select sections of the Memorial Parkway community. Some groups installed the smoke alarms and Carbon Monoxide (CO) detectors while other groups moved ahead of them to identify houses who wanted to have their systems checked. By the end of the day, 172 smoke alarms had been installed in over 60 homes previously lacking proper smoke alarm systems. Also, thanks to Kingsland Baptist Church donating additional funds and a partnership with Ace Hardware – Cinco Ranch, HCESD 48 was able to install 45 CO detectors.

Jeffrey Stuart of the American Red Cross Texas Gulf Coast said spreading awareness about fire alarms can save a lot of lives. “The goal for the Home Fire Prevention Campaign, launched by the Red Cross, is to install 5,000 smoke alarms in the Texas Gulf Coast Region by June and overall to help reduce fire deaths by 25 percent by 2019.”

HCESD 48 noticed over the last several months an increase in residential fires where residents were barely escaping their homes because they didn’t have working smoke alarms. “This observation led the department to believe that there were probably several homes in the area that didn’t have working smoke alarms installed,” said Fire Chief Jeff Hevey. “This is a big concern.”

Meanwhile, HCESD 48 Commissioner Derrick Hughes noted that talking to unprepared residents after a tragedy is clearly ineffective. “Typically, we meet people on their worst day — when a disaster has already happened,” Hughes said. “This blitz gives the department an opportunity to get out and meet our neighbors and educate them on ways to keep them from having a disaster.”

Residents in the area were very receptive in letting the volunteers and the fire department into their homes to check their smoke alarms and install new ones. Many residents were unaware that they had outdated smoke alarms.

The Smoke Alarm Blitz is just one of many efforts the HCESD 48 Fire Department is planning to increase safety awareness in the Katy area. Lt. Simon Vandyk said a top priority is to bring more programs like the blitz to the area within the coming year. “We are always looking for opportunities like the American Red Cross’ Home Fire Prevention Campaign. I’ve been working in the Katy area as a volunteer firefighter for years, and I’m extremely excited to see that the HCESD 48 commissioners are very supportive in helping us to move toward becoming a fire department of the future, by allowing us to execute and implement safety programs like this.”

To learn more information about smoke alarm safety, visit To get more info about the smoke alarm blitz, email For more about the Home Fire Prevention Campaign,­fire/prevent-home-fire.


Around Katy

Category: Around Katy

Comments are closed.