Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 28, 2015

Harris County Releases New PSAs in Time for National Preparedness Month We're Prepared, Are You?

(Harris County, Texas) – The Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management (HCOHSEM) has released two new disaster preparedness public service announcements (PSAs).

"The PSAs are part of Harris County’s ongoing public awareness campaign to encourage residents to be disaster prepared," said Harris County Judge Ed Emmett. "Our area is not immune to natural or manmade disasters, so we are committed to reminding our residents to be prepared for all types of emergencies."

The disaster preparedness PSAs were produced in the Harris County Emergency Operations Center and remind residents that they cannot control when a crisis will strike, but they can prepare. The PSAs show various emergency situations and end with the catchy tagline – We're prepared, are you?

HCOHSEM is distributing the new 15 and 30-second spots, in both English and Spanish, to local media and emergency management partners. The PSAs will also be posted on YouTube at www.youtube.com/user/HCOHSEM.

"Harris County works year round to educate and prepare our residents through PSAs, outreach events, publications and other materials,” added Emmett. “But it’s up to each individual follow through with their own disaster plan."

HCOHSEM released its hurricane preparedness PSAs this summer urging residents to be prepared during hurricane season, which runs through November 30th. The disaster preparedness PSAs have been released in time for National Preparedness Month which runs through the end of September.

Residents can stay informed about area emergencies through HCOHSEM's Facebook and Twitter accounts, and at www.readyharris.org.

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With extreme heat conditions, we are beginning to see jurisdiction responses throughout the Region and Harris County. Listed below are just a few that you may or may not be aware of happening. If I missed anything, please let me know and I will pass along the updates. Thanks for your continued heat and fire safety awareness and preparedness.

  1. Burn bans (counties): attachment (8-11-15) http://tfsfrp.tamu.edu/wildfires/DecBan.png
    • Harris County - voted to enact a ban on 8-11-15
    • Montgomery County – voted to enact a ban on 8-11-15
  2. Water restrictions:
    • Harris County - Seabrook (Stage 1), El Lago (Stage 1)
    • Montgomery County - The Woodlands (Stage 1)
  3. Heat Response Plans activated/ Cooling Centers opened:
  4. Drought Monitor: attached map as of 8-6-15 (http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/data/pdfs/20150804/20150804_TX_trd.pdf)
    • Abnormally Dry counties - Harris, Galveston, Chambers, Montgomery, Brazoria (partial)
    • Moderate Dry counties - Brazoria (partial)

Montgomery County Commissioners moments ago instituted a BURN BAN for Montgomery County. This is in effect until further notice.

More than half of Montgomery County is now in the 700-800 KBI Index. This is very close to where we were during the wildfires of 2011. Just an afternoon shower will not ease this as the the tops of the grass and brush will remain dry as the water is quickly absorbed.

The forecast for the next two weeks is even worse as the KBI Index increases.

WITH THE BURN BAN-NO OUTDOOR BURNING OF ANY TYPE IS ALLOWED

Texas Map

In response to the increased risk of outdoor fire, the Harris County Commissioners' Court has enacted restrictions on uncontained burning.

The burn restrictions require the use of covered burn containers for the incineration of household trash, vegetation, and campfires. Permitted burning activities such as training fires, prescribed burns, and ceremonial fires are unaffected by today's action.

Violation of the burn ban is class C misdemeanor.

"While this is a precautionary restriction and not a total burn ban, residents should not discount the growing fire risk in the county," said Harris County Fire Marshal Mike Montgomery. "By taking protective measures now, we can reduce the risk of wildfires as we head into the late summer."

Montgomery urges residents to postpone outdoor burning until its cooler and there is more moisture in the air, and to keep all fires attended, with a water hose or other means to keep a fire from escaping or spreading.

Montgomery emphasized that residents should report unattended fires immediately by calling 9-1-1. Even a small fire can spread quickly, and as our area continues to dry out, heavier fuels such as trees and downed timber can be ignited more easily, and take more effort to extinguish.

The Keetch Byram Drought Index (KBDI) has increased over the past month, peaking today at an average of 677, with some areas as high as 722. The KBDI measures rainfall deficits on a scale of 1-800 with 800 being the worst case, representing a need for approximately eight inches of rain to fully saturate the ground. Any reading above 600 represents higher fire danger, while readings of 700 or more represent very high to extreme fire danger.

For more information online about outdoor burning restrictions, please visit our website: www.hcfmo.net.

Wildfire safety tips are available from Texas Forest Service.

For more information, contact:

Laurie L. Christensen
Assistant Chief
Direct: 281-436-8021
e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

MADD Southeast Texas will be hosting a Power of Parents Facilitators Training on Wednesday, August 26, 2015. We would like for you to come out to be trained in this worthwhile program to help combat the problem of underage drinking. . After being trained, facilitators will be able to reach out to community groups and organizations to present the Power of Parents curriculum. Please see the attached flyer for details about the training. Space is limited so please RSVP no later than Friday, August 21st. We hope to see you there!!

You can learn more about Power of Parents at http://www.madd.org/powerofparents.

Council Members,

I hope you are all doing well and staying hydrated in this heat!

I wanted to let you know that HAAM will be having a mobile Food Fair this Thursday, August 13 here in Summerwood. This is an event for those who are in need of food to drive thru and pick up a bag of FREE food. It is open to anyone in the community, regardless of their status. Please help to spread the word to your congregation members and those you help who are in need.

It is being advertised at HAAM, and on community Facebook pages for FC, SW, ES, and HKA (Humble, Kingwood, Atascocita).

I am attaching a flyer in English and Spanish as well. We will also be collecting back to school supplies for HAAM at this event. However, no donation is necessary to receive a bag of food.

Here are the details:

HAAM Food Fair
Thursday, August 13
11 am - 1 pm
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints located in Summerwood
14350 N. Sam Houston Parkway E., Houston, TX 77044

Mission NortheastDear Friends:

Have you been voting??

Mission Northeast in New Caney, with Pam Dickson as director, is one of five city-wide "2015 TexanPlus Champion" nominees. The organizations were nominated based upon their helping and supporting of older adults to live healthier and happier lives.

  • The "Grand Champion" will be decided by voting during the period Monday, August 3 through midnight Friday September 18.
  • You are able to vote every 24 hours on each device you have - computer, iPad, iPhone.
  • It only takes less than a minute to log on and vote!
  • Faithfulness in voting daily will be very important. The organization that is selected as Grand Champion will receive $25,000.

Following are the directions for voting for Pam Dickson and Mission Northeast:

  • Go to www.texanpluschampions.com beginning on August 3rd.
  • On your computer: click on the orange button at the top of the screen that says Vote for the Grand Champion.
  • On your phone: click on the blue button at the top of the screen that says Vote Now.
  • Then you will see a grey poll with all of the names listed. Select the button next to the name of Pam Dickson and Mission Northeast. You will then need to press the orange "vote" button.

Anyone, anywhere can vote - outside Texas and/or outside the United States - so send this information to your family, friends, neighbors, church and civic groups, Twitter, Facebook, and anyone else you can think of.

Thank you for helping Mission Northeast win $25,000 to help needy seniors!

Mission Northeast is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit that serves over 20,000 individuals living in poverty each year. Our service area covers 11 zip codes, over 800 square miles and parts of 3 counties - Montgomery, Harris and Liberty.

What is the danger?

Happy 4th of July!Fireworks are an Independence Day tradition. However, they can also be extremely dangerous, causing severe burns, eye injuries and even death.

What you should do:

Follow these safety tips when using fireworks:

  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them. In the City of Houston and other parts of Harris County, fireworks are illegal and users can face legal consequences.
  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
  • Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don't realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees - hot enough to melt some metals.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.

Where you can learn more?

CRTFIn case you didn’t know, this is National Lightning Awareness Week! In case you didn’t know, there are approximately 25 million cloud-to-ground lightning strikes in the United States alone. It is very important to be proactive when planning for severe weather, such as thunderstorms.

I have downloaded and attached, in pdf and word, the blog with statistics on lightning strikes and the damage they can cause. From the blog and infographic you will learn:

  • Number of people struck by lightning
  • How fatal and often strikes are
  • What can be done to improve communications and preparedness

Stay safe out there and remember the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) warning! "When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!"

View the infographic!

Effective at noon today, County Judge Mark Henry has issued a voluntary evacuation order for residents of Bolivar Peninsula which include the unincorporated areas of Port Bolivar, Crystal Beach, High Island and Gilchrist. The potential rain coupled with a possible high tide will likely flood roads on Bolivar Peninsula. Parts of State Highway 87 near High Island are already experiencing flooding along the roadway.

The voluntary evacuation order is intended to alert residents of Bolivar Peninsula that emergency responders may be unable to reach them in the event that the roadways become flooded. Any residents with medical needs that require electricity should seek shelter elsewhere in case of electrical outages. Residents on prescription medication should make sure that they have enough medication to get them through the next week.
Residents should also be advised, depending on tide and wind speed, that Bolivar Peninsula ferry service may be suspended temporarily until tide and winds recede.

Persons in other areas should prepare to be without electricity for 3 to 5 days. It may or may not go off, better to be prepared for it, we all remember IKE.

We're most concerned about heavy rain and flooding. The National Weather Service has predicted 5-12 inches of rain starting this evening into the early morning hours tomorrow. Some places could pick up 10-15". Damaging winds, isolated tornadoes, and minor coastal flooding are also threats.

Harris County Office of Emergency Management activated yesterday at 1700 hours and will be staffed throughout this event. They have moved to level #2, high readiness. City of Humble E.M. is also motoring the weather closely.

The Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management (HCOHSEM) will move to Level 2 – High Readiness in response to the tropical weather threat. This takes effect at 1100.

High readiness means that hazardous or dangerous conditions exist or are imminent and pose a significant threat to life/property. High Readiness requires multiple operational periods and numerous agencies to support a response from the Emergency Operations Center (EOC).

We expect the rain to begin later on this evening and early Tuesday morning.

We will notify you of any immediate changes.