KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
December 28, 2021
By Natalie Cook Clark
Fireworks are strictly forbidden in the City of Katy, but most of the Katy area is unincorporated and they are allowed. Katy continues to grow and now is a great time for season Katyites and newcomers to understand the do's and don'ts of fireworks.
Newcomers (and Residents) Need to Know the Laws
The City of Katy strictly forbids the use of fireworks, but this law only applies to addresses within Katy proper (the City of Katy). To find out if you live in Katy proper, check this link https://www.cityofkaty.com/residents/am-i-a-resident
As more newcomers continue to move into Katy, understanding the law and how to stay safe is important. A refresher on where you can and can't ignite fireworks is always good for anyone living in and around Katy.
Katy is part of Harris, Fort Bend, and Waller counties with neighborhoods spanning more than one, as well as being located in the City of Katy proper and unincorporated areas. This leaves a lot of Katy open to shooting off fireworks to celebrate Independence Day.
Fireworks are Legal in Most of Katy Area
“People should be aware that most of this area is unincorporated and fireworks are legal,” says Fort Bend Constable Chad Norvell. “Deputies cannot instruct your neighbor not to discharge them as it is a legal activity.”
Injuries from Infants to Adults Have Been Reported
Still, many Katy families will shoot off fireworks at home.
“Fireworks are fun and in the majority of this area completely legal,” says Jason Tharp, Division Chief of Community Risk Reduction / Public Information Officer at Harris County ESD 48 Fire Department.
Tharp says that over the years Katy area residents of all ages from infants to adults have experienced injuries resulting from fireworks.
“It’s important to always have a side of caution especially when young children are around,” says Tharp.
“We’ve had a rainy start to the summer so it’s not as dry, which is great for us,” says Tharp, but he still stresses that residents take precautions to prevent fires.
Fireworks Safety Tips
Open Area and Distance - Make sure you are in an open area. You can be in your street but make sure you are not setting off fireworks up against a house. Fireworks cannot be set off within 600 feet of a school (even if it's not in session,) church, hospital or gas station. Do NOT set off fireworks indoors.
Read Instructions- Yes, this may sound simple, but it is one of the most important safety tips.
If you have questions don't be afraid to ask when buying the fireworks. Most of the employees at the fireworks stands will know all about what they are selling.
Not for Children - Fireworks are pretty and festive when celebrating our nation's birthday, but they do come with risk. Lighting fireworks should be left to adults. Kids can enjoy and watch but safety should always come first. Older can learn to light fireworks but always with supervision.
Alcohol and Fireworks Don't Mix - Be responsible and let those adults not drinking light the fireworks. Just like with the dangers of driving drunk, alcohol will slow your reaction time, which could result in injuring yourself or others when lighting fireworks.
Water to the Rescue - When setting off fireworks, ALWAYS have a water source nearby, then soak all fireworks debris before throwing them out. A fire can start up to 12 hours after your believe it is out.
Be a Good Neighbor
While fireworks are a fun and legal activity, residents should still be good neighbors. HOA’s can make suggestions on days and times when residents can set off fireworks, but these rules cannot be enforced.
Here are some commonsense practices that will keep you in good graces with your neighbors.
Timing: Only light fireworks up to 2 hours after sunset, so end the show before midnight. Anything later is a disruption to those neighbors trying to sleep.
Prepare: Let your neighbors know if you plan to shoot off fireworks so they can prepare children and pets for the noise.
Be Tidy: Clean up ALL fireworks debris, including trash that fell in neighbors' yards.
Night Only: Do not light fireworks in the day. They don't show up so it's a waste of your money and neighbors could be alarmed by the loud, unexpected (explosive) noise.
Respect the Date: While fireworks are fun to watch, remember they commemorate a historical date for our country. Setting off fireworks between July 3-5 is acceptable to honor the holiday.
Protect Your Pets
While your neighbors will appreciate you for following the above, keep in mind that there is a large population of the Katy area that will always hate fireworks- PETS.
Do not bring your pet(s) to a fireworks show.
Bring outside pets inside and preferably to an interior room.
Make sure that your pets have current tags on their collar as well as microchipping just in case they get out.
New Year's Eve is a time to celebrate. Like any holiday weekend it also means that local authorities will step up DWI patrols to protect the Katy area roads.
“If you're drinking, don't drive,” stresses Harris County Constable Ted Heap. “You will get pulled over. You will go to jail. You may seriously hurt or kill someone.”
New to Katy? Follow the Katy Newcomers and Friends Facebook Group to connect, ask your questions, and learn about this growing community.