KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
July 2, 2018
Natalie Cook Clark
Officials from Harris County and the City of Katy share their top must-knows for Katy families before celebrating July 4th.
The first step in your fireworks education is to know and understand the laws of your county. Katy is part of Harris, Fort Bend, and Waller counties as well as neighborhoods that are both in the City of Katy proper and unincorporated areas.
For Residents in the City of Katy
Fireworks are strictly forbidden inside the City of Katy limits. Now that doesn't mean you can't enjoy them. There are a number of Katy area events going on to celebrate the Fourth this year.
"Personally I say leave it to the professionals," says Katy Fire Chief Warner Preston. "But if you are going to partake in fireworks (considering you do so in a legal area) make sure you are in an open area and leave the lighting of fireworks to the adults."
Unincorporated areas in Harris and Fort Bend County
In both Harris County and Fort Bend County (outside of Katy proper) fireworks are legal as long as there isn't a fire ban and as long as the fireworks used are legal and set off in a safe place.
So what is a "legal firework?" Basically most fireworks you can buy from a firework stand are legal. It's always important to check and make sure that the stand you are purchasing your fireworks from is certified and licensed. They should have that documentation easily visible on the stand. If you don't see if then ask to. You need to stay clear from venders who are selling fireworks out of a back of a pickup truck or on the side of road that do not have a certified stand. "And please use common sense," explains Lieutenant Simon VanDyk of Harris County Emergency Services. "If your fireworks have an extra boom from other then something may not be right."
Firework Safety Tips
1. 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. You cannot light fireworks off within 600 feet of a school (even if it's not in session,) church, hospital or gas station.
2. Read the instructions- Yes, this may sound simple but it is one of the most important safety tips. "My family loves those ladybug fireworks. They spin and then shoot up in the air," says VanDyk. "If someone failed to read the instructions they could easily get themselves and others in trouble for being too close when they shoot up." If you have questions don't be afraid to ask when buying the fireworks. Most of the employees at the firework stands will know all about what they are selling.
3. Not for children- Fireworks are pretty and festive when celebrating our Nations birthday but they do come with risk. Lighting fireworks should be left to the adults. Of course kids can enjoy and watch but safety should always come first.
4. When drinking- As with most holidays people enjoy an adult beverage. "Lighting fireworks is no different than having a designated driver. Alcohol will slow your reaction time and that time could result in injury when lighting fireworks," says VanDyk. Be responsible and let those adults not drinking light the fireworks.
5. Water source- ALWAYS have a water source nearby and douse everything before throwing it out. "We will have a number of garage fires on the 5th because people tossed something in the trash," says VanDyk. "In most cases these are responsible people who truly believed they had put out any fire but it only takes one little simmering ember to ignite a fire. It's not out until you've doused it." In this area you can't be too cautious. Don't be afraid to dump water on it or even soak them in a bucket of water overnight. "A fire can start up to 12 hours after you believe it is out," cautions VanDyk.
Don't Forget Your Pets
More pets go missing of the Fourth of July than any other day of the year. The noise and lights that we love about fireworks are stressful and scary to pets. It's wise to bring outside pets indoors and even put them in an interior room to help minimize the sound and prevent them going through a window. As much as we love our furry babies it's never smart to have your dog outside with you when lighting fireworks.
Have fun this Fourth of July but most of be safe. If you need to call your local authorities for help. Do keep in mind that while certain Home Owners Associations prohibit fireworks only the HOA can enforce that and not the police or the fire department.
If you are in an area that can light fireworks, which is your favorite Katy stand to purchase them from? Let us know in the comments!
Want to leave the fireworks to the professionals? Are you still looking for a Katy Fourth of July event to attend? Check out these options.