- Fire Marshal's Office
- Fire Safety Tips
Fire Safety Tips
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has joined with the Fire Safety Council to help you assess the threat of fire danger in your home. View their collection of Fire Safety Outreach Materials. The site has the latest information, prevention tips and even a special interactive page so that children can learn about fire safety.
Home Safety Check List
To conduct your own fire safety audit, download our Home Fire Safety Checklist (PDF).
How to Report a Fire
- Go to a safe phone, away from the smoke and fire. If you wake up inside a house on fire, first shout and get out, second go to your meeting place (such as a neighbor's porch), and third call 911.
- Say that there's a fire.
- Say the address of the fire. If the fire is at a neighbor's house and you don't know the address, give them your own address.
- Give your name and phone number.
- Stay calm and speak clearly.
- Stay on the phone.
Reporting Fire Hazards
Please report any fire hazards or fire code violations to the Fire Marshal's Office at 214-987-5380.
Proper addressing will assist your fire department in promptly dealing with your emergencies:
- Paint 4-inch numbers on the curbing in front of your home.
- Place numbers that are at least 4 inches tall near the front entrance (or a location easily visible from the street) in a color contrasted by the color of your home.
- For apartments and other buildings with multiple occupancies, mark each separate occupant's number.
- It is dangerous and a violation of fire code to obstruct in any way the visibility, access, or use of a fire hydrant.
- Please ensure that fire hydrants in your area are clearly visible and are not being hidden by shrubs, vehicles or debris.
- A minimum of three feet of clear space shall be maintained around the circumference of the fire hydrant.
When lights and sirens approach:
- When you are in the right lane, pull onto the right shoulder if there is room and stop or at least slow way down if you are on an open high-speed road.
- When you are in the left lane and traffic in the right lane is moving onto the shoulder, move right into their lane.
- If you cannot go right because of an obstacle, the next best thing is to stop. The driver of an emergency vehicle can then anticipate where to move his vehicle.
- When you are at an intersection with a stop sign or red light and a response vehicle is coming up behind you, stay where you are if you cannot pull to the right.
- If you are on a one-way street, pulling to the right is still best, but sometimes, due to traffic, you may pull to the left curb and yield the middle lane(s).
- Drive through a red light or stop sign when an emergency vehicle approaches from behind.
- Make a left turn quickly to a driveway or street.
- Race ahead to get through a green light or turn before the response vehicle gets there.
- Disregard and continue to travel despite the response vehicle.
If you suspect a natural gas leak on your property, stop what you're doing, leave the premises, and call 911.
- Smell: Because natural gas is odorless, colorless, and tasteless, a distinctive, sulfur-like, rotten egg odor is added so you can detect even small amounts of natural gas.
- Sound: In addition to the smell, pay attention to hissing, whistling or roaring sounds coming from underground or from a gas appliance.
- Sight: Be aware of dirt spraying into the air, continual bubbling in a pond or creek, and dead or dying vegetation in an otherwise moist area.
- Other Leak Indicators: The stovetop's blue flames suddenly turn orange or yellow (discolored flames indicate the appliance is not working properly). An excessive amount of ash or soot around a pilot light could signal a larger problem.
Smoke Detector Safety Tips
- Install a smoke detector on each level of your home.
- Never remove a good battery or otherwise disable the detectors.
- Know what to do after a detector sounds off.
- Plan a home escape route in the event of a fire.
Smoke Detector Video
In November 2012 University Park Fire Department assisted CBS 11 News with a feature story that evaluated alarm response for photoelectric and ionization style smoke detectors. View the CBS 11 News Smoke Detector Story.
Keep Your Home & Family Safe Throughout the Year
Tornadoes can occur at any time of year in Texas, including December, but they happen most often in spring and summer. Spokesmen for the Division of Emergency Management urge Texans to learn what to do when a tornado is sighted. The most important rule is to get low and stay low.
- Seek shelter in an interior room on the lowest floor of the home, such as a bathroom, closet, or room without windows.
- Go to an interior room or hallway on the lowest floor of the office building, or to the designated shelter area.
- If traveling, leave your motor home and take shelter in a nearby building. If no building is nearby, lie flat in a ditch or ravine. Mobile home parks should have a designated area, as well as a monitor to track broadcasts during severe weather.
- Never stay inside a car. Leave the car and lie flat in a ditch or ravine. If a building is nearby, take shelter inside. Never try to outrun a tornado in your car.
- At school, follow plans and go to a designated shelter area, usually the school's interior hallway on the lowest floor. Stay out of auditorium, gyms and other areas with wide, free-span roofs. If you are in a portable or manufactured building, go to a nearby permanent structure or take cover outside on low, protected ground.
- Go to the interior rooms and halls on the lowest floor of a shopping center. Do not leave the shopping center to get in your car.
- If you are in open country, take cover on low, protected ground.
- Avoid areas near exterior glass or doors, areas along exterior walls, or rooms with wide expanse roofs - such as auditoriums, cafeterias and gyms.
- Learn the difference between a Tornado Watch and a Tornado Warning. A Tornado Watch means watch the sky. A Tornado Warning means a tornado is on the ground and you must seek shelter immediately.
For more information on what to do prior to and during severe weather, visit the Know What 2 Do website.
Emergency Supply Kit
The Division of Emergency Management, Texas Department of Public Safety urges Texans to prepare for severe storms before they strike. Your family should have an emergency supply kit on hand, maintaining supplies in water resistant, easy-to-lift containers you can move rapidly if necessary. This supply kit is appropriate for severe weather events and other emergencies as well. It should include:
- First-aid kit
- Cash (power outages mean banks and ATMs may be unavailable)
- Battery-operated radio
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Important documents and records, photo Ids, proof of residence
- 3-day supply of non-perishable food, one gallon of bottled water per person per day, coolers for food and ice storage
- Fire extinguisher
- Blankets, sleeping bags and extra clothing
- Extra prescription medications, extra written copies of prescriptions, hearing aids, other special medical items
- Eyeglasses and sunglasses
- Extra keys
- Toilet paper, clean-up supplies, duct tape, tarp, rope
- Can opener, knife, tools
- Booster cables, road maps
- Special supplies needed for babies, older adults or pets
Remember to change perishable supplies and water every six months.
When Floodwaters Cover the Road, Back Up
- The Division of Emergency Management, Texas Department of Public Safety urges drivers to exercise extreme caution during severe rain events.
- Flooding is the most common cause of weather-related deaths in Texas. As little as six inches of water can knock adults off their feet. Vehicles are not safe either. When drivers see water across a road, they need to back away and choose a different route.
- Never drive through water on a road. Water can be deeper than it appears and water levels can rise very quickly. Floodwaters erode roadways. A missing section of road, even a missing bridge, will not be visible with water running across the area.
- If a car stalls in floodwater, get out quickly and move to higher ground. Floodwaters may still be rising and the car could be swept away at any moment.
- Water displaces 1,500 pounds of weight for every foot that it rises. In other words, if a car weighs 3,000 pounds, it takes only two feet of water to float it. Cars can become death traps because electric windows and door locks can short out when water reaches them, trapping occupants inside.
Safety Tips When Lightning Strikes
- The Division of Emergency Management, Texas Department of Public Safety urges Texans to take precautions during lightning storms because lightning is the second most common cause of weather-related deaths in the state, after flooding. Here are some important tips to protect yourself and your family.
- Lightning tends to strike tall objects as well as metal objects, and can travel through moist soils for dozens of feet. Move into a sturdy building and stay away from windows and doors. For increased protection, avoid electric appliances or metal plumbing. Stay off the telephone.
- If you are outside, the interior of a car, truck or bus is relatively safe from lightning. To be safe, do not touch metal on the inside of the vehicle. The outside bed of a truck is a deadly location. Do not lean against a car or truck - get inside the vehicle quickly.
- If you are outdoors with no shelter available, stay low. Move away from hills and high places, and avoid tall, isolated trees. Do not touch metal objects, such as tennis rackets, baseball bats or golf clubs. Do not ride bicycles, or lean against fences or metal sheds.
- If you feel your hair suddenly stand on end, it means you may be a lightning target. Crouch low on the balls of your feet and try not to touch the ground with your knees or hands. Avoid wet areas that can conduct the lightning charge.
Delay the Game When Thunderstorms Approach
The Division of Emergency Management, Texas Department of Public Safety warns the public that sports fields are dangerous during thunderstorms.
Sports fields are large, open areas where people are often the tallest objects. Metal bleachers, fences, light poles and goal posts attract lightning. When lightning hits these objects, the charge travels along the object, potentially injuring anyone in contact with the metal. Lightning can bounce off any of these objects and strike people nearby.
Schools, athletic programs, day care centers, and summer camps, as well as coaches, referees and parents participating in field events need to understand the dangers of lightning. They should be prepared to suspend games and move the players and spectators inside nearby buildings or into cars and buses until the storm threat passes.
The Division of Emergency Management offers the following lightning safety tips:
- If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning.
- If you are outdoors with no shelter available, stay low.
- Move away from hills and high places, and avoid tall, isolated trees.
- Do not touch metal objects, such as tennis rackets, baseball bats or golf clubs.
- Do not ride bicycles, or lean against fences or metal sheds.
- Do not lean against a car or truck - get inside the vehicle quickly.
- If you feel your hair suddenly stand on end, it means you may be a lightning target. Crouch low on the balls of your feet and try not to touch the ground with your knees or hands.
- Avoid wet areas that can conduct the lightning charge.
Each year about 600 fires/explosions occur with gas grills. Many cause injuries. Often these accidents happen the first time a grill is ignited for the season or after the grill's gas container is refilled and reattached.
Before you plan your next outdoor cookout, review these safety tips:
- Always keep your grill at least 10 feet away from any combustible structures like your home or fence.
- Check grill hoses for cracking, brittleness, holes and leaks. Make sure there are no sharp bends in the hose or tubing.
- Always keep propane gas containers upright.
- Never store a spare gas container under or near the grill or indoors.
- Never store or use flammable liquids, like gasoline, near the grill.
- Never keep a filled container in a hot car or car trunk. Heat will cause the gas pressure to increase, which may open the relief valve and allow gas to escape.
- When using barbecue grills on decks or patios, be sure to leave sufficient space from siding and eaves.
Keep in mind that charcoal when burned in grills produces carbon monoxide (CO). CO is a colorless, odorless gas that can accumulate to toxic levels in closed environments. On average 17 people die annually from CO fumes from charcoal being burned indoors or in a poorly ventilated area. To reduce the risk of CO poisoning:
- Never burn charcoal inside of homes, vehicles, tents or campers.
- Charcoal should never be used indoors, even if ventilation is provided.
- Since charcoal produces CO fumes until the charcoal is completely extinguished, do not store the grill indoors with freshly used coals.
View more Grilling Safety Tips from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (PDF).