Summertime Problems for Katy

By: Tom Behrens

From May 9 through July 22, 2022, the Katy Fire Departed has responded to 110 fire responses. Twenty-two calls were no fires, but heat detectors in attics going off, and then causing fire detectors inside the home to activate. There were no fires. These “false alarms” are putting Katy Fire Department and personnel temporary out of service, creating the need for assistance from fire departments from neighboring communities.

In an effort to find a solution to the problem, an amendment to Section 3.02.053 “Amendments to Building Code or Residential Code”, of “Technical and Construction codes and Standards” of Chapter 3 “Building Regulations” of the Katy code of Ordinances”; removing the requirement for Heat Detectors in all attics was opened for discussion at the City of Katy City Council Meeting of July 25, 2022.

City of Katy Building and Standards Commission discussed the situation in their meeting, July 14.2022 and recommended the action. Do we need an ordinance to change the “Building Regulations”? Will the change require the present detectors to be disconnected, or do they have to be replaced by equipment with higher temperature ratings? Will the expense be born by the homeowners, home builders? Will the “Technical and Construction Codes and Standards” Chapter 3, requirement for Heat Detectors in all homes need to be amended?

These calls are coming from homes in comparatively new communities. Presently the Heat Detectors react at a temperature of 135 degrees.

Gregg Peterson, Katy Fire Department presented additional information. “Out of those 110 calls, we made 22 calls to Cane Island. On the ninth of July in a span of an-hour and a half we made responded to seven calls to Cane Island. We were out of service and called in for mutual aid to respond to some of those calls as well.”

One solution would be all new homes have attic heat detectors that have a maximum range of 165 degrees. But to the present situation, that change would not change the high number of false alarms due to underrated attic head detectors. Educate homeowners on the change needed, recommending upgrading present equipment.

The City Council was in agreement that we can’t allow our fire departments to waste critical resources, but as to how to solve the heat detector problem was left to further discussion.

In other summer heat related challenges, the Katy City Council amended the city’s drought contingency plan. The City is asking all individuals and entities within the Katy city jurisdiction to adhere to the new watering schedule.

“Please only water up to three days per week between 12 a.m. to 8 a.m., and 8 p.m. to 11.59 p.m. based on the last digit of your address.”

Even Number – Monday, Wednesday, Saturday

Odd Number – Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday

Commercial/HOAs – Wednesday, Friday, Sunday

“Thanks for doing your part, every drop counts.”