Jason Tharp

Division Chief, Community Risk Reduction

Jason Tharp started his career in the fire service in 2006. He is a certified TCFP Master Structural Firefighter, Instructor III, Fire Officer IV, Incident Safety Officer, Wildland Firefighter, Advanced Fire Investigator, Driver Operator – Pumper, Driver Operator – Aerial, and Fire and Life Safety Educator II as well as an EMT Basic.

Chief Tharp holds a bachelor’s degree in Emergency Management Administration from Texas A&M-San Antonio. He also graduated from the Fire Service Chief Executive Officer program at Texas A&M TEEX Mays Business School, and the Texas Fire Chiefs Academy from the Texas Fire Chiefs Association. He started as a volunteer firefighter for the West I-10 Volunteer Fire Department at Station 1 in 2006 and worked his way up to Station Captain and Department Safety Officer in 2010.

In 2014, Chief Tharp was hired by HCESD 48 for the Day Crew as a part-time firefighter. In July 2018 he became the Lieutenant of Community Risk Reduction. A year later, Community Risk Reduction became an official division of the department, and he was promoted to head the division as Division Chief of Community Risk Reduction.

In March of 2020, Chief Tharp was nominated and awarded the Lone Star Achievement award by the Texas Fire Chiefs Association. Along with his role at HCESD 48, he is also a full-time District Chief for Eastex Fire Department (HCESD 10) in Northeast Harris County.  ​

Message from Chief Tharp

Welcome to the Community Risk Reduction page for Harris County ESD 48 Fire Department. HCESD 48 prioritizes the “Community Risk Reduction” philosophy by providing educational safety programs, often free of charge, that benefit the community.

Community Risk Reduction (CRR) is the identification and prioritization of risks, threats, and hazards followed by the evaluation and implementation of strategies to lessen their impact. CRR is a new concept firmly rooted in traditional fire prevention activities. The main difference is that the scope of prevention activities has expanded from fire to identifying other risk factors that threaten the safety of our community. We utilize data analysis along with anecdotal information to deploy resources to solve those problems. In addition, we build partnerships within the community to avoid duplication of efforts while implementing the right tools for the job. The result is a division committed to efficiency and effectiveness in preventing harm to our citizens and community.

 Public Education:

  • Fire Prevention programs tailored to the specific needs of “at-risk populations”
  • Community-wide fire extinguisher training, including industries and businesses
  • Smoke alarm installation program
  • CPR and First Aid training through the American Heart Association
  • Safe Sitter Classes educating teens who care for younger siblings or provide babysitting services on important safety skills
  • Home Safety Surveys
  • Car Seat Safety education and events

The CRR Team, often referred to as the “Community Team”, is comprised of a part-time Division Chief of Community Risk Reduction, a part-time Lieutenant of Public Education, a part-time Community Relations Coordinator, and volunteer members who give their time to help support our mission in the community. We believe the Community Risk Reduction Division is leading the way for a safer Greater Katy area. ​

Programs and Services

Community Group Presentations

We welcome requests from community groups to teach basics on smoke/carbon monoxide alarms, preventing house fires, holiday fire safety, and other fire/life safety topics.

Fire Station Tours

We schedule station tours at least a week in advance for groups up to 25 people. Our firefighters will be on-duty during tours, which can delay their return to the station after a call or take them away to an emergency during your visit.

Fire Truck Educational Visits

We take requests for 1-hour fire truck visits to public events at least two weeks in advance. As with station tours, our firefighters will be on-duty, which may affect their arrival and departure times.

Senior Safety

We teach fire and fall safety to senior groups and work with managers at senior facilities to reduce fire risks and support emergency preparedness. We also provide Vial of Life packets to seniors to aid first responders in the event of an emergency.

School Visits

During October and November we offer a fire safety presentation to all elementary schools and childcare centers in our district. The rest of the year we take requests from schools for fire truck visits, Career Day presentations, and other programming.

Water Safety Education

Water safety is important for all ages. We team up with organizations like the Judah Brown Project and Katy Aquatics to provide vital water safety education. Parents and children learn to identify safety tools, how to use them, learn CPR and rescue techniques, and to create a safe environment for children around water.

Smoke Alarm Blitzes

Members of the CRR team target neighborhoods in the service area and go door-to-door helping residents check for working smoke alarms, develop a fire escape plan, and provide additional fire safety information, all free of charge.

Home Safety Survey

Home Safety Surveys are a free service provided to help make your home a safer place to live. Fire crews will check for common fire hazards in the home, check your smoke alarms, and discuss creating an exit plan should an emergency arise.

Car Seat Safety

We collaborate with Safe Kids Greater Houston to provide resources and education in the proper use of child restraint systems. We have nationally-certified Child Passenger Safety Technician’s who offer hands-on assistance with car seat installations, car seat checkups, and coordinate car seat safety events.

Safe Sitter Classes

Do you have children who have completed Grade 5 and are responsible for watching younger siblings or have started babysitting other children in the neighborhood? Are you confident they can handle any situation when you or another responsible adult are not around?

In the HCESD 48 Safe Sitter Class your child will learn invaluable lessons on how to stay safe and how to properly care for younger children, whether they are watching younger siblings or babysitting other children.

Your child will learn life-saving skills such as CPR and choking rescue, first aid and injury management, as well as important business skills to manage their babysitting business or other jobs they perform for friends, family members, or neighbors.

When your child accepts a babysitting job, they accept the responsibility for a child’s life! Be sure they are fully prepared to handle that responsibility.

Safe Sitter classes are FREE and are held at HCESD 48 Administration Building.

For more information on Safe Sitter classes, contact the Community Team at [email protected]. To register your child for our next class, download and complete the Registration Form and submit it to the Community Team.

Katy Area CERT

Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training is a Federal Emergency Management Agency program that educates citizens about the hazards they face in their community and trains them in lifesaving skills. If needed following a disaster, these citizen-responders use their training as part of a neighborhood or workplace team to help others when professional responders are overwhelmed or not immediately available. CERT members provide immediate assistance to victims in their area, organize spontaneous volunteers who have not had the training, and collect disaster intelligence that will assist professional responders with prioritization and allocation of resources when they arrive.

CERT is a positive and realistic approach to emergency and disaster situations where citizens will be initially on their own and their actions can make a difference.

Virtual Home Safety Survey

Free Virtual Home Safety Surveys are now available for residents living in the HCESD 48 service area. Click on the link below and complete a short survey.

After completion, you will receive a summary of the risks associated with your answers along with short videos on how to mitigate hazards in your home. Our team is still available for in-person Home Safety Surveys as well as free smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detector replacement.

National Fire Statistics

  • In 2017 there were 3,400 fire deaths in the United States, a 9.6% increase from 2008.

  • The majority of fire deaths (73.2%) and injuries (76.5%) occur in residential occupancies.

  • More than 50% of residential fires are caused by cooking.

Texas Fire Statistics

  • In 2019 there were 119 fire deaths in Texas, compared to 139 deaths in 2018.

  • The majority of fire deaths (70.2%) occurred in residential occupancies.

  • The top three causes for residential fires were cooking (18.6%), heating (18.6%), and smoking (6.7%).

Upcoming CRR Events

There are no upcoming events at this time

Schedule a Home Safety Survey:

Request an Appointment

Car Seat Inspection Request:

Request an Appointment

Public Relations Request:

Request More Info About a CRR Program or Service

Complete the PR Request Form at least 7 days prior to your event. All requests will be reviewed but we cannot guarantee your request will be granted. Please allow 48 hours for a response. 

While we strive to accommodate reasonable requests, note HCESD 48 firetrucks and EMS units will be in-service and may be delayed, called away, or unable to make a requested event if an emergency call comes in.

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