Written by: Sarah Rowland, Port Houston Marketing Intern
First responders play an important role in our communities, protecting citizens and entities from threats and unsafe circumstances. They provide their expertise and utilize countless hours of training to bring safety to people in need.
At Port Houston, public safety plays a big role in ensuring the Port and the Houston Ship Channel continue to operate and drive commerce to the region. We provide security for the entire Channel, which includes Port Houston’s eight public terminals and more than 200 private facilities.
The Port’s Security and Emergency Operations (PSEO) division include emergency management, police, fire fighters, and security, working in partnership with private, local, and state-level entities. Each group performs various tasks and distinct roles, including dispatch, patrol, fire safety inspections, emergency planning, training, and more.
Jessica Montecalvo, Port Houston’s Emergency Preparedness Coordinator, along with the rest of the emergency management staff, acts as a first responder. The Department of Emergency Management is responsible for planning and responding to incidents. In addition, the team is responsible for implementing all emergency management-related activities. This includes driving initiatives like building a hurricane preparedness plan and working through various scenarios that can affect the port’s activity or operations due to emergency disruptions.
Port Police is its own department, separate from the City of Houston’s police. This team helps keep truckers, port employees, and those on Port Houston property safe. Port police takes on a lot of responsibility, answering a large amount of calls across port property. These calls include response at the gates, damage to port property, disabled vehicles, lost or recovered property, making arrests of any persons with an outstanding warrant, and PH vessel calls when a vessel needs help moving.
Port Houston’s Fire department supports all terminals and facilities both waterside and on land, of the 52-mile ship channel. Covering all the way from Bolivar Road in Galveston to Buffalo Bayou and all its tributaries that stem from it, this team takes preventative measures to ensure the Port stays safe by enforcing code, tariffs, providing extinguisher inspections, and reviewing plans for new construction.
Port Houston’s Security department works hard to operate and ensure that the port gates stay secure. Jessica Thomas, Director of Port Houston Security notes, “I have a team of thirteen people, this includes facility security managers who manage the basic security in the facility, I have port security officers that go around the terminal checking fence lines, doing gate requests and access control, and the credentialing department which does all the access control for Port Houston, employees, contractors, and port tenants.”
Extensive training and the right equipment allow the port first responders to act quickly and potentially save lives, making their job a critical part of Port Houston’s workforce. As leaders in the organization, they also are active in volunteering and community service at nearby communities. To learn more about recruitment opportunities and careers in port security and emergency operations, visit: porthouston.com/careers-2/