Port Security and Public Safety

Port Houston maintains a steadfast commitment to safety and security in compliance with the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA) of 2002. The U.S. Coast Guard and the Department of Homeland Security administration work together to enforce the regulations governing port security procedures, as detailed in 33 CFR, 105.

Port Houston maintains its own emergency first responders – Port Police and Fire departments – which are well trained in emergency response tactics. In the event of an emergency, call the Port’s Dispatch Center, at 713-670-3611.


In March 2008, the Port Security & Emergency Operations Department Security Management System (SMS) was certified to ISO 28000:2007, making Port Houston the first port authority in the world to receive this international security designation. All Port Houston operated terminals are certified to the standard: Turning Basin, Manchester, Woodhouse, Barbours Cut and Bayport. This international standard sets out stringent requirements for a security management system that incorporates all aspects of business management.

This achievement is one of many firsts at Port Houston, and demonstrates the port’s leadership in security management.

Learn more about our overall security program, partnerships and federal funding here.

Port Houston’s public terminals are regulated by the U.S. Coast Guard, MTSA regulations, 33 CFR 105 in accordance with Facility Security Plans on file with the U.S. Coast Guard. To make sure that you comply with these regulations, be sure and follow all signage at gates and instructions by security guards.

In accordance with federal security regulations, random vehicle screenings are performed at Port Houston entry points. Refusal to permit this screening will result in denied access.

Do your part for Port Security by:

  • Presenting a valid ID at entry points,
  • Submitting to random vehicle screening when requested,
  • Obeying posted signs and requirements, and
  • Reporting suspicious activity to Port Dispatch Center at 713-670-3620.

Port Houston was presented with the U.S. Coast Guard’s Rear Admiral Richard E. Bennis Award for Excellence in Maritime Security in the port authority category in 2018. The prestigious security award, which is presented every two years, is given to organizations demonstrating excellence in maritime security through their programs and practices.

Police Department









The Port Police and security officials work together to provide around-the-clock emergency response on Port Houston facilities, and coordinate activities with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The police department also operates a 24/7/365 Dispatch Center for all police, fire, medical and HAZMAT emergency responses. The non emergency number is 713-670-3620. The emergency number is 713-670-3611.

But YOU play an important role in helping keep the port safe. If you SEE SOMETHING, HEAR SOMETHING, DO SOMETHING. Call the Port’s Dispatch Center if you see anything suspicious including people, unattended packages/backpacks or people taking photos.

Under the provisions in our Facility Security Plans, which went into effect on January 1, 2016, neither concealed nor open carry of firearms is permitted in Port Houston’s facilities, including buildings, docks and other secured or restricted areas. If you have any questions concerning these provisions, please contact Mark Smith at 713-670-3646.

For TCOLE Training Opportunities offered by the Port Police, consult the Training Calendar, Training Registration Form and Training Center Rules.

If you have a compliment or a complaint about an officer, please refer to these instructions. For a compliment, complete this form and email it to msmith@porthouston.com.

We are members of Houston Crime Stoppers. Anyone wanting to remain anonymous and share any info can call 713-222-TIPS (8477), or Text to: CRIMES274637, then text TIP610 plus your tip.

For copies of police reports, please contact the port’s Legal department at 713-670-2450.

Fire Department

The Port of Houston Fire Department currently operates three fire stations strategically stationed along the Houston Ship Channel. The personnel and equipment fight marine and land fires and respond to other emergencies throughout the ship channel and its tributaries.

Port Houston operates three fireboats, three HAZMAT trucks, 3 class A pumpers and to respond to fires, rescue, hazardous materials and oil spills and releases. The boats are capable of long range stays at terminal or shipboard fires with quick crew change over. The boats help the ship channel industrial complex stay strong and safe.

All of our fire fighters are certified by the state of Texas as Structural Firefighter, Marine Firefighter, HazMat Technician and EMT. All our pilots and captains are licensed U.S. Coast Guard masters.

Hot work permits are required for any welding or hot work – oxyacetylene, electric or any other welding or burning or other ‘hot work’ – within the territorial jurisdiction of the Port. A hot work permit is obtained from the Port of Houston Fire Department for any welding, burning or other hot work to be performed at Port Houston facilities. Contact the Port of Houston Fire Inspector for a hot work permit between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM.  Arrangements to obtain a hot work permit should be made 24 hours prior to hot work being performed except in emergency situations.

For an after-hour emergency situation, a hot work permit can be obtained by contacting port dispatch who will notify the appropriate fire department personnel.

Emergency Management

The Office of Emergency Management is responsible for the preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation of emergencies and major disasters at Port Houston. This includes; disasters caused by nature or human error, terrorism and security emergencies and technological incidents. Emergency Management is also responsible for many of the resources that are used before, during and after an emergency, including: a Mobile Command Center, an Emergency Operations Center, all Public Safety radio equipment and mass emergency notifications.

Mass emergency notifications within Port Houston are disseminated by the Port Alert system. Port alert is a suite of three notification capabilities: AtHoc, Outdoor Warning Sirens and Alertus Beacons.

AtHoc is a multi-functional mass notification system capable of connecting 2-way communication through email, phone, text and mobile app. Port Houston employees as well as nearby facilities and U.S. federal agencies can sign up to receive these alerts.

Outdoor Warning Sirens are currently being implemented at Port Houston terminals. This siren system is capable of sounding alert tones and providing audible instructions during an emergency. Sirens serve to warn those working outside who may not have access to the AtHoc system such as terminal truck drivers or visitors.

Alertus Beacons provide emergency notifications inside Port buildings and when paired with the outdoor sirens will provide audible alarm and scrolling text instructions during emergencies.

To get more information about Port Alert, including how to sign up, email us at OEM@porthouston.com.


Port Houston is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment to all employees, contractors, and visitors alike.

Our safety policy is based on the principal that all injuries are preventable, with absolutely no tolerance of unsafe conditions or behaviors.

Port Houston employees have made a personal commitment to a safe work environment by immersing themselves in the safety culture.  The port is committed to continual improvement of its operations and the prevention of injury and illnesses by focusing on health, safety, quality, productivity, cost effectiveness and environmental improvement.