Issue No. 9October 2010
Division Spotlight - Prevention
 (Get free smoke alarms for your home at any of PF&R's 30 fire stations)
From the desk of Fire Marshal Erin Janssens...

This month's division spotlight is all about fire prevention.  During the week of October 4th, fire agencies statewide joined together in support of the 2010 Fire Prevention Week theme: "Smoke Alarms: A Sound You Can Live With".


In an effort to reinforce the message that fire safety starts in the home, PF&R kicked off a campaign on October 9th to hand out free smoke alarms to owners of single family homes in Portland.  In additoin to a working smoke alarm on each floor, current code requies one in every sleeping area, and existing smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years.


Having working smoke alarms in your home is the single most important step that homeowners can take to significantly increase their chances of surviving a fire.


While supplies last, single-family home owners can visit any Portland Fire Station and receive needed free smoke alarms, to be self installed.  To find a list of fire station locations in Portland, visit:


Here are some fast facts from the National Fire Protection Agency about smoke alarms to consider:

  • Smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a reported fire in half.
  • Overall, three-quarters of all U.S. homes have at least one working smoke alarm.
  • Each year, nearly 3,000 people die in U.S. home fires.
  • In 2003-2006, roughly two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from home fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
  • Most homes still have smoke alarms powered by battery only. In a 2007 American Housing Survey (AHS), 67% of the respondents who reported having smoke alarms said they were powered by battery only.
  • In a 2008 telephone survey, only 12% knew that smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years.
  • In fires considered large enough to activate a smoke alarm, hard-wired alarms operated 91% of the time; battery-powered smoke alarms operated 75% of the time.
  Inside PF&R's Station 16
(Station 16 - Located at 1715 SW Skyline Blvd.)

Station 16 serves the Sylvan-Highlands Neighborhood Association.  On-duty personnel include one company officer, two firefighters, and one firefighter paramedic.  The apparatus at the station includes Engine 16 and Brush Unit 16.


Built in 2002 with funds from the General Obligation Bond, which was passed by voters in 1998 to seismically strengthen and rebuild fire stations in Portland, Station 16 is certified as an Energy Trust of Oregon building.  In 2004, Station 16 became the first City of Portland building to integrate a photovoltaic system into their utilities, demonstrating that even critical function structures can make use of clean, renewable power.


The station has many green features including storm water planters, efficient irrigation, and solar powered lights in the parking lot.  Firefighters at the station plant a garden each year and use the produce they grow in their daily meals. This summer they planted strawberries, which they are excited about harvesting next year.  [More]
Just in Time For Halloween -
 The Haunted History of Station 1 
At times, those of us working at Station 1 - also PF&R's Administration Headquarters - have wondered about strange goings on.  The items that disappear only to be found far from where they were left.  Strange noises heard at night.  Well, PF&R's Human Resources Business Partner, Jim Fairchild, just might have discovered the source:  Station 1 is built on land that was formerly occupied by Portland's first cemetery.


Most people know that Portland began as a timber and land claim filed in 1843 by Asa Lovejoy and William Overton (who soon sold his interest and left the area).  And how in 1843, Lovejoy and Francis Pettygrove flipped a coin to determine if the new settlement would be named Portland or Boston (Pettygrove won).  Although Portland would not be incorporated as a city until 1851, an influx of settlers in the late 1840's and the inevitable accidents and disease that followed made it necessary for the community to set aside land for use as a cemetery.  They chose blocks 33 and 34 on which to establish what was variously known as City Cemetery and Stark's Cemetery.  Block 34 is at the corner of SW 1st & Ash - where Station 1 was built.


We know that this cemetery contained a minimum of 38 graves, and probably more.  Records from the period are incomplete.  The first documented burial was of a Mr. Smith in 1847.  Other burials included a Mrs. Warren in 1849, Mrs. William Berry, daughter of the aptly named Stephen Coffin, and Mr. Coffin's infant son in 1850. In 1854, Crawford Dobbins and David P. Fuller were buried here.  These gentlemen were killed along with twenty-two others when the steamboat Gazelle exploded near Oregon City.  There were sixty people on board.  In addition to the twenty-four killed, another thirty were seriously injured.  This remains the worst accident to occur on the Willamette.


By 1857, the city was growing north and the property occupied by the cemetery had become valuable to commercial interests.  Council ordered that the bodies be removed and the land sold.  The new owner of the cemetery property was Fred Bickel.  Mr. Bickel ordered the relatives of the dead to relocate their loved ones.  Some of the bodies were reburied in the newly established Lone Fir Cemetery, including Dobbins and Fuller, while others were buried in another cemetery bounded by Abernathy, Lowell, Hood and Macadam Avenue.  This cemetery was also later abandoned and the bodies moved again.  So much for rest in peace.


Before starting commercial development of the property, Mr. Bickel affirmed that all of the bodies were removed...but were they? It was well known by residents of the time that many bodies remained buried under the new development. We know that in 1912, construction workers unearthed decayed wooded coffins and two partial human skeletons and in 1923, street maintenance workers discovered a human skull and parts of a coffin.


So, when Station 1's crews are sleeping peacefully in their beds (does that ever happen?) they may not be the only ones sleeping on what was once Portland's first cemetery. 

Station 24 Uses "The Force" to Free 4-year Old
 (4-year-old Eli sets aside his light saber while firefighters from Station 24 work to free him from a pick-up truck bed)

Who knows what was going through the imagination of 4-year-old Eli, as he and his 2-year-old brother Max played in the back of the family's pick up truck in front of their North Portland home Tuesday.  Eli was playing the part of Star Wars' Qui-Gon Jinn, master to Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi, who was played that day by 2-year-old Max.


At some point, 4-year-old Qui-Gon - I mean Eli - got his arm stuck in the right rear stake-hole pocket of the truck.  Then, his finger became lodged in the drainage hole located at the bottom of the stake-hole pocket.  Eli's mom and the mailman, who was nearby delivering mail, tried everything they could think of to get the finger out.  However, when it became apparent that the finger wouldn't budge, they called 9-1-1.


Firefighters from Station 24 responded and continued to try and remove the finger utilizing ice, soap, and heavy lubricants.  Slowly and carefully, one firefighter would pull on his arm, while another tried to wiggle the finger out.  Little Eli would let them know when he needed a break.  When this didn't work, Station 1's Heavy Rescue Squad was dispatched with the tools needed to extricate Eli.


Firefighters from Heavy Rescue Squad 1 and Engine 24 used a die grinder to make precise cuts around Eli's arm and then finger, literally cutting a piece of metal out of the side of the pick-up.  With his light saber in one hand, and a piece of metal wrapped around the finger on his other hand, Eli and his mom rode in the ambulance to the hospital.  Meanwhile, on the way to the hospital, young Max remarked to Firefighter Rian, "I'm not going to do that!" and invited the crew over to watch "Snow White".   


Once at the hospital, an operation using sophisticated surgical cutting tools removed the remaining piece of metal from Eli's finger.  He is now making a full recovery at home.  From fighting fires to saving "Jedis-in-training", the firefighters of Portland Fire & Rescue are ready for any type of emergency in their community. [Photos]

Take PF&R's Preventable Fire Cause Safety Quiz 
This month we conclude our E-newsletter series highlighting the most common preventable fire causes in Portland with a fire safety quiz. Below is a 10-question test with questions from each edition of the Preventable Fire Causes series. Take the quiz to see how much you've learned!

1.  Kitchen fires are the most common type of fire in a home.  This is because:

a.        Stoves are dangerous

b.        Cooking is left unattended

c.        Children knock things over

d.        Smoke alarms are not in kitchens


2.  The best way to control a fire in a pan on a stove is to:

a.        Use your garden hose to spray it out

b.        Fan it with a towel until it goes out

c.        Carry the flaming pan to the nearest trash can

d.        Smother it with a lid that fits the pan


3.  Microwave oven fires can be put out by:

a.        Keeping the door closed and unplugging or cutting off power to the oven

b.        Carrying the entire oven outside

c.        Opening the oven door and filling the oven with water

d.        Doing nothing, microwave ovens are self-extinguishing


4.  Candles are dangerous because:

a.        The smell puts people to sleep

b.        Hot wax will catch things on fire

c.        People leave them unattended or fall asleep and the candle burns down, igniting things around it

d.        They cannot be made safe


5.  Smoking materials cause fires from:

a.        Spontaneously igniting

b.        Being carelessly thrown away

c.        Radiant heat transmission

d.        Being rubbed together


6.  Portable heaters can cause fires when:

a.        They are placed too close to things that can burn

b.        Things that can burn are piled on top of them

c.        They tip over and do not shut off (because they do not have a tip over switch)

d.        All of the above


7.  Devices with electrical cords:

a.        Should be thrown away when the cord is cracked, frayed, or discolored

b.        Should be hung up by the cord when not in use

c.        Should be covered up with towels and/or blankets at all times

d.        Should be immersed in water while plugged in


8.  Spontaneous combustion will occur when:

a.        Grease is used for cooking

b.        Portable heaters tip over onto a carpet

c.        Candles are used without a glass cover

d.        Oil soaked rags are left in clumped together or left without soaking water


9.  Smoke alarms:

a.        Are your best protection against death from fire

b.        Can only work if you keep a good battery in them

c.        Must be tested every month to ensure they are working

d.        All of the above


10. Replace power strip electrical cords when:

a.        You've used every outlet on them

b.        They show any sign of discoloring

c.        They have been on the floor for more than a month

    d.      You change your smoke alarm battery

Answers:  1 (b), 2 (d), 3 (a), 4 (c), 5 (b), 6 (d), 7 (a), 8 (d), 9 (d), 10 (b)
In This Issue
Inside PF&R's Station 16
Haunted History of Station 1
Station 24 Uses "The Force"
Take the Preventable Fire Cause Safety Quiz
Emergency Response Statistics
PF&R Budget Advisory Committee
Station 31 Move/Remodel
Pull Right for Lights and Sirens
Photo of the Month
About PF&R
Emergency Response Statistics (September 2010)

Total Incidents:                                   5,631
Medical:                                     4,469
Fire:                                           200
Other:                                        956
Major Fires:                                6

PF&R Budget Advisory Committee

The new fiscal year is barely underway and Portland Fire & Rescue has already started gearing up for the City's FY2011-12 budget process by establishing their Budget Advisory Committee (BAC) for the next two budget cycles.    The newly appointed BAC is comprised of citizens, stakeholders, employees, labor representatives, and PF&R's leadership team.


This committee is an integral part of PF&R's budget process, and makes recommendations to the Commissioner-in-Charge about the budget request, provides feedback on current and future budget issues, assists in the development of strategies to make the best use of our limited resources and helps communicate the budget to City Council, the public, and other employees.


PF&R's budget process will officially begin in mid-November with a BAC orientation meeting where members will gain a better understanding of PF&R's budget and the City's budget process.  PF&R anticipates this year's budget process will again be challenging as the City of Portland continues to face financial uncertainty because of the national and local economies. To date, City Council hasn't formally communicated their directives regarding the upcoming budget process. Considering the financial climate its likely bureaus will be asked to submit budget reduction packages as part of their budget request. 


Follow PF&R's FY2011-12 budget process.
Station 31 Move/Rebuild 


The Station 31 rebuilding project is part of a general obligation bond approved by voters in 1998 to seismically upgrade aging fire stations to better withstand earthquakes.  The bond has enabled Portland Fire & Rescue to improve ADA accessibility, provide accommodations for female firefighters, and improve operations in its fire stations.  


Station 31, located at 1927 SE 174th Street, is slated to be demolished and rebuilt beginning in late 2010.  Station 31's apparatus and crews will relocated in October to Gresham Fire & Emergency Services' Station 74. Station 31's Fire Management Area (FMA) will be adjusted to ensure adequate coverage is provided during construction of the new station.  Tentative completion of the station will be in late 2011.



At the end of the bond program, 25 stations will have been remodeled and five new stations built.  To date, 28 stations have been remodeled or rebuilt under the bond program.  Two stations, Station 18 and Station 31, are the final stations that will be upgraded under the bond.


Pull Right for Lights and Sirens

Each day Portland Fire & Rescue responds to hundreds of emergency calls. It is important that firefighters reach the site of the emergency quickly and efficiently because time that is lost on the way to an emergency could make a huge difference. When approaching an emergency vehicle, drivers should:  


* Remain calm

* Pull to the right as far as possible, and STOP!

* Stay at least 500 feet behind emergency vehicles



* Panic

* Have loud music or other distractions in the car that prevent you from hearing sirens

* Stop in the middle lane when there is room to pull right

* Try to beat the emergency vehicle across an intersection


When you are approaching an emergency vehicle that is on scene, or has lights activated, remember to vacate the lane closest to the emergency vehicle and slow your speed.

PF&R's Photo of the Month

 Commissioner Randy Leonard and Chief John Klum cut a ribbon at Station 1's Open House on September 28th, officially reopening the station.
About Us
Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) is the largest fire agency and emergency medical service provider in the State of Oregon with 755 employees and serves a population of 582,000.  In 2009, PF&R responded to 69,000 emergency incidents, consistently demonstrating our commitment to be Always Ready, Always There for the citizens of Portland.
Portland Fire & Rescue
55 SW Ash
Portland, Oregon 97204
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