Issue No. 11December 2010
Division Spotlight  - Emergency Operations

From the Desk of Division Chief John Nohr...

This month, PF&R's Division Spotlight focuses on our Marine Program.  PF&R recently dedicated its newest, high-speed rescue boat - the Eldon Trinity.  This new boat was dispatched to its first marine fire within two hours of being placed into service on December 16, 2010 and enhances PF&R's ability to respond to water-related emergencies on the Willamette River. 


PF&R operates the largest municipal marine firefighting and water rescue service in the State.  This program encompasses land-based and waterborne marine fire fighting, emergency medical services, environment hazard response and mitigation, and specialized rescue services such as surface water rescue and dive operations.  These capabilities enable PF&R to protect the City's more than 60 miles of shoreline.


The Marine Program is comprised of multiple marine vessels, highly trained personnel, and specialized equipment.  This includes:


          Fireboats: PF&R's three fireboats have high volume pumps designed for fighting shoreline and shipboard fires.  Fireboat Vernon R. Buss is quartered at Station 17 in North Portland on Hayden Island.  The Fireboat David Campbell and the George Williams are quartered at Station 6 on NW Front Avenue.

          Rescue Boats: PF&R's two rescue boats are used primarily for water rescue emergencies including search and rescue, flood evacuation, dive rescue, etc.  Their high speed, maneuverability, and low deck configuration make them better suited for these types of operations. 

          Rescue Craft: These are jet skis configured for surface rescue operations.  They carry a driver-operator and a rescue swimmer.  Each is equipped with waterproof communications gear, emergency lighting, a rescue platform and first aid gear.

          Rigid-Hulled Inflatable Boat (RHI):  PF&R's RHI is a light-weight, high performance craft that has been relocated to Station 6 on NW Front Avenue.  The RHI can be easily deployed and is versatile due to its portability and ruggedness.

          Station 24: A specialized team of land-based, shipboard firefighters is deployed from Station 24.  Station 24 houses specialized apparatus and equipment specifically designed for shipboard firefighting.  This includes a heavy squad (employing specialized breathing apparatus, communication equipment, cutting and breaching tools, etc) and a foam unit.

          Dive Team: The dive team is comprised of approximately 25 certified and highly qualified divers.  The team responds annually to about 80 incidents, including vehicles into the river, drownings, jumpers from bridges, etc. It is the largest public safety dive team in the State and assists outside jurisdictions under mutual aid agreements. 


Portland is a waterfront city that depends heavily on the Willamette and Columbia Rivers for commerce and recreation.  As a result, PF&R must be prepared to respond to varying types of marine emergencies and meet the needs of a City surrounded by water.
  Inside PF&R's Station 27
(Station 27 - Located at 3130 NW Skyline Blvd.)

Station 27 serves the Forest Park and Forest Heights Neighborhood Associations, as well as areas along Skyline Blvd. to McNamee Rd. at the Portland border. The station's apparatus includes an engine, a brush unit, and a Jeep. The on-duty staff includes an officer, firefighter paramedic, and two firefighters.


The station was completed on July 1, 2006, using funds from the GO Bond passed by voters in 1998. It was designed to blend into the natural surroundings, including Forest Park, which borders the station on the west side. The station itself has a natural color scheme, allowing it to be hardly noticed at first glance.  The interior of the station has a great deal of natural light and large, tinted window walls, which help cut utility costs.


The crew at Station 27 frequently sees deer in their backyard. They have also spotted bobcats and coyotes wandering through the area. Station 27's Fire Management Area (FMA) is one of the few in Portland that is primarily residential. The 2010 NW Natural Street of Dreams was located across the street from the station this summer. The crew had the opportunity to participate in a Safety Day as well as extinguish a small fire on a deck of one of the homes.  


Forest Park - at over 5,500 acres - is the largest city park in the world.  This necessitates that Station 27 firefighters be prepared and equipped to fight wildland fires.  Station 27's brush unit is an apparatus specifically designed for fighting fires that occur in wildland or grassy areas. In addition, they make rounds in a Jeep utility vehicle every Tuesday and Thursday during the summer months to patrol the south end of the park. The park patrol duty is shared with Stations 16 and 22, which also border the park.


These seasonal patrols are designed to evaluate the condition and accessibility of the fire lanes, trails, access roads, and water supplies located throughout the park and assess the current fire danger levels. These patrols also enable crews to observe and take action on any unsafe acts or activities that may contribute to fire danger in the park.


Because of its proximity to the Portland border, Station 27 works very closely with Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue (TVF&R) providing mutual aid on many emergency responses. Station 27 can be dispatched through Portland's Bureau of Emergency Communications (BOEC), as well as Washington County Consolidated Communications Agency (WCCCA).  Station 27's geographic location in the NW hills makes it the sole responding fire station to its FMA with the nearest PF&R stations approximately 10 minutes away.


Although Station 27 is one of PF&R's more remotely located stations, it serves a variety of needs in the surrounding NW Portland community.

PF&R's Photo of the Month
 (Fire Chief John Klum gets a hand from Fire Marshal Erin Janssens during Salvation Army Celebrity Bell Ringing)

On December 13, 2010, Fire Chief John Klum participated in a Celebrity Bell Ringing Competition that had Portland Fire competing against Portland Police to see which Chief could raise more money for the Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign.  Chief Klum joined Police Chief Mike Reese on the corner of SW Broadway and Morrison in front of Nordstrom for a few hours of friendly competition - all for a worthy cause. 


Although Police edged out Fire for the victory by a very thin margin, collective celebrity bell ringing competition efforts throughout the downtown area netted over $17,000 in the red kettles for this community-based charity!

Lila the Arson Dog Gets Her Own Web Site 
 (Lila and her handler attend a recent PF&R awards ceremony where their efforts to get arsonists off the streets were recognized)

Lila - Portland Fire's arson dog - and her handler Lt. Jackson are one of only 80 ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives) arson canine response teams in the nation.  Lila got her own web site this month and we hope you will take a minute to check it out.  At you'll find lots of interesting information about this guide dog turned arson canine.  Find out more about Lila's training, her handler, arson cases she has helped investigate, and how she is using her keen sense of smell to keep Portland's citizens safe. 

In This Issue
Inside PF&R's Station 27
PF&R's Photo of the Month
Lila the Arson Dog Gets Her Own Web Site
Emergency Response Statistics
PF&R Budget Update
Candle Fire in Assisted Living Facility Turns Tragic
Technical Rescue Task Force
About PF&R
Emergency Response Statistics (November 2010)

Total Incidents:                          4,960
Medical:                                     3,909
Fire:                                           153
Other:                                         898
Major Fires:                                19*

*Major fires are those with over $10,000 in estimated fire damage.
PF&R Budget Update


PF&R held a Budget Advisory Committee (BAC) meeting on December 15, 2010.  In this year's budget process, Public Safety bureaus are directed to submit 0.75% one-time budget reduction packages.  For PF&R, this equates to a proposed one-time cut of $671,910 from our budget. 


Through a collaborative process between staff, labor management, stakeholders, and citizens, PF&R created a list of one-time cuts to present to the Fire Commissioner for consideration. 


Stay tuned for more information in next month's newsletter on decisions related to PF&R's budget.  PF&R's budget submittal is due to the Office of Management and Finance by January 31st.  You can also follow our budget process online at

Candle Fire in Assisted Living Facility Turns Tragic


On December 9, 2010, PF&R responded to a fire at an assisted living facility in SE Portland.  Fire damage was kept to a minimum due to the fact that each individual unit in the 63-unit complex was sprinklered. 


PF&R was saddened to report that an 85-year-old resident died as a result of severe burns she suffered in this fire.  The woman accidentally tipped over a candle that ignited her clothing. 


PF&R wants to remind citizens that December is the peak time of year for candle fires.  Christmas, Christmas Eve, and New Years are the top three days when candle fires occur, so please use caution this holiday season and do not leave candles unattended or too close to combustible materials.


Flameless candles that are battery-operated and switch off and on like a flashlight are readily available in stores.  Please consider using this safer alternative to regular candles.

PF&R Participates on Technical Rescue Task Force  

The Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST) is the State of Oregon agency that promotes excellence in public safety by delivering training and developing professional standards for police, fire, corrections, and other public safety personnel in the state of Oregon.


Recently, DPSST convened a Technical Rescue Task Force to review NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) 1006 - the standard that pertains to technical rescue.  NFPA is the agency that develops and distributes more than 300 consensus codes and standards to minimize the effects of fire.  This standard was last reviewed in 2003. 


The technical areas that were reviewed include: Rope Rescue, Confined Space Rescue, Trench Rescue, Structural Collapse Rescue, Vehicle and Machinery Rescue, Surface Water Rescue, Swiftwater Rescue, Dive Rescue, and Surf Rescue.  PF&R's specialty teams are trained and equipped to perform all of these types of rescues with the exception of Swiftwater and Surf Rescue. 


Portland Fire & Rescue's Lt. Rich Tyler, an expert in dive rescue operations and a member of the dive team, participated on the task force.  The Technical Rescue Task Force recently met for a day-long meeting in Salem to review NFPA 1006.  The task force's proposed recommendations went to the Fire Policy Committee at DPSST and are currently being reviewed for approval and implementation. 

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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