(Portland HazMat firefighters in Level A suits respond to hazardous materials spill at area hospital.)

Issue No. 26
March 2012
Lieutenant Aimee Rooney is First PF&R Woman to be Named Firefighter of the Year

Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) is pleased to announce that Lieutenant Aimee Rooney has been chosen to receive the 2012 Firefighter of the Year award.

Lieutenant Rooney began her career at PF&R in 1996. Currently, Rooney is working at Station 3 in NW Portland as a lieutenant. She has previously worked as a firefighter and lieutenant at the Training Facility in NE Portland and at stations across the City of Portland.

Within PF&R, she is an active and contributing member of the Budget Advisory Committee and Peer Support Team. Rooney is also a member of PF&R's Honor Guard and organizes training sessions, coordinates numerous requests for honor guard participation, and communicates with all members of the team to ensure they are kept appraised of the opportunities available. She worked tirelessly to coordinate the Honor Guard's participation in 9/11 ceremonies last year and works hard to improve the Campbell Memorial - Portland's firefighter memorial.

Captain Greg Ennis works directly with Rooney at Station 3. "Lieutenant Rooney has long been regarded as having excellent judgment and decision making capabilities at emergency scenes. She has had the confidence of others to run high rise emergencies with chief officers on scene." Ennis notes that Rooney is one of the hardest working officers in PF&R. "She has always had the safety of her crewmembers foremost in mind at any emergency scene and ensures she is always properly equipped for the emergency to display the proper example to her crew."

Rooney is known throughout PF&R as a person who has integrity and character. Firefighter Brad Martin at Station 3 feels that Rooney is proof positive that a great attitude makes every organization better. Martin explains that, "Her positive attitude is viral and everyone around her becomes infected. If someone at the station faces a problem or makes a mistake, her example shows that a positive attitude will help us solve it or bounce back from it. A great attitude makes everyone and everything better, from a strenuous workout to a long complicated overhaul operation, and from an all day drill to an early morning fire watch."

As compassionate as Rooney is at work with her crew, her positive attitude and giving spirit continues off the job during her personal time. Rooney has twice gone to Mexico to help build housing with her church group. She has organized firefighter standbys for a little girl who was seriously burned by her father. Aimee and her husband have also adopted two special needs children from another country, giving them love and the assurance of a better future.

Rooney joins 36 other Portland firefighters honored previously with this prestigious award. Rooney, however, is the first woman firefighter to be honored.



Fire Chief John Klum notified Lieutenant Rooney on March 14th that her peers had nominated and selected her as the Firefighter of the Year. Klum believes Rooney is deserving of the award.

"Rooney continually acts and performs beyond the call of duty." Klum went on to say, "She improves the quality and efficiency of Fire Bureau programs, procedures, and objectives and she is an exemplary example of personal integrity, character, and citizenship."

Rooney will be honored at PF&R's Spring Award Ceremony, the annual Russ Lemmon Memorial Award Banquet, and will ring the bell during the David Campbell Memorial Service in June 2012.

2012 Oregon HAZMAT Response Teams Conference 



Portland Fire & Rescue had a strong presence at this year's 2012 Oregon HAZMAT Response Teams Conference.  HAZMAT teams from across the state joined February 22 - 24, 2012, to network, participate in training classes, and learn about the latest in technology for HAZMAT response teams. 


Firefighters at Portland Fire & Rescue's (PF&R) Station 7 (Mill Park) are members of the "State Hazardous Materials Response Team 7".  There are 13 response teams strategically located in Oregon that provide response to hazardous materials incidents. The firefighters have received specialized training in the prevention and mitigation of incidents involving hazardous materials and provide this service in addition to their usual firefighting duties. 



PF&R's HAZMAT Coordinator Grant Coffey, Lieutenant Shon Christensen, and Firefighter Dusty Miller served as instructors at the conference.  Training class topics included railroad emergencies, homemade explosives, chemical suicide, radiation monitoring, sampling, level A suits, and air monitoring.



HAZMAT Team 7 was also awarded "HAZMAT Call of the Year" for their response during an incident at Precision Cast Parts. The call of the year award was selected by the State Fire Marshal's Office.

Live Fire Training Burns / 

Burn to Learn


In March, Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) conducted two live fire training burns at 236 NE 102nd Avenue. The goal of Burn to Learn trainings is to provide valuable live-fire training in an actual residential structure for newly hired firefighter recruits and career firefighters already serving on the line.


The burns took place on March 3rd and 8th. Each began around 9:00 am when PF&R training officers set small fires in the house. Training officers then accompanied firefighter recruits inside to extinguish the fires. The process was supervised by experienced, career firefighters and followed strict safety guidelines.



PF&R can use donated buildings for two types of training:



If your structure doesn't meet the requirements for burning, or time is a factor, we can still benefit from the use of the building. We utilize these structures to practice breaching walls, cutting holes in roofs, knocking out windows, and other tasks and tactics that do not involve burning the structure. For example, we can fill the structure with training smoke and conduct search and rescue drills. Additionally, new firefighting techniques can be presented and practiced in a controlled environment, minimizing the risks to firefighters.




Live Fire:

If your structure meets the requirements for burning, we can utilize the building for a training burn. Training burns (referred to as "Burn to Learns") provide the best training possible to prepare us for the time when we will be protecting your life and your home from a real fire. A training burn is a controlled exercise that allows firefighters to practice tactics and strategies under controlled conditions. It provides true to life experience dealing with "live fire". Training that can be accomplished in a Burn to Learn includes: hose stream application, observing fire behavior in flameover and flashover conditions, practice using our Thermal Imaging Cameras, ventilation operations, first alarm fire attack simulations, and can provide an opportunity for staff to practice command skills such as firefighter accountability, directing resources and personnel, and incident support functions.



Portland Fire & Rescue is regulated by several different agencies as to what we can burn and not all structures will be acceptable for use by the Training, Safety & EMS Division. Buildings that cannot be burned include: mobile homes, buildings that are falling down, and buildings in close proximity to other structures.


Buildings that offer great training value for firefighters at Portland Fire are single family residences, multi-family residences, one or two story apartment buildings, schools, and large "big box" facilities (grocery stores, hardware stores, commercial-type buildings). There may be tax incentives in allowing PF&R to use these structures.


If you own a structure that you need to eliminate from your property and would like to inquire about donating it for a burn-to-learn or to allow us to train in the building before you demolish it, please contact District Training Lieutenant Jim Sestric at 503-823-3848.

Scott Firefighter Stairclimb


On Sunday, March 11, 2012, 1,552 firefighters from 24 US states, Canada, and Germany gathered in Seattle to compete in the 21st annual Scott Firefighter Stairclimb - the world's largest firefighter climbing competition. The stairclimb is a timed race up the stairs of the Columbia Center (formerly Bank of America Tower) in downtown Seattle.


At 788 feet of vertical elevation, the Columbia Center stands as the second tallest building west of the Mississippi. It takes 69 flights of stairs and 1,311 steps to reach the highly acclaimed observation deck overlooking the city. For the competition, firefighters must scale the building's interior stairwell with 50 pounds of "bunker gear" used in firefighting, including protective jacket, pants, gloves, helmet, breathing apparatus, and boots.




The annual stairclimb supports the mission of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Portland Firefighters have been busy raising money through sponsorships, fundraising, and entry fees. In 2011, the event featured over 1,500 firefighters from a record 281 different fire agencies and raised over $930,000 for blood-cancer research and patient services.


The 2012 climb honored Lillian Trippe of Corvallis, Oregon who at just three-years-old lost her battle with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) in August. ALL is a fast-growing cancer of the white blood cells and the most common form of leukemia among adolescents.




Although throughout Lilli's short life she endured bone marrow transplants, chemotherapy, and complications from her disease, her parents Kristin and Aaron Trippe saw her as a beacon of light to everyone she met. With her bright, glowing spirit and beautiful smile lighting her way, she made the most of every day, living her life to the fullest. Read more about Lilli and the Trippe's here


According to the official Scott Firefighter Stairclimb website, race results for Portland Firefighters are as follows:

  • Travis Tetzlaff - 20th overall / 20th overall males- 00:13:42
  • Liz Thompson - 283rd overall / 5th overall females  - 00:17:22
  • Rich Tyler - 360th overall / 353rd overall males- 00:17:54
  • Jason Martin - 404th overall / 395th overall males- 00:18:15
  • Stephenie Bowen - 551st overall / 12th overall females - 00:19:25

*Male Competitors: 1432; Female Competitors: 120




As a team, Portland Fire & Rescue placed 35th out of 175 total firefighting agencies participating in the stairclimb. Access additional race results by clicking here


As of Sunday, March 11, 2012, firefighters have raised over $950,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and they are not done yet! Fundraising efforts will continue until the end of March 2012.  If you are interested in donating to Portland Fire & Rescue's Team or any other team or individual, click here to access the donation portion of the Scott Firefighter Stairclimb website.

In This Issue
Firefighter of the Year Award
HAZMAT Conference
Burn to Learn
Scott Firefighter Stairclimb
Emergency Response Statistics
Police & Fire Appreciation
Preventing Clothes Dryer Fires
Close the Door Behind You
New Belmont Firehouse Hours
About PF&R
Emergency Response Statistics (Feb.  2012)

Total Incidents:                     5,117 
Medical:                                4,185
Fire:                                      195
Other:                                   737
Major Incidents:                    20
Portland Trail Blazers 
Police & Fire Appreciation Night

On Thursday night, March 22, 2012, the Blazers will be giving top billing to local firefighters, thanking Fire Chief John Klum for his service, welcoming Fire Chief Erin Janssens in her new role, and introducing the 2012 Firefighter of the Year. 
This event is open to all members of the public and tickets can be purchased through the Trail Blazers' website.  The evening will feature a game between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Memphis Grizzlies.

SafetyTIPS: Preventing Clothes Dryer Fires



Washing and drying laundry may very likely be a part of your everyday routine. However, a familiar fixture in the laundry room could be a real fire hazard, even if you're using it properly.  Clothes dryer fires are one of the most common causes of house fires. According to Consumer Reports, each year over 15,000 fires start in the laundry room when lint from clothes dryers builds up and catches fire.


A few simple safety tips can help prevent a clothes dryer fire:

  • Have your dryer installed and serviced by a professional.
  • Do not use the dryer without a lint filter.
  • Keep the area around your dryer clear of things that can burn, like boxes, cleaning supplies and clothing, etc.
  • Make sure you clean the lint filter before or after each load of laundry. Remove lint that has collected around the drum.
  • Do not restrict the air exhaust vent pipe and make sure that the outdoor vent flap is opening when the dryer is operating.
  • Once a year, or more often if you notice that it is taking longer than normal for your clothes to dry, clean lint out of the vent pipe or have a dryer lint removal service do it for you.

For more clothes dryer safety tips click here.

Close the Door 

Behind You When Evacuating a Fire


Standard fire response procedures are very clear about not opening a door if you suspect there is fire behind it. This is due to the fact that opening the door will not only feed additional oxygen to the fire source, often causing the flames to expand rapidly, but it can also open up an additional pathway for the fire to spread throughout the rest of the building. So with that in mind, what about closing an open door that leads to a room containing a fire?


"I have repeatedly seen fires where the damage could have been significantly reduced if occupants had simply closed the door on the fire," reports a Portland Fire & Rescue Investigator.


"Occupants often find a fire and leave the door to the fire room open and then leave the door to the home open. This results in rapid fire extension from the room of fire origin to areas throughout the house. In some cases, doors being left open on opposite sides of the building has resulted in wind-driven effects, which have caused extremely rapid fire development and burn injuries to other occupants trying to escape."


While the two most important things to remember in the event of a fire are to get out of the building and call 9-1-1, fire investigators point out that simply closing doors behind you on your way out of the building can not only limit the structural damage caused by a fire, but it can also potentially save lives.

New Belmont Fire House Hours


On March 7, 2012, the Belmont Firehouse & Safety Learning Center began offering expanded operating hours. The firehouse will be open for tours by appointment only from 8:00 am - 5:00 pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.  Belmont will be open to the public on Wednesdays from 9:00 am - 3:00 pm and on the second Saturday of every month from 9:00 am - 3:00 pm for Safety Saturday.


Please visit us at the firehouse located at SE 35th & Belmont, where you will find stories, images, and firefighting equipment that is very approachable and in many cases, touchable. You won't want to miss taking a ride in our fire engine simulator and experience what it's like to drive a fire engine to an emergency call.


Visit the Belmont Firehouse website for more information or contact Alisa Cour, Public Information Manager, at 503-823-3383.

About Us
Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) is the largest fire agency in the State of Oregon with 755 employees and serves a population of 585,000.  In 2011, PF&R responded to 68,144 emergency incidents, consistently demonstrating its commitment to be Always Ready, Always There for the citizens of Portland.
Portland Fire & Rescue
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Portland, Oregon 97204
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