Issue No. 42                                                                         November 2015
Lila the Arson Dog Toasted at
Retirement Party

Earlier this week, Lila (Portland Fire & Rescue's Arson Dog since 2008) ate her first bowl of food since starting her career seven years ago. To help in her work, her trainer and partner Lt. Fabian Jackson has only fed her bits of food from his hand. On Monday, the eve of her ninth birthday (the retirement age of all dogs who are part of the Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosive (ATF&E) Accelerant Canine Detection Team (ACDT) Program), Lila received a bowl of food from Lt. Jackson that she eagerly chowed down in front of a bank of television cameras and colleagues from the bureau.

Lt. Jackson, a 27-year veteran with Portland Fire & Rescue, works with the investigations unit and acts as an ATF&E Task Force Officer as well. He and Lila have traveled all over the country to help sniff out accelerants and piece together the cause of fires. The day was an emotional one for Jackson as his loyal partner who has been by his side at all times for the past seven years will no longer be coming to work with him.

Lila started her career as an eight-week-old puppy training to be a guide dog for the blind in Texas. Due to her keen sense of smell and love for birds, Lila was redirected to the ACDT program. Lila arrived at the ATF&E canine training facility six weeks prior to Jackson's arrival. Lila and Jackson spent the next six weeks learning their new craft and bonding.

Once graduated and certified, the team was called into action from as far north as Ferndale, Washington to as far south as Phoenix, Arizona with the ATF&E National Response Team (NRT). Lila has worked scenes as small as vehicle fires to as large as commercial buildings a city block long. 

Lila has worked numerous fire scenes that have resulted in arrests and arson convictions throughout the states of Oregon and Washington. Lila can sniff out 30 flammable substances. When she detected something, she would sit and look at Jackson for a treat. He'd reward her with fish-flavored kibble.

One memorable conviction Lila helped with was when Portland Fire & Rescue investigators were looking to prove that a man suspected of setting a blaze at his ex-girlfriend's home was in fact the arsonist. The suspect was violent and had threatened the homeowner. At the crime scene, there were no fingerprints and no traces of DNA. Lila picked up a trail of gasoline spread throughout the house and this evidence was used in part to convict the arsonist.

Lt. Jackson will be going to the ATF&E canine training facility to be assigned and train PF&R's new arson dog. Lila will join Jackson and his family at home and spend her days relaxing: eating bowls of food, sniffing flowers instead of accelerants, and catching balls not arsonists. PF&R thanks Lila for her service and presented her with a new dog bed adorned with fire bureau patches.
Thanksgiving Safety Tips
Did you know Thanksgiving is the leading day of the year nationwide for home fires involving cooking equipment? Safety in the kitchen is always important (kitchen fires are the #1 cause of home fires in Portland), but kitchen safety is especially important on holidays like Thanksgiving when there's a lot of activity and people at home.
Unattended cooking is the top contributing factor to kitchen fires and many of the injuries that occur happen when people respond with inappropriate actions. Observe the following "Do's and Don'ts" to avoid these common fires and fire injuries.
  • Attend to your cooking.
  • Keep handles of stovetop pots and pans turned in.
  • Keep things that catch fire away from your stovetop.
If you have a cooking fire:
  • Smother the fire by sliding a lid over the pan.
  • Turn off the burner.
  • For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
  • For a microwave fire, unplug or turn off the power at the breaker and keep the door closed.
  • Never pour water on a grease fire!
  • Never discharge a portable extinguisher into a cooking pan - it will spread the fire.
  • Do not try to carry pots or pans of grease outside - this can lead to scalds and serious burns.
While Portland Fire & Rescue discourages the use of outdoor gas-fueled deep fryers, if you plan to deep fry turkey this year please be mindful of the risks.
The Dangers of 
Turkey Fryers
  • Hot oil may splash or spill during the cooking. Contact between hot oil and skin could result in serious injury.
  • Fryers can tip over or collapse causing the hot oil to spill. Newer countertop units using a solid base appear to reduce this risk.
  • When deep frying, oil is heated to temperatures of 350 degrees or more. Cooking oil is combustible. If it is heated above its cooking temperature, its vapors can ignite.
  • Propane-fired turkey fryers must be used outdoors. But if it rains or snows, the oil may splatter or turn to steam, leading to burns.
  • Turkeys must be completely thawed before placing in the fryer. A partially thawed turkey will cause oil to splatter causing serious burns (check out this video)
  • Fryers use a lot of oil, about five gallons. Considering the size and weight of the turkey, extreme caution must be taken when placing and removing the turkey from the fryer to be sure it's not dropped back into the fryer, splattering oil on the chef.
PF&R encourages those who like fried turkey to look for stores that sell them pre-cooked or consider using an "oil-less" turkey fryer.
Fall Landlord Training Program

Are you a landlord? PF&R, along with the Bureau of Development Services and the Portland Police Bureau, offers free landlord training classes to help rental unit owners manage their property. The classes teach how to: keep illegal activity out of rentals, maintain property in compliance with City regulations, and partner with City services and programs that help provide habitable housing. Upcoming classes are on December 11th, 12th, 14th, and 16th. Click here to learn more about this training opportunity and how you can better protect your residential property investment.

Join the Great American Smokeout! 
Portland Fire & Rescue encourages all smokers to join the Great American Smokeout on November 20th. Every year, on the third Thursday of November, smokers across the nation take part in this American Cancer Society event. Some participants use the date to make a plan to quit, while others plan in advance and then quit smoking on the day of the Smokeout. In short, the event is designed to challenge people to stop using tobacco and help them learn about the many tools they can use to quit and stay quit.
As you may know, cigarettes are a leading cause of fire deaths on a city, state, and national level. Tragically, there were 3 smoking-related fire deaths and 1 critical burn in Portland just last month. Victims of smoking material fires include not only smokers but their families, friends and neighbors.
Most cigarette fires are caused by improperly discarded smoking material (cigarettes, cigars, pipes, etc). These fires often start outside, then move to a structure. Other common ignition factors include falling asleep while smoking and smoking with medical oxygen.
Prevent smoking material fires by following these tips:
  • Do not smoke in bed or anywhere that you may fall asleep.
  • If you smoke, smoke outside.
  • Do not discard cigarettes in potted plants, landscape vegetation or bark dust - they can easily catch fire!
  • Use a deep, sturdy ashtray or a non-combustible container that cannot be tipped over.
  • Before throwing away butts or ashes, douse in water or sand.
  • Never smoke in a home where oxygen is used.
For more safety tips click here.  You can also find information on quitting tobacco and finding telephone counseling or other support by calling 1-800-227-2345. Visit "Stay Away from Tobacco" to learn more.
PF&R in the News

About PF&R

Portland's fire service history began in the spring of 1851, with the founding of the Pioneer Engine Company, the same year the City of Portland was officially incorporated. No more than a bucket brigade, it was a volunteer force of 37 fire fighters wearing red shirts with a single hand pump.
Today, Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) is the largest fire and emergency services provider in the State of Oregon with 725 employees and serves a population of 610,000. In 2013, PF&R responded to 70,386 emergency incidents.
Portland Fire & Rescue
55 SW Ash St
Portland, Oregon 97204
Follow us on the PF&R Newsfeed and Public Alerts.
If you have questions or suggestions, contact the E-News Editor.

Like us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter