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Always Ready, Always There

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55 SW Ash Street, Portland, OR 97204

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NEWS RELEASE 01/26/12: Portland Firefighters Perform Perilous Nighttime Water Rescue in Willamette River

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January 26, 2012

8:05 AM

At 11:15 pm, Dan Sinclair was riding his bicycle along the Eastbank Esplanade headed southbound when he heard a voice calling for help from the river below.  Upon scanning the water, he spotted someone splashing in the Willamette River about 25 yards off shore. 

Sinclair immediately rode his bike the short distance to Portland Fire Station 21 (Eastbank/Hawthorne Bridge) to alert firefighters that someone needed help.  Also on shore were two men, Sam Policar and Justin Wisdom, who were sturgeon fishing.  While Sinclair went for help, Policar and Wisdom attempted to hook onto the man with their fishing lines to pull him to shore.  Fortunately, the river’s current pushed the struggling man closer to shore.  Wisdom took off his coat, poked one of his coat sleeves through a fence, and the man was able to grab on.

Portland firefighters responded fromStation 21with the Eldon Trinity rescue boat and from Station 1 (OldTown) with a rescue craft, which is operated by a driver and a rescue swimmer.  Rescue Craft 1 spotted the man in the water where Wisdom was struggling to hold onto the man and water rushed over his body. 

As Rescue Craft 1 driver Mike Held came alongside the man, Bill Schimel, a 12-year veteran of Portland Fire & Rescue, slid into the water and attempted to pull the man onto the platform of the water craft. 

With the current running swift and high, Schimel began struggling to hang onto the man and pull him to safety.  As the craft drifted along with the current, Held called upon Policar to assist him in steadying the craft from shore while he helped Schimel pull the man onto the rescue craft.

"I knew that if I lost my grip on him, he would drift under a massive debris field of logs that was floating just 100 yards downstream and likely be pulled under," said Schimel.  "In my 12 years as a firefighter, this was the most dangerous rescue I’ve ever taken part in."

Firefighter Held immediately returned toStation 21where firefighter/paramedics administered aid to the man and he was transported to Oregon Health Sciences University.  It is unknown how the man in his 30’s ended up on the water.



   Portland Fire & Rescue 

   We Respond: Always Ready, Always There

   January 26, 2012


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Firefighters Help Assemble Classroom Emergency "Go Kits"

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Fire Inspectors Salisbury and Rouse,  Lieutenants Silva and Jackson, and Senior Fire Inspector Seifert

On Tuesday, January 17, 2012, volunteers from across the community descended upon Marshall High School’s Campus to help assemble 3,000 emergency kits for Portland Public School (PPS) classrooms. 

Among the faces in the assembly line were Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) Battalion Chief Mark Kaiel, Lieutenant Anjanette Jackson, Senior Fire Inspector Michael Silva, and Fire Inspectors Trudi Salisbury, John Seifert, and Ron Rouse. At the event, PPS administrators recognized individuals including Lieutenant Jackson with plaques for their assistance, participation, and support of PPS emergency preparedness efforts.

Lieutenant Jackson receives an award from PPS

The kits are part of the school district's effort to become better prepared for emergencies. PPS is currently utilizing a Readiness and Emergency Preparedness for Schools (REMS) grant to update school and district response plans and increase awareness and preparedness. Portland Fire & Rescue is a partner agency that supports PPS’s grant efforts.

Senior Fire Inspector Seifert and Fire Inspector Salisbury build emergency kits

The Emergency Go-Kits are a portable five-gallon bucket that can be used inside the classroom during a lock-in and taken with the class during an evacuation. The buckets contain the following items:

  • 1 (5) Gallon Bucket
  • 1 Toilet Seat Cover (Bucket can double as a portable bathroom for emergency situations)
  • 1 Pack of Toilet Bags (12 each)
  • 1 Emergency Shake Light (No batteries required)
  • 1 Medium Sized First Aid Kit
  • 1 Whistle with Lanyard
  • 3 Pack of emergency water packets
  • 2 Emergency Blankets
  • 2 Rolls of toilet paper
  • 1 Deck of cards

Just as the schools are assembling kits to utilize during an emergency, Portland Fire & Rescue encourages citizens to put together their own home emergency supply kits. Click here for recommended items and ways to prepare for an emergency.

NEWS RELEASE 01/26/12: Portland Firefighters Battle Early Morning House Fire in NE Portland

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January 26, 2012

12:05 PM

At 1:55 am, Portland Fire & Rescue received reports of smoke and flames coming from a house on fire at 409 NE 126th. Upon arrival, Portland Fire Station 7 (Mill Park) encountered heavy fire inside the structure. Firefighters discovered a 5 foot by 5 foot hole in the floor that extended into the crawl space. The Incident Commander was concerned for firefighters' safety and stationed a firefighter to watch over the space to ensure that no firefighters were injured while battling the blaze.

Ladder truck crews cut a hole in the roof of the home to vent the heat, smoke, and flames and used forcible entry to open the garage door, allowing engine crews to bring the blaze under control in about 15 minutes.

It was determined that the home was vacant and undergoing an extensive remodel at the time of the fire. Fire Investigators are investing the fire's cause and estimate damage to the home to be approximately $75,000.

Photos and fire cause will be released as they become available.



   Portland Fire & Rescue 

   We Respond: Always Ready, Always There

   January 26, 2012


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Get to Know Your Neighborhood Firefighter: Lieutenant Brad Cullison

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I am currently am assigned to provide coverage at stations to the Cathedral Park,St. Johns, and Linnton neighborhoods in North Portland.



I was hired as a line firefighter when I was 20 years old in October 2000 and promoted to a Fire Lieutenant nine years later.  In spring 2006, I was selected to join the Special Emergency Response Team (SERT) as a paramedic.  SERT team members respond to incidents involving uncooperative armed suspects (such as barricaded subjects or hostage situations). As a paramedic, I provide advanced life support for SERT team members that are in harms-way.


My crew was very fresh at Station 2 and we were sent to the North Portland Bluff Fire that eventually went 5 alarms.  When we arrived on-scene, people were packing their cars with valuables and fleeing, fearing all their houses were going to burn like a scene out of southern California.  Eventually, we had Blackhawks above us performing water drops.  I remember thinking that is one thing I never thought I would see working for a big city. 


We were sent to a young boy reported to have some time of hand injury.  Unfortunately, there was a language barrier and the 9-1-1 dispatcher was unable to get any further information.  We found a 5 year-old boy who stuck his hand up the ice cube dispenser of the fridge that his parents believed to be inoperable.  Unfortunately, the machine engaged and trapped the young boy’s hand. 

The crew and I were unable to even fully open the door of the fridge to take apart the machine since his hand was through the chute and stuck towards the back.  Working as a tea, we weighed all options to free his hand and manage his pain.  It took 45 minutes of working to dismantling the fridge and plan "B", plan "C", etc.  There was no training guide on this situation.  It showed the importance of having good communication within your crew and having members with different backgrounds or skills.


Fish tacos or buffalo chicken burgers.  There are a lot of other things I like to make, but they definitely don't fall into the "healthy" recipe book which has become a lot more popular.


I worked for the pools of a park district.  I lifeguarded and taught swimming lessons including our lifeguard training programs.


Integrity.  A successful firefighter wants to do their best just because and for no other reason. 


During the summer, I enjoy boating or camping anywhere on the water.  I live on a floating home, so mostly I enjoy any hot weather where I can relax on my deck, jump in, and swim in my backyard. In the winter time, I look forward to fishing when it's wet and golfing when it's dry (there's nobody else on the course when it's 40 degrees)!


I always try to make a rapid assessment of what we have and what/who we need.  When you need some support, you want it quick!


KNOW YOUR JOB AND ORGANIZATION. That's one of my former advisors' ten rules of the fire service.  You should strive to learn every aspect and be the best at your position.  But not only be educated in your position, but strive to know what others are doing or things going on in your department.  Knowing those things can only make you better at being a solid piece of the puzzle.



   Portland Fire & Rescue 

   We Respond: Always Ready, Always There

   January 26, 2012


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Driving in the Rain - Make Sure You Can See & Be Seen

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In the first 25 days of January, the City of Portland has already accumulated heavy amounts of rain on the roadway. When the road is wet, the water on the asphalt can cause tires to lose traction. Another effect of heavy rain is the reduction in driver perception and a decrease in visibility through its action on headlights, windshields, and the road itself.

Each year during this time, Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) sees a visible increase in the number of traffic accidents in the greater city of Portland. In January 2010,Portland firefighters responded to just over 200 traffic accidents.  One year later, that number increased by 16% to 245.

PF&R encourages citizens to follow the tips below which will help enable you, and those who share the road with you, from becoming a statistic.

  • Always allow for additional travel time during rainy weather; rushing equals higher risk. Plan to drive at a slower pace than normal when the roads are wet. Keep in mind that traffic is likely to be moving slower as well.
  • Brake earlier and with less force than you would normally. This will increase the stopping distance between you and the car in front of you, and let the driver behind you know that you're slowing down. Also, be more meticulous about using turn signals, so that other drivers know your intentions, and take turns and curves with less speed than you would in dry conditions.
  • If possible, stay toward the middle of the road to avoid deep standing puddles.
  • Don't use cruise control. If you hydroplane, there's the chance your car could actually accelerate. Cruise control also allows drivers to be less vigilant and to take their foot away from the pedals.
  • If you see a large puddle up ahead, drive around it or choose a different route. It could be that it's covering a huge gaping maw into the front door of hell. Well, maybe not, but water splashing up into your car's engine compartment could damage its internal electrical systems. Also, a pothole may be hiding under the water, just waiting in ambush to damage a wheel or knock your suspension out of alignment. If you can't gauge the depth, or if it's covering up the side curb, try to avoid it.
  • Turn on your headlights, even when there's a light sprinkle. It helps you see the road and aids other motorists in seeing you.
  • Watch out for pedestrians.
  • If it's raining so hard that you can't see the road or the car in front of you, pull over and wait it out.
  • Track the car ahead of you. Let the car ahead pave a clear path through the water.
  • Give a truck or bus extra distance.  
  • Defog your windows. Rain will quickly cause your windshield to fog up. Switch on both front and rear defrosters and make sure the air conditioning is turned on. Most cars' climate control systems will automatically engage the A/C when the windshield defrost function is selected.
  • If you start to hydroplane, don't brake suddenly or turn the wheel, or you might spin into a skid. Release the gas pedal slowly and steer straight until the car regains traction. If you must brake, tap the brake pedal (unless you have antilock brakes, in which case you can put your foot down).



   Portland Fire & Rescue 

   We Respond: Always Ready, Always There

   January 27, 2012


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