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55 SW Ash Street, Portland, OR 97204
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Administrative focus on cutting costs brings overtime down additional 9.3% from last year
Now that the final tally for Portland Fire and Rescue’s fiscal year 2012 – 2013 expenditures are in, PF&R Chief Erin Janssens reports that through tight controls, the bureau decreased overtime spending by $747,000. That’s an 9.3% decrease from last year. Over the past four years, the bureau has reduced overtime costs by 21% (adjusted for inflation).
“Everyone knows we strive to keep people safe and provide excellence in emergency services, but we are also good stewards of taxpayer dollars; we work hard to be as efficient as possible while continuing to be one of the most effective and aggressive urban fire & rescue departments in the nation.” says Janssens. “It was a tough budget year, but by tightening overtime policies and having a cost-effective ‘traveler pool,’ we were able to make a significant dent in these kinds of expenditures.”
Overtime in a fire department is often a complicated manner. Each fire apparatus has minimum staffing requirements (established nationally) in order to respond safely, and effectively to emergencies. This means that if any one of four firefighters at a neighborhood station is sick or on vacation (on approved leave creating a vacancy), that position needs to be filled in order to operate safely and effectively. PF&R utilizes an efficiency called a “traveler pool” – a group of trained firefighters whose assignment is to fill these vacancies from approved earned leave. Through number crunching and modeling, PF&R was able to determine that this is the most cost-efficient approach to staffing at fire stations.
“Portland Fire & Rescue is responding to our city’s need by becoming the sort of modern and efficient fire & rescue department that these economic times call for,” says Fire Commissioner Dan Saltzman. “PF&R continually gets high marks from our citizens for response excellence, so I’m happy to see them also demonstrate the tough fiscal responsibility Portlanders need.”
PF&R has teamed up with Legacy Oregon Burn Center on a Public Service Announcement about the dangers of smoking while on oxygen and released it during a recent press conference.
Here's the PSA on PF&R's YouTube Channel: http://youtu.be/ZDLIyjwtNrg
Here's a story on the press conference in the Oregonian: http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2013/07/smokers_who_light_up_while_rec.html#incart_river
Portland City Council moved to accept and appropriate a grant from the Department of Homeland Security to replace Portland Fire & Rescue's outdated facepieces
On the left: A PF&R facepiece that failed from heat. On the right: The new facepiece design.
Once again, Portland Fire & Rescue and Portland Police teamed up to patrol city streets to confiscate illegal fireworks and write citations.
Once again, Portland Fire & Rescue and Portland Police teamed up to patrol city streets to confiscate illegal fireworks and write citations. Patrols started Thurs, July 3 and continued through Sunday, July 7. Patrol teams wrote 135 citations with a total fine amount of $70,500: that’s almost three times the dollar amount from 2012. Last year, 121 citations were written worth $26,000.
The enforcement operation was coupled with an education campaign using newspapers, radio and social media to explain why illegal fireworks are such a concern to our citizens and public safety agencies. This year, our dispatch center received 573 illegal fireworks complaint calls during the period of July 3rd, 4 th and 5th.
“Portland Fire & Rescue inspectors, along with our partners at the Police Bureau, worked hard to reduce injuries, property loss, environmental impact, and anxiety to people and pets this Fourth of July season. My hope is that each year our collaboration lessens the problem,” said PF&R Chief Erin Janssens.
Even with beefed up patrols, Portland faced serious public safety issues due to illegal firework usage this year. On July 4th, illegal fireworks caused at least one significant fire at a duplex in Sellwood -- other fires are still being investigated. Additionally, on July 4th Portland Police arrested a man for allegedly setting off an illegal firework in Northeast Portland that misfired and hit an unaffiliated group nearby, sending two of them to the hospital, one with serious burns.
“Illegal fireworks use and misuse are not a victimless crime. Our partnership with PF&R is a great collaboration that allows us to educate and enforce these laws. We want Portlanders to have safe and legal Independence Day celebrations,” said Portland Police Chief Mike Reese.
Read Chief Janssens' statement here: