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55 SW Ash Street, Portland, OR 97204

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November 1st - Time to Turn Clocks Back & Check Your Smoke Alarms

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Did you know that five people have died in residential fires in Portland so far in 2009 where no smoke alarms were found or the alarm did not activate?

For years, "Change your clock, change your smoke alarm battery" was the advice from your firefighters. New technology has changed that. Now firefighters are asking you to "Change your clock, install a new smoke alarm with a 10-year lithium battery."

Any smoke alarm that is more than 10 years old has lost much of its effectiveness and should be replaced. A 1998 Oregon law requires that any new smoke alarm sold or installed in Oregon must contain a lithium battery that is expected to last up to 10 years.

Never replace the battery in a new-technology smoke alarm. Instead, replace the entire unit. New alarms are simply not designed to work for longer than the 10-year life span.

The new smoke alarms also have a "Hush Button." This button will silence the alarm when nuisance smoke or shower steam accidentally set it off. Pushing the button will silence the device for up to 15 minutes before it resets itself. By installing a new smoke alarm with the "Hush Button," you will never forget to put the battery back in after a nuisance activation.

None of these features reduce the need to test every smoke alarm every month.

Smoke alarms continue to provide your best protection against dying in a fire. Most fires occur in the home and the greatest risk is when you are sleeping. Protect yourself and your loved ones by checking your smoke alarm today. Replace the old technology with the new: smoke alarms with a lithium battery and hush feature.

If you qualify, Portland Fire & Rescue will provide and install a smoke alarm for free! Call the "Smoke Alarm Hotline" at (503) 823-3752 for details.

 

October 30, 2009

Fire Trivia: Dalmations as Fire Department Mascots

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Each week, the Fire Blog will offer a trivia question and answer to boost your fire IQ:

 

Q:  Why are Dalmations fire department mascots?

Think you know the answer?  Post a comment and look for the answer on Monday!

October 30, 2009


  

CONGRATULATIONS MICHAEL SILVA!

Your answer was spot on!

 

 

 

A:  In the days before firehouses even existed, Dalmatians were bred and trained for the specific purpose of preventing highway robbery. Dalmatians, or "coach dogs," ran alongside of horse-drawn stagecoaches, and acted as a buffers and bodyguards to ward off robbers who attempted to ambush the carriages.

 

When horse-drawn fire engines arrived on the scene, firefighters naturally chose Dalmatians to assist them, since the breed was accustomed to running long-distances and being around horses. Their bright white coats covered with large black spots made them a highly visible warning sign to bystanders and onlookers.  The dogs ran ahead of, and cleared the path for, fire engines racing towards a fire. They also formed a strong bond with the fire horses and kept them company in the stations.

 

With technological advancement, horse-drawn fire engines became obsolete, and the need for Dalmatians to clear the way for fire engines no longer existed. Fortunately, firefighters did not fire the gentle Dalmatian from their position in the department. Instead, they honored the Dalmatian by adopting the breed as the official firehouse mascot. 

 

Look for the next round of Fire Trivia on Friday, November 6, 2009!

 

November 2, 2009

Proud of our firefighters - Past and Present!

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Irv Saunders (left) of Laguna Woods, California and Vernon Buss of Portland.

Photo by Doug Beghtel, The Oregonian

 

Vernon Buss was honored on July 29, 2009 by U.S. Representative Darrell Issa (R-California) with a commendation read into the Congressional Record.  Corporal Vernon Buss, an aircraft mechanic and marine in WWII, was honored and commended for rescuing fellow Marine Staff Sergeant Irving Saunders on January 24, 1945 from an F4-U Corsair aircraft fire on an island in the Philippines. 

The commendation read, in part:

“With total disregard for his own safety, Corporal Buss rushed to the side of Staff Sergeant Irving Saunders and carried him away from the burning aircraft, the burning pools of gasoline and the random detonations of .50 caliber ammunition as it ‘cooked off’ from the Corsair’s burning ammunition supply.”

When Corporal Buss’ tour ended, he returned to Portland.  He worked in a rendering plant and then joined the Portland Fire Bureau where he worked for 31 years, retired at the rank of a Battalion Chief, and had a fireboat named after him. 

We are proud to stand alongside you Battalion Chief Buss!

To read more of this story, click here.

October 29, 2009

Congratulations Portland!

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The Portland metro area, along with Vancouver and Beaverton, has been ranked the third safest city in the United States (US) by Forbes.com. 

Forbes.com, an online source for the latest business and financial news and analysis, reviewed the country’s 40 largest metropolitan statistical areas across four categories of danger:

  1. Violent crime rates: Extracted from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s 2008 uniform crime report
  2. 2008 workplace death rates:  Provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics
  3. 2008 traffic death rates: Provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
  4. Natural disaster risk ranking:  Provided by www.SustainLane.com, a green living website

Which city was ranked the safest city in the US? How about the most dangerous?  Click here to find out and view the entire list!

October 29, 2009

Being in the Trenches: Rescue Training

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On October 28th, 29th, and 30th, Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) firefighters will be working with the Portland Water Bureau and the Portland Maintenance Bureau to practice the skills that will save workers in the event of a trench collapse. Firefighters will be practicing their skills and working with their specialized equipment in an actual trench. They will be working on a scenario involving a trapped worker at the bottom of the trench. Two scenarios will be run each day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.
 

PF&R’S TRENCH RESCUE SPECIALTY TEAM:

The PF&R Trench Rescue Team is specially training to respond to trapped persons in open excavations defined as trenches.  An excavation that is deeper than it is wide and narrower than it is long is defined as a trench.  Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) regulations require trenches to be secure before workers enter them for any reason.  OSHA and the National Fire Protection Association have established stringent safety procedures, operational requirements, and rescuer qualification standards related to trenching operations. 

 

SPECIALIZED EQUIPMENT:

The team uses special rescue equipment including panels made from extremely strong plywood and various adapters and hardware to assemble and install shoring that protects the rescuers while they excavate hundreds or even thousands of pounds of dirt to reach trapped victims.  Most of the digging is accomplished with hand trowels and small shovels to prevent injuring the patient as they are dug out.  The trench has to be made safe for entry before the rescue operation can begin.

Removing one trapped patient can take as long as several hours due to the time it takes to build the shoring around them and then dig them out. Engine 1, Truck 1, and Squad 1 (Heavy Rescue 1) will respond along with the Trench Van which is outfitted with all equipment.  All apparatus can be deployed across the Portland area to expedite rescue response.

SHARED RESOURCES:

Many of the special rescue tools used for trench rescue can also be used by other disciplines such as confined space rescue, structural collapse, heavy rescue, and even the rope equipment can be utilized by the high angle rope rescue team.   

October 28, 2009