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The City of Portland, Oregon

Fire & Rescue

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Phone: 503-823-3700

Fax: 503-823-3710

55 SW Ash Street, Portland, OR 97204

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Old Flames - Firefighters' Widow Group

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The “Old Flames” are a group of widows whose husbands used to work for Portland Fire & Rescue.  In most cases, their husbands passed away quite a number of years ago.  

The ladies meet every month or so for lunch and catch up on old times.  In March 2010, they met at the Historic Belmont Firehouse, a place that that carries memories for all of them.  In fact, when they met at Belmont for the first time several years ago, most had never been in a Portland Fire Station since their husbands had passed away.

The group of ladies is a lively addition to the firehouse schedule.  The stories they tell often eclipse the experiences shared by firefighters. Somehow they always knew the real stories behind life in the firehouse.  


Public Education Officer Don Porth, who manages the Historic Belmont Firehouse says, “There’s no group I’d rather host than the Old Flames. It’s a pleasure to welcome them back for a family meal around the firehouse. After all, they are family.”

March 18, 2010  

Honor, Bravery, and Service: Lieutenant Adolph Wefel

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Lieutenant Adolph Wefel

Adolph Wefel, Lieutenant on Engine 13, died on June 1, 1923 at North Benton and Clackamas Streets when a brick chimney fell on him during the overhaul phase of the fire.  

It was almost 10:30 pm that Friday night and Engine 13 had turned in the recall on the house fire.  While searching the fire scene for hot spots, Lieutenant Wefel fell victim to a chimney, which toppled over, pummeling him with bricks.  His crew carried him to the porch of the burned building and Chief Lee Holden administered first aid but it was too late.  Lieutenant Wefel was transported to Good Samaritan Hospital but could not be resuscitated.  

The fire was deemed to have been intentionally set but no culprit was ever found.  Lieutenant Wefel was slated for promotion to Captain on July 1, 1923. Wefel was 39 years old at the time of his death and left a wife and four children.  He was hired May 16, 1905 and assigned to Truck 5.  He also served at Truck 4 and Engine 7 before his eventual promotion and transfer to Engine 13.  

Portland Fire & Rescue honors and remembers Lieutenant Wefel's service.

March 18, 2010

Week In Review: Tag Cloud

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March 19, 2010

Earthquake Safety

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When was the last earthquake you remember in Oregon?  Was it the earthquake that shook Oregon offshore in January 2003 with a 6.3 magnitude?  Or was it in September 1993 in Klamath Falls, Oregon with a 6.0 magnitude that caused an estimated 7.5 million U.S. dollars in damage?

Did you know that yesterday, right here in the Portland urban area, we experienced a 2.1 magnitude earthquake?  We did! Each year, there are over 1,000 earthquakes with magnitude 1.0 or greater in Washington and Oregon. Of these, approximately two dozen are large enough to be felt. These felt events offer us a subtle reminder that the Pacific Northwest is an earthquake-prone region. As residents of the Pacific Northwest, we should be prepared for the consequences of larger earthquakes that could result in damage to the transportation systems and lifelines. 

We've heard in the news about the devistating earthquakes in Haiti, Chile, and now southern California. These places have been damaged by sizable earthquakes leaving buildings destroyed and people without a place to call home.  Though earthquakes are just another force of Mother Nature that we can’t control, there can be preventative measures taken to ensure safety.  Though you won’t become an earthquake expert just by reading the tips below, it could make a tremendous difference on the safety of you and your loved ones.

Before the Earthquake

  • Learn how to survive during the ground motion. This is described in the "During the Earthquake" section below. The earthquake safety tips there will prepare you for the fast action needed - most earthquakes are over in seconds so knowing what to do instinctively is very important.
  • Teach all members of your family about earthquake safety. This includes: 1) the actions you should take when an earthquake occurs, 2) the safe places in a room such as under a strong desk, along interior walls, and 3) places to avoid such as near windows, large mirrors, hanging objects, heavy furniture and fireplaces.
  • Stock up on emergency supplies. These include: battery operated radio (and extra batteries), flashlights (and extra batteries), first aid kit, bottled water, two weeks food and medical supplies, blankets, cooking fuel, tools needed to turn off your gas, water and electric utilities.
  • Arrange your home for safety: Store heavy objects on lower shelves and store breakable objects in cabnents with latched doors. Don't hang heavy mirrors or pictures above where people frequently sit or sleep.
  • Anchor heavy appliances and furniture such as water heaters, refrigerators and bookcases.
  • Store flamable liquids away from potential ignition sources such as water heaters, stoves and furnaces.
  • Get Educated. Learn what to do during an earthquake (see below). Then you will be ready for the fast action needed. Make sure that all members of your family have this important education.
  • Learn where the main turn-offs are for your water, gas and electricity. Know how to turn them off and the location of any needed tools.

During the Earthquake

  • If you are indoors, stay there. Quickly move to a safe location in the room such as under a strong desk, a strong table, or along an interior wall. The goal is to protect yourself from falling objects and be located near the structural strong points of the room. Avoid taking cover near windows, large mirrors, hanging objects, heavy furniture, heavy appliances or fireplaces.
  • If you are cooking, turn off the stove and take cover.
  • If you are outdoors, move to an open area where falling objects are unlikely to strike you. Move away from buildings, powerlines and trees.
  • If you are driving, slow down smoothly and stop on the side of the road. Avoid stopping on or under bridges and overpasses, or under power lines, trees and large signs. Stay in your car.

After the Earthquake

  • Check for injuries, attend to injuries if needed, help ensure the safety of people around you.
  • Check for damage. If your building is badly damaged you should leave it until it has been inspected by a safety professional.
  • If you smell or hear a gas leak, get everyone outside and open windows and doors. If you can do it safely, turn off the gas at the meter. Report the leak to the gas company and fire department. Do not use any electrical appliances because a tiny spark could ignite the gas.
  • If the power is out, unplug major appliances to prevent possible damage when the power is turned back on. If you see sparks, frayed wires, or smell hot insulation turn off electricity at the main fuse box or breaker. If you will have to step in water to turn off the electricity you should call a professional to turn it off for you.


Click on the below subject matter to learn more about Oregon's earthquake history and see live seismic data!

March 19, 2010 

National Poison Prevention Week: Tips to Prevent Poisonings

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In President Obama's Presidential Proclamation on March 15, 2010, he emphasized the importance of alerting American families about the dangers of accidental poisonings and providing information on safety measures that can prevent senseless injuries and deaths. Portland Fire & Rescue has researched and provided below safety tips to prevent poisonings for you, your family, and friends.  These safety tips are brought to you by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Drugs and Medicines

  • When you take or give medicines, make sure to first read and then follow directions on the label. Read all warning labels thoroughly and take time to learn about drug interactions and other cautions.  Drug interactions may make your drug less effective, cause unexpected side effects, or increase the action of a particular drug. Some drug interactions can even be harmful to you. Also, some medicines cannot be taken safely when you take other medicines or drink alcohol.
  • If you take or give medications at night, make sure to turn on a light so you can ensure you have the correct amount or dose of the right medicine.
  • Keep all medicines in their original bottles or containers.
  • Never share or sell your prescription drugs.
  • Keep pain medications in a safe place that can only be accessed by people who take or give them.
  • Monitor the use of medicines prescribed for children and teenagers, including medicines for attention deficit disorder, etc.
  • Dispose safety of unused, unneeded, or expired prescription drugs.

Household Chemicals

  • Always read the label before using any products in your household.
  • Keep products in their original bottles or containers.
  • Don’t use food containers to store chemical products.
  • Never mix household products together.
  • Wear protective clothing (gloves, long sleeves, long pants, socks, shoes) if you spray pesticides or other chemicals.
  • Turn on the fan and open windows when using chemical products such as household cleaners.

Keep Young Children Safe from Poisoning

  • Put the poison control number, 1-800-222-1222, on or near every home telephone and save it on your cell phone. Remember, doctors and nurses are staffed to assist you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All it takes is a phone call.
  • Keep all drugs in medicine cabinets or other childproof cabinets that are inaccessible by children.
  • Avoid taking medicine in front of children or referring to it as “candy.”
  • Be cognizant of any legal or illegal drugs that guests may bring into your home. Do not let guests leave drugs where children can find them.
  • Never leave children alone with household products or drugs. If you are using chemical products or taking medicine and you have to do something else, such as answer the phone, take any young children with you.
  • Do not leave household products out after using them. Return the products to a childproof cabinet as soon as you are done with them.
  • Identify poisonous plants in your house and yard and place them out of reach of children or remove them.

What to do if a poisoning occurs

  1. Stay calm.
  2. Call 911 if you have a poison emergency, the victim has collapsed, or is not breathing. If the victim is awake and alert, dial 1-800-222-1222. Be ready to provide (1) the victim’s age and weight, (2) the container or bottle of the poison if available, (3) the time of the poison exposure, and (4) the address where the poisoning occurred.
  3. Stay on the phone and follow the instructions from the emergency operator or poison control center.

March 19, 2010