Sara Boone, Portland Fire & Rescue
Portland Fire & Rescue
Nomination from Elizabeth Thompson, Station 2A, Assistant Public Information Officer, Portland Fire & Rescue:
As a 24-year veteran and sole African American female member of PF&R, Chief Sara Boone has long had a passion for her job and a commitment for the care and wellbeing of Bureau members and the citizens of Portland, where she grew up. Chief Boone's career with PF&R began in 1995. She became a lieutenant in 2002, after placing first on the promotional list and then became a Captain in 2006 assigned at several Stations plus Training Academy and BHQ. In 2014, Boone promoted to Battalion Chief, served as Safety Chief, appointed Deputy Chief of Logistics and currently the Division Chief of Medical Services and Training.
In 2000 and 2001, she served as a district representative for Local 43, sharpening the listening skills needed to be an advocate for others concerns. At this time, she worked towards policy for light duty positions for pregnant firefighters, as at this time the Bureau had no forthwith to handle this need.
Chief Boone has served on numerous committees with the passion to assume long term goals for betterment of PF&R; Budget Strategic Planning Committee, Awards, Bureau Safety, Research and Development, Regional CBRNE, Metro Safety Chiefs, Health and Wellness, Mental Health Task Force, Cancer Reduction Task Force, 2017 FEMA AFG Peer Review Panel and SCBA Technical Committee.
Chief Munro summarized the incidents she responded to as a Battalion Chief in an 18-month period with statistics and the following:
"This response summary indicates that Sara Boone has a great deal of valuable experience. She has commanded emergencies involving some of the most stressful scenarios as a person can be faced with. She has demonstrated the ability to identify the appropriate strategies, assigned the required tactics to mitigate the incident, and ensure firefighter safety. She uses the appropriate radio terminology, remains calm under stress and effectively utilizes the Incident Command System. She also has a great deal of experience as an Incident Safety Officer. For these reasons, I feel she would be an excellent mentor for officers learning how to become Incident Commanders."
Chief Boone has worked tirelessly to acquire better SCBAs and funding to support this acquisition, which has included a three-year long process of collecting data, reviewing safety issues, advocating for reform on the fire ground and implementing changes. The following shows her dedication to firefighter welfare:
I wanted to quickly comment on Chief Boone’s response to an SCBA failure incident on 8-28. As you are aware we had a small house fire in which one of our members had a complete failure of his SCBA while committed deep within a building. Chief Boone was off duty but in town listening to the incident and immediately added herself to the call. On arriving she checked on the injured member and made sure the SCBA and mask were secured for further investigation. She then offered some advice regarding care and treatment options to the member. During the “Hot Wash” she provided some considered commentary regarding national and regional trends relative to significant FF injuries and LODD events. After the fire she went back to her office and followed up on the incident with specific documentation direction to the company and member involved. Before leaving she updated me on her efforts and the status of the investigation.
We don’t always see this kind of commitment from our Command Staff and I can’t tell you how much I appreciated her efforts. It is clear that she takes her position and the associated responsibilities seriously. More importantly it was very clear to me that she cares deeply about our members and their safety.
Chief Boone has taken the health and wellness to heart by listening and advocating members' concerns at a higher level. She set in motion mental health changes such as tracking traumatic events within the data system so appropriate personnel can check back in with members on emotionally involved incidents. Chief Boone worked with PF&R EAP Coordinator to augment the mental health assistance for members and their families.
Chief Boone is dedicated to PF&R members and their families further by unremittingly laboring for cancer reduction plans, which include advocating for a second set of turnouts, moving the EMS compartment away from diesel exhaust, air quality testing at fire stations, more complete exposure reporting and documentation and implementing fire ground and station deacon procedures. These action items require exhaustive work to organize data, document needs and resources, correspond with pertinent individuals and teams and formulate action plans and publications.
Chief Boone, throughout her career has believed in the importance of being a role model for the next generation. Her volunteer work has been actively promoting the fire service and PF&R through speaking engagements at local grade schools and community outreach forums to help all children visualize themselves in this career, but especially young girls and other children who may feel marginalized. Chief Boone has spoken at numerous schools including Russell Elementary, Irvington Grade School, Sabin Middle, Jefferson High, Evergreen High, PCC/Cascade, Self-Improvement Inc, and guest speaker for Women's History month at OHSU and Mt Hood Community College. She created a presentation on Women's history with an emphasis on the women who serve Portland Fire and Rescue.
Chief Boone has represented PF&R at Women in Trades job fairs, Black Student Success Summit and multiple career day events. She also represents PF&R on outside agency external promotional assessment panels, such as Seattle FD for captain and battalion chiefs, Las Vegas FD for captain and battalion chiefs and Dallas FD battalion chief.
Chief Boone's professional development includes not only her hard work through promotional ranks but also NW Leadership Seminars, Crude Oil by Rail Workshop, Occupational Cancer Awareness and Prevention Training, Fire Service Occupational Cancer Symposium, Incident Safety Officer, Instructor I and National Fire Academy Safety Program Manager.
Chief Boone has exemplified dedication, commitment and concern to members of PF&R and her community at large through her enormous efforts to keep all safe.
Nomination from Caryn Brooks:
She is Portland Fire's first African-American chief officer, but so much more. She is wise and leads with heart.
Nomination from Becky Lamboley:
Sara is one of two sworn Firefighters of color and the only woman of color to achieve the Division Chief title. Sara has the ability
to bring out the best in each person she encounters. She always seeks the success of those around her, looking for opportunities to mentor and support. She calls it like she sees it and holds us all accountable to be the best we can possibly be.