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The City of Portland, Oregon

Fire & Rescue

Always Ready, Always There

Phone: 503-823-3700

Fax: 503-823-3710

55 SW Ash Street, Portland, OR 97204

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Portland Firefighters Gather to Remember a Fallen Member

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On the evening of February 02, 2010, members from Portland Fire & Rescue Station 19 gathered at the old Station 19 to honor the passing of Firefighter/Hoseman Fred Rittenour. Firefighter Rittenour died while on-duty on February 01, 1923 at old Station 19, located at 6049 SE Stark Street in Portland, Oregon. Although some of the details of the incident have been lost, it is known that Firefighter Rittenour fell from the old hay loft in the hose tower and was pronounced deceased at 9:50 p.m. 

Firefighter Rittenour was born on September 08, 1879 and was appointed to the City of Portland as Firefighter/Hoseman on June 01, 1904 after having served in the Spanish-American War of 1898.  He was survived by his wife Alice, and two children. He was buried in Portland, Oregon at the Rose City Cemetery.  Although he is not honored on the Campbell Memorial, he can be found on the Oregon State Firefighters Memorial. The Oregon State Firefighters Memorial, located in Salem, Oregon at the Oregon Public Safety Academy, recognizes all Oregon firefighters who have died in the line-of-duty. Click here to learn more.

Blog post and photo courtesy of Firefighter/Public Information Officer Justin De Ruyter

February 3, 2010

Disaster Preparedness for Your Pets

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The best way to protect your family from the effects of a disaster is to have a disaster plan. If you are a pet owner, that plan must include your pets. Being prepared can save their lives.  In the event of a disaster, if you must evacuate, the most important thing you can do to protect your pets is to evacuate them, too. Leaving pets behind, even if you try to create a safe place for them, is likely to result in their being injured, lost, or worse. So prepare now for the day when you and your pets may have to leave your home.  

  • Local and state health and safety regulations do not permit the Red Cross to allow pets in disaster shelters. Service animals which assist people with disabilities are the only animals allowed in Red Cross shelters. It may be difficult, if not impossible, to find shelter for your animals in the midst of an evacuation, so plan ahead.   
  • Contact hotels and motels outside your local area to check their policies on accepting pets and restrictions on number, size and species. Ask if "no pet" policies could be waived in an emergency. Keep a list of "pet friendly" places, including phone numbers, with your other disaster information and supplies. If you are alerted to an impending disaster, call ahead for reservations.
  • Ask friends, relatives or others outside the affected area whether they could shelter your animals. If you have more than one pet, they may be more comfortable if kept together, but be prepared to house them separately.
  • Make a list of boarding facilities and veterinarians who could shelter animals in an emergency; include 24-hour phone numbers.
  • Ask local animal shelters if they provide emergency shelter or foster care for pets during a disaster. Animal shelters may be overwhelmed caring for the animals they already have as well as those displaced by a disaster, so this should be your last resort.
  • Make sure your pet is wearing a collar that is securely fastened and have identification tags containing up-to-date information.  Attach to the collar or tag the phone number and address of your temporary shelter OR of a friend or relative outside of the disaster area. 


Whether you are away from home for a day or a week, you'll need essential supplies. Keep items in an accessible place and store them in sturdy containers that can be carried easily (a duffle bag or covered trash containers, for example).

Include in your pet disaster supplies kit:

  • Medications and medical records (stored in a waterproof container) and a first aid kit.
  • Sturdy leashes, harnesses, and/or carriers to transport pets safely and ensure that your animals can't escape.
  • Current photos of your pets in case they get lost.
  • Supplies to include food, potable water, bowls, first aid kit, cat litter/pan, and can opener.
  • Information on feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavior problems, and the name and number of your veterinarian in case you have to foster or board your pets.
  • Pet bed or toys if easily transportable.


During a disaster, pets often panic.  Animals do have instincts about severe weather changes and will most likely isolate themselves if they are afraid.  

  • Bring your pets inside immediately to keep them from running off.  Do not leave a pet outside or tied up during a storm.
  • Separate dogs and cats. Even if your dogs and cats normally get along, the anxiety of an emergency situation can cause pets to act irrationally. Keep small pets away from cats and dogs.
  • Have newspapers on hand for sanitary purposes.
  • Feed animals moist or canned food so they will need less water to drink.

Take the precautions below if you have no alternative but to leave your pet at home:

  • Confine your pet to a safe area inside
  • Place a notice outside of your home in a visible place telling others what pets are in the home and where they can be located
  • Leave your contact and veterinarian’s information


  • Use special food dispensers that regulate the amount of food a bird is given.
  • Cage birds and cover cages with a thin cloth or sheet to provide security and filtered light.
  • In cold weather, wrap a blanket over the cage and warm up the car before placing birds inside
  • During warm weather, carry a plant mister to mist the bird’s feathers periodically
  • Provide slices of fresh fruits and vegetables with high water content inside of putting water inside the carrier during transport.
  • Have leg bands and a photo for identification.


  • Transport snakes in a pillowcase initially; when reaching the evacuation site, move the snakes to more secure housing.
  • Carry food with you if your snakes require frequent feedings.
  • Take a water bowl large enough for soaking as well as a heating pad.
  • To transport house lizards, follow the same directions as for birds.

Small Mammals

  • Use secure carriers to transport small mammals (hamsters, gerbils, etc.).
  • Take supplies such as bedding materials, food, bowls, and water bottles


  • Plan ahead and pre-pack food, water, and hay for your horse.
  • Keep a recent photograph of your horse and a copy of the bill of sale in your emergency kit.
  • Make arrangements now to trailer or move your horse in case of a disaster.


Planning and preparation will help you survive the disaster, but your home may be a very different place afterward, whether you have taken shelter at home or elsewhere.

  • Don't allow your pets to roam loose. Familiar landmarks and smells might be gone, and your pet will probably be disoriented. Pets can easily get lost in such situations.
  • Keep pets on leashes or in carriers inside the house while you assess the damage. If your house is damaged, they could escape and become lost.
  • Lease your pets when they go outside during the first few days after the disaster. Always maintain close contact. Familiar scents and landmarks may be altered and your pet may become confused and lost. Also, snakes and other dangerous animals may be brought into the area with flood areas.  Downed power lines are a hazard.
  • Watch pets closely and be patient with them after a disaster. Try to get them back into their normal routines as soon as possible, and be ready for behavioral problems that may result from the stress of the situation. If behavioral problems persist, or if your pet seems to be having any health problems, talk to your veterinarian.

February 3, 2010

Portland Fire & Rescue's 4-Legged Member

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One of the newest recruits at Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) is also the shortest and youngest member of the Bureau. Lila, a black Labrador retriever, recently joined PF&R and now works with an arson investigator.

Lila, who loves to sniff everything and anything, was trained at the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Accelerant Detection Canine Program. After several months in the program, she met her handler, a PF&R Investigator. Lila and her handler trained together in Front Royal, Virginia, for an additional six weeks – seven days a week – before they began working together at PF&R.

Lila, whose official title is “Accelerant Detection Canine,” is conditioned to associate food with successfully detecting hydrocarbons. Lila is very much a food-motivated canine, so it didn’t take her long to catch on. At the end of her training, a chemist certified that Lila can tell the difference between a variety hydrocarbon scents in the small quantities necessary to start fires. This certification is crucial because evidence uncovered by canines and their handlers can be a key point in criminal and civil trials.

Arson canines can be instrumental in the investigation of fire scenes. Trained to detect and alert to microliters of petroleum-based fuels, Lila’s nose can make the difference between determining the cause of a fire or not. Accelerant canines have had better results detecting accelerants than electronic detection devices. Although hydrocarbon detectors can be quite sensitive, accelerant canines can pinpoint traces of accelerants at levels lower than the detectors can register. Additionally, detectors do not discriminate between burned petroleum-based items normally found at a fire scene, like foam cushions, and items that might contain an ignitable liquid. Accelerant canines can, and do, detect those differences.

Accelerant canines also save time and resources at a fire scene. What might take an hour of fire-scene process time can take only minutes with a trained canine assistant. In some cases, the fire damage is so severe that burn patterns are obliterated. Even in a total burn out, the canine is able to detect trace evidence left behind.

It should be noted that, while Accelerant Detection Canines are valuable tools in arson investigation, they can not and do not replace the need for thorough and experienced fire investigators and crime labs. The canines can only point to evidence, not determine cause and process. Nonetheless, working collaboratively with a professional fire investigator, a properly trained canine investigator team is the best tool available to find trace evidence of ignitable liquids.

PF&R obtained Lila through a partnership with the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). As a part of the ATF’s national response team, Lila and her handler can be deployed to major events anywhere in the country.

The ATF Canine Branch trains only Labrador Retrievers because they are healthy, intelligent, readily adapt to changing environments, and possess a nonaggressive disposition. In Lila’s case, the skills she needs to be a successful Accelerant Canine are exactly the attributes that washed her out of the Guide Dog Foundation program. Lila has a strong desire to lead, and she loves to sniff everything. (Stopping to sniff is not a problem for most dogs, but an easily distracted Guide Dog could prevent a blind person from getting to work on time.)

Lila’s handler is assigned to PF&R’s Investigation Unit, and has committed to a five-year working relationship with his partner, Lila. This bond is maintained by training every day and living together.

Since Lila came to work for PF&R, she and her handler have been quite active. Positive alerts from Lila are collected as evidence by her handler and sent to the Oregon State Forensic lab chemist for confirmation. Lila has an extremely high percentage of alerts coming back as confirmed positive. She has responded to scenes where destructive devices (Molotov cocktails) were used on both residences and motor vehicles, fire-related suicides, fatal fires, and intentional fires with the use of accelerants and initiators. Lila has also preformed vehicle and people searches.

February 4, 2010

Next Steps in the 2010 Firefighter Trainee & EMT/Paramedic Hiring Process

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Information for Applicants Successful in Applying for the Positions of PF&R Firefighter Trainee or Firefighter EMT/Paramedic:


VIDEO-BASED, WRITTEN, MULTIPLE-CHOICE TEST: If you successfully applied for the position of PF&R Firefighter Trainee or Firefighter EMT/Paramedic, you are automatically invited to the video-based, written, multiple choice test on Thursday, February 18, 2010 at the Oregon Convention Center located at 777 N.E. Martin Luther King Blvd., Portland, Oregon 97212. The examination times for the video-based, written, multiple-choice test will be scheduled based on the first letter of your last name.

The test will start promptly as scheduled. To participate in the video-based written test, bring photo identification with you.  This could include a driver’s license or DMV ID. Please note that purses, backpacks, bags, cellular phones, pagers, calculators, or any other electronic devices will not be submitted into the testing area.  If you bring any of these items, YOU WILL NOT BE ADMITTED AND MUST SECURE THEM ELSEWHERE.  Due to testing requirements and confidentiality, anyone found with one of these devices in the testing room will be immediately disqualified. Additionally, this is a timed, two-hour, video-based written examination, and no there will not be any scheduled restroom breaks.  Food and drink will not be allowed in the testing area. Click here for frequently asked questions about the 2010 Firefighter Trainee and Firefighter EMT recruitment process. For more info, click here! 


  • January 11 - January 25, 2010:  Applications Accepted
  • February 18, 2010:  Video-based, Written, Multiple-Choice Test
  • March 5, 2010:  Test Results Mailed
  • March 12 - April 11, 2010: Physical Agility Test Practice Sessions
  • April 16 - April 18, 2010:  Physical Agility Test
  • May 10 - May 28, 2010: Chief's Interviews
  • June 1, 2010: Firefighter Trainee Eligibility List is Published 

**Timeline dates subject to change


  • January 11 - January 25, 2010:  Applications Accepted
  • February 18, 2010:  Video-based, Written, Multiple-Choice Test
  • March 5, 2010:  Test Results Mailed
  • March 12 - April 11, 2010: Physical Agility Test Practice Sessions
  • April 1, 2010:  Firefighter EMT/Paramedic Eligibility List is Published
  • April 14 - 15, 2010: Chiefs Interviews for Top-Ranking Candidates
  • April 16, 2010: Physical Agility Test for Candidates Interviewed

**Timeline dates subject to change

February 5, 2010

Faces of Portland Fire & Rescue: Firefighter Christine, Station 5

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She’s competitive, a dog lover, and a Firefighter at Station 5.  Meet Firefighter Christine, the next Face of Portland Fire & Rescue!

Growing Up

Christine grew up in Inglewood, California, just southwest of downtown Los Angeles with her parents, sister, and brother. She was active in sports from a young age, excelling in softball and soccer as a goalie and later as a forward.  She enjoyed her time at the gym, but made sure to set aside time for other important interests such as church and community service in her neighborhood. 

As a kid, Christine helped run the household and was responsible for various chores such as laundry. She learned to entertain herself after school, and developed a strong sense of independence and can do attitude.

After attending a catholic elementary school and a public middle school, she concentrated her efforts at Nathaniel Narbonne High School, Home of the Gauchos, in Harbor City, California. She was the first female to play soccer on her high school mens’ soccer team; she obviously doesn’t take no for an answer! 

Choosing to further her education, Christine achieved her Associate of Arts at El Camino College and her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at California State University Dominguez Hills.  Christine began graduate school, hoping to achieve a Masters in Kinesiology.  She studied anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, and biophysics of human movement, planning to apply her knowledge to the area of exercise science.

Making Her Way to PF&R

Christine worked at the age of 17 in the grocery business, learning all the tools of the trade as a cashier, stock clerk, and courtesy clerk.  After attending college, she became interest in firefighting, and was fortunate to work for the City of Los Angeles Fire Department as a firefighter.  Christine also sharpened her firefighting and EMS skills as an ambulance medic in California and as a member of Cleveland National Forest Hotshot Crew.  As a Hotshot Crew member, Christine worked alongside other highly-skilled wildland firefighters, specially trained in wildland fire suppression tactics.  For two years she worked on the Engine and for an additional four years she responded with her Hotshot Crew to large, high-priority fires in the 460,000 acre Cleveland National Forest which spans over three of California’s counties. The Hotshot Crew also was used as an interagency national resource that responded to fire emergencies all over the United States including Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Montana just to name a few.

After visiting and falling in love with Oregon, Christine moved North. She applied and was accepted to be an elite member of the Mt. Hood National Forest Zigzag Hot Shot Crew.  Christine committed to be available for dispatch 24 hours a day, seven days a week alongside her Crew members to fight wildfires and provide search and rescue.

Unable to shake the firefighter bug, Christine tested with Gresham Fire Department and then with Portland Fire & Rescue after being encouraged to do so by Gresham Fire’s Deputy Chief Jim Klum.  Christine tested with Portland Fire only once and was accepted into the Firefighter Recruit Training Academy.  She feels her testing and hiring success was due in part to the opportunities and tools that PF&R offered to candidates; this included Physical Agility Test practice sessions, mock interviews for the Fire Chief’s Selection Panel Interview, and general support from PF&R employees. 

Christine was hired at PF&R on August 23, 2007 at the age of 39 and notes this is one of her biggest achievements.  She brought with her to the job knowledge, life experience, and unwavering determination.  But that didn’t mean she wasn’t nervous before her first day of work at Station 9.  Christine admitted doing a “drive-by,” and stopping at the Station to bring the on-duty crew a pie.  She was scared walking into the station but noted Captain Tracy Cleys was instrumental in making her feel welcome. 

Christine has been a Firefighter EMT at PF&R for almost three years and has responded all sorts of calls in the Portland area.  She enjoys the camaraderie and family atmosphere in the stations, the physical aspects of the job, and the flexible schedule.

Her most memorable call occurred on a snow and ice filled Christmas eve.  She and her crew were dispatched and when arriving on scene, Christine observed something struggling to stay afloat after apparently falling through the ice of a frozen pond.  As she got out of the rig, she noticed it was a dog in peril.  Immediately springing into action, she grabbed a raft and rescue line and jumped into the icy pond.  Using her fists, she punched through the ice to get closer to the dog.  She struggled through the ice trying to reach the dog in time, but when she was only a foot away, the dog slumped over.  Christine and crew members pulled the dog from the water, wrapped it in blanket, and performed pet CPR.  Sadly, they were unable to resuscitate the dog.  Christine was emotionally spent after the incident.  She and her crew returned to the station, and the other firefighters continued to check up on her to make sure she was okay. 

Living Life to the Fullest

Christine gives 100% to being a firefighter, and at least that much effort if not more goes into her life outside of work.  She enjoys outdoor activities such as running, cycling, outrigger canoeing, and swimming.  She successfully finished the Pacific Crest Half Iron Triathlon, and is a member of Bridge City Paddling Club Dragon Boat Team in Portland.  In fact, Christine and her Dragon Boat Team were invited and competed in the World Games in South Korea last year, bringing home three medals.

Christine believes strongly in finding a cure for leukemia and related diseases and improving the lives of those affected by these diseases.  She takes part in Firefighter Stairclimbs around the Pacific Northwest.  She is currently preparing for the 19th Annual Scott Firefighter Stairclimb in Seattle, Washington on March 7, 2010.  Her goal is to raise $11, 000; to help Christine reach her donation goal for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, visit

Also important to Christine is to support women's involvement in the fire service.  Her and other Portland Firefighters are diligently working on organizing their second “Fire Camp” at PF&R.  Fire Camp will provide qualified young women with the chance to learn about the fire service through live fire training, team building, and equipment education.

With her work and personal life being so full, she still finds the time for the love of her life - a spunky, darling chocolate lab named “Molly.”  Christine and Molly enjoy playing at the dog parks in the Portland area and hiking in the Gorge and on Powell Butte.  Molly is a great frisbee player and looks forward to her milk bone treats.

The most important thing to Christine is being happy.  She’s a honest, hard-worker who is dedicated to all aspects of her life.  Portland Fire & Rescue is proud that Firefighter Christine chose to join our family!

February 5, 2010