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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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Fire Extinguishers: An Important Part of a Safe Home

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Portland Fire & Rescue encourages every household to have a home safety plan that focuses on both preventing fires and responding to a fire should one occur. Fire extinguishers are an important part of this plan. Fire extinguishers are your second line of defense behind a smoke detector and can be the difference between a small inconvenience and a life-changing event.

“Quick Check” Your Home Fire Extinguisher



It is important to not just hang your extinguisher on the wall or in the cupboard. Plan ahead, read the instruction manual and know your extinguisher’s capabilities before use. Portable extinguishers are useful for putting out small fires, but recognize your limits and the limits of the extinguisher.

Assistant Public Information Officer and Portland Fire Lieutenant Rich Tyler reminds citizens that, "Fire extinguishers do not have an indefinite life, even if they are never actually used."  He goes on to say, "This is why it is important to inspect or conduct a “quick check” each month on your home fire extinguisher."

A “quick check” is a brief inspection to determine that a fire extinguisher is available and will operate, when and if it is needed. The purpose is to give you reasonable assurance that the fire extinguisher is fully charged and operable. This is done by verifying that the fire extinguisher is in its designated place, that it has not been discharged or tampered with, and that there is no obvious physical damage or condition to prevent its operation.

For a simple one-page directional sheet on how to ensure your fire extinguisher is ready for use if needed, click here.


   Portland Fire & Rescue 

   We Respond: Always Ready, Always There

   October 3, 2011 


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Portland and Gresham Firefighters Drill on Extrication Techniques

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On Monday, September 26, 2011, Firefighters from Gresham Fire & Emergency Services’ Truck 71 and Engine 72 joined Lieutenant Sam and Firefighters Gordon, Eric, and David from Portland Fire & Rescue’s Station 31 to participate in an extrication drill.

Firefighters from all three crews worked alongside one another, practicing various extrication techniques on three cars that Loop Highway Towing was gracious enough to provide.  

The firefighter’s challenge during the drill was to stay aware of potential safety hazards present, locate and remove debris, and safety rescue potential victim(s). After the conclusion of the drill, Gresham and Portland firefighters debriefed, evaluating what went well and where improvement was needed.

Realistic training such as this is invaluable to both Gresham and Portland’s firefighters because it allows the crews to explore new techniques, use specialized equipment in a non-emergency atmosphere, and perfect the skills necessary for a successful patient rescue.

A big thank you goes out to Loop Highway Towing for their donation of vehicles.


   Portland Fire & Rescue 

   We Respond: Always Ready, Always There

   October 3, 2011 


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Firefighters from Portland Station 18 Provide Mutual Aid at House Fire Caused by Spontaneous Combustion of Oily Rags

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On Saturday, September 24, 2011, firefighters from Lake Oswego Fire Department responded to a house fire at 97 Garibaldi in Lake Oswego. When firefighters arrived, they found the garage engulfed in flames. Residents of the multi-level home were already standing safely outside and thankfully, no one was injured.

A second alarm was quickly called to bring in more resources to help gain access to the home from the downhill side of the street and to protect nearby homes.

Crews from Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue and Lieutenant Eric and Firefighters Bret, Hans, and Ryan from Portland Fire & Rescue’s Station 18 supported suppression operations.

Fire investigators from Lake Oswego later determined that oil-soaked rags were to blame. The oily rags stored in the attached garage spontaneously combusted around 3:20 a.m. Fire then spread to the garage and to the 3,500-square-foot home. The fire caused an estimated $170,000 in damage.

Proper Disposal of Rags Contaminated with Oil/Oil-Based Product

Spontaneous combustion is caused by the breakdown of the oils in paints, stains, and other products. This breakdown generates heat and, if that heat is contained, it can build up to temperatures sufficient to ignite most combustibles like wood, rags, or paper. There are two recommended ways to dispose of rags contaminated with oil or an oil-based product. One is to spread them out in a single layer and allow them to dry completely for several days before disposal. The second is to put the rags in a metal container with a tight-fitting lid in a shaded area with good ventilation.

Citizens are urged to read the entire label on the products you buy and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Many products have the potential to cause spontaneous combustion, asphyxiation, or even explosions.

Helping Other Fire Agencies through Mutual Aid

When fire agencies provide emergency response and protection support to one another such as the situation described above, it is called “Mutual Aid.”  Portland Fire & Rescue currently participates in mutual aid agreements with all fire agencies bordering the City of Portland including the Port of Portland Fire Department, Vancouver Fire & Rescue, TVF&R, Clackamas County Fire District #1, Lake Oswego Fire Department, and Gresham Fire & Emergency Services. The goal of mutual aid is to lend or receive fire protection and emergency medical services assistance across jurisdictional boundaries. 

How Does Mutual Aid Work?

The City of Portland Bureau of Emergency Services (BOEC) receives a request by a neighboring fire jurisdiction asking for mutual aid assistance. Portland Firefighters are then contacted through normal dispatch procedures to respond to the structure fire or other significant event (e.g. hazardous materials, confined space, dive rescue) outside the City of Portland.  When PF&R needs assistance, the same process is used in reverse.

We trust and rely on the fact that if we do have a large scale incident here in the City of Portland, other surrounding agencies will provide further resources if called upon.  In addition, Fire personnel here at PF&R are committed to supporting and assisting other fire agencies that surround the City of Portland when in need.


   Portland Fire & Rescue 

   We Respond: Always Ready, Always There

   October 4, 2011 


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Choosing a Safe Portable Heater

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With the cost of heating continually on the rise, many consumers have invested in portable heaters to help lower their energy bills by compartmentalizing the space they heat.  While approved portable heaters can be both efficient and economical, they also introduce a number of important safety concerns that should not be overlooked.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 25,000 residential fires, 300 deaths, and 6,000 burn injuries every year are associated with the improper use of portable space heaters. You can achieve substantial energy cost-savings by running a portable heater in frequently used rooms throughout the day and limiting your use of a central heating system.  However, this activity increases the risk of dangerous indoor pollutants, fires, and burn injuries. To help you choose a portable heater wisely and use it safely during the upcoming winter season, consider these safety tips from Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R):



  • Determine where the portable heater will be used - inside or outside of your home. Portable gas heaters (including propane heaters) should only be used in outdoor areas with ample ventilation.  Carbon monoxide produced by these heaters is a killer in unventilated spaces.
  • Select the right size heater for the right size space. When you purchase a portable heater, be sure to buy one that is rated for the approximate square-footage of the room or space you plan to use it in.
  • Shop for a heater with a safety certification. Portable space heaters that are listed by Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories (NRTLs) have been tested, proven, and certified to meet specific safety standards. If possible, choose heaters with safety features such as tip-over and overheat protection.

Use portable heaters responsibly:

  • Give heaters their space. Position a portable space heater at least 3 feet away from furniture, window treatments, bedding, clothing, rugs, and other combustibles. These items could easily catch fire if they come into contact with a unit’s electric heating element, open flame, or hot surface. Also, don’t use heaters where they may come in contact with water causing potential for electrocution.
  • Plug the heater directly into an outlet. Plug a portable electric heater directly into an outlet with sufficient power capacity. Using an extension cord to plug in the unit increases the chance of overheating, fires, and electrical shock injuries.
  • Inspect and clean the heater regularly. Both portable gas and electric heaters should be inspected on an annual basis and cleaned frequently to ensure that they are in safe working condition. Remember, dust and contaminants can become fuel for a fire.
  • Shut off and unplug the heater when leaving it unattended. Upon leaving an area, turn off the portable space heater and unplug it.


   Portland Fire & Rescue 

   We Respond: Always Ready, Always There

   October 4, 2011 


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NEWS RELEASE 10/05/11: Portland Fire & Rescue Pulls Unlucky Sailor from Partially Capsized Sailboat in Columbia River

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October 5, 2011

2:54 PM




At 9:15 am, Portland Fire & Rescue responded to calls for a river rescue in the Columbia River near the Interstate 5 Bridge. Initial reports indicated that a sailboat had partially capsized after running into a railroad bridge.

Upon arrival in Fireboat 17, firefighters from North Portland Fire Station 17 found a 33' sailboat trapped underneath a railroad bridge (#49 Vancouver Trestle), which is just down river from the I-5 bridge. The sailboat was partially capsized, and firefighters pulled 81-year-old Paul Bulkley of Camas, Washington off the sailboat and onto the fireboat. Bulkley, who was wearing a life jacket, was uninjured. However, his sailboat didn't fare as well.

Bulkley relayed to firefighters that he had a challenging morning of sailing having run into four sandbars before approaching the railroad bridge and underestimating its height. He purchased the boat, a 1978 Tartan, just four weeks ago.

The Port of Portland, US Coast Guard and Multnomah County Sheriff's Office also assisted in the response. The sailboat was pulled from the bridge by the Multnomah County Sheriff's boat Liberty and is now moored near Hayden Island. The trestle bridge is owned by Burlington Northern and inspectors are currently assessing whether the accident caused damage to the bridge. There are no reported interruptions in rail service on the bridge at this time.

 Portland Fire & Rescue

 We Respond: Always Ready, Always There

 October 5, 2011


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