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Fire Fighter Safety Blog: A Welcome Message from Safety Chief Jeff Bancroft

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Welcome to the first Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) Fire Fighter Safety Blog.  My name is Jeff Bancroft, and I am the Safety Chief for PF&R.  I am responsible for helping to fostering a safe and accident-free bureau and for keeping PF&R compliant with all appropriate workplace and fire/safety regulations.

The Fire Fighter Safety Blog will be my soapbox I can stand on to talk about how PF&R keeps fire fighters safe, the latest issues and projects I am dealing with, and the activities of the Safety Committee, the Metro Safety Officers Committee, Risk Management, Training, and all of the other organizations I work with day-in and day-out. 

I have just returned after a week in sunny LA (go ahead and be jealous, all I did was work. Honest!).  The bi-annual IAFF-sponsored Redmond Symposium is the largest Fire Fighter safety health and wellness convention in the world.  About 1,000 fire fighters from all across the US and Canada converge every other year to discuss fire fighter safety issues, learn about new advances in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for fire fighters and protocols, and network with members of other fire departments. 

It was without a doubt the most valuable, and inspirational conference I have ever attended.  The passion for fire fighter safety is a real mission....sounds corny, but it is a higher calling.  The passion for fire fighter safety is also highly contagious.  I have taken pages and pages of notes over the past week.  I have heard many new ideas that I will incorporate into the fire fighter training I am responsible for.  I have numerous inspirations for future Safety Bulletins, and a lot of material to write about.  Some of it is controversial, and some of it is common sense.

I intend to use my blog as a method of airing ideas, sticking my toe in the water on issues that interest me, and sometimes propose changes I would like to see.  I wish this to be an interactive process.  For the internal PF&R employees, you all know how to get hold of me.  For everyone else, feel free to email me with questions or suggestions at any time.  I’m at

So look for my blog that will be posted every two weeks – I welcome your feedback and I promise to always listen.

Until next time – BE SAFE!

David Campbell Memorial Architects Tasked with Revising Designs

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Quick Background  

Members of the Campbell Board of Trustees, Portland Fire & Rescue, and Portland State University’s Department of Architecture announced Monday, October 26, 2009 the three finalists for the design of the memorial dedicated to David Campbell, Fire Chief 1893-1911, and other courageous Portland firefighters who died in the line of duty.  The three finalists include:

The proposed site for the new David Campbell Memorial is at the East end of the Hawthorne Bridge, overlooking downtown Portland and feet away from where Portland Fire Chief David Campbell died while fighting the Union Oil fire on June 26, 1911. He had gone into the burning building shortly before an explosion occurred which took his life.  The construction of the new memorial is to be funded through private donations and sponsorships. 


What's Happening Now?

On Monday, November 30, 2009, Commissioners Nick Fish and Randy Leonard, along with firefighter Paul Corah, met with two of the three finalists for the Campbell Memorial Design Competition.  The architects were on hand to present their designs to the Selection Committee members, answer questions and receive feedback about the strengths and concerns with the designs received from both the public feedback process and Selection Committee's review.




The meeting with the final contestant will take place the week of December 7th, and then the three finalists will have approximately one month to revise their designs based on the feedback received, or leave them as they are.  Final design selection is expected to take place at the end of January 2010. 


For more information and to follow the design selection, fundraising, and construction process for the firefighters' memorial, visit


December 1, 2009

December 5, 2009: Scouting for Food: Hunger Has A Cure

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On Saturday, December 5, 2009, Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) will team up with the Boy Scouts of America and local volunteer agencies, including St. Vincent de Paul, to collect food for those in need. Last holiday season, these volunteer agencies provided food to over 10,000 families in the Portland Metropolitan area and this year the need is greater than ever. The drive is recognized as the last major food drive of the year for northwest Oregon and southwest Washington area emergency food agencies.

This Saturday local Scouts will go door-to-door to collect canned goods and other non-perishable food for those in need from local residents. The donations will then be taken by the Scouts to drop-sites at PF&R fire stations 2, 7, 14, 15, 25, and 29.  Items collected will be distributed to local food agencies. Items most needed are non-perishable canned and packaged foods such as meat, soups, stews, fruits, vegetables, pasta, rice, cereal, beans, lentils, peanut butter, tuna, and baby food.  

In addition to the above stations serving as food drop-off sites for Scouts, all 30 PF&R fire stations (click here to view station locations) will serve as collection/drop-off sites for individuals on Saturday, December 5th. This is intended to assist those people who do not have Scouts in their neighborhood, but wish to contribute towards those needing assistance with food. 


Portland Fire & Rescue Reminds You To Drive Safe and Slow,

As Scouts Are on the Go


With thousands of Scouting for Food participants canvassing neighborhoods on Saturday, December 5, 2009, both Scouts and drivers alike are reminded to exercise caution. Motorists should be careful when backing out of driveways and reduce speeds by 5 to 10 miles per hour while traveling in subdivisions.

December 1, 2009

Retired Harbor Pilot takes a Trip Down Memory Lane

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It takes defined and considerable skill to navigate, operate, maintain, and pilot each of Portland Fire & Rescue’s (PF&R) four fireboats.  Harbor pilots throughout PF&R’s history have been responsible for not only piloting fireboats but providing general maintenance to engines, pumps, and auxiliary naval and fire fighting equipment.

One of PF&R’s notable Harbor Pilots began his career at PF&R at 56 years young.  After serving close to 32 years as a harbor pilot for Portland Police, Robert Lester became a harbor pilot for PF&R.  He retired in October 1981 after serving nine years at Portland Fire.

Robert Lester will be turning 92 years young on December 3, 2009.  To celebrate this momentous occasion, his family and friends arranged for Robert, his wife Yvonne, family, and friends to take a ride on the Fireboat David Campbell for old time’s sake.  The Fireboat David Campbell is currently docked at Station 6 on NW Front Avenue.


On Tuesday, December 1, 2009, wearing a Portland Fire & Rescue jacket, Robert Lester climbed aboard the Fireboat David Campbell for the first time in 25 years.  His son, Tony Lester, noted that this was especially poignant for Robert as he helped design the cabin for the fireboat when the boat was “modernized” in late 1970’s.  As the fireboat was piloted to the Willamette River, the excitement was apparent on Mr. Lester's face.

Portland Fire & Rescue thanks Robert Lester for his service to the Portland community and wishes him many more happy birthdays!

Did You Know?

The Fireboat David Campbell was built in 1927 and is 87'6" long.  It was repowered in the 1970's, and currently has diesel propulsion engines and diesel dedicated pumping engines. The fireboat’s four fire pumps have a total output of 15,000 gallons per minute, the pumping capacity of 10 fire engines, and its main turret alone can flow approximately 7,500 gallons per minute.

December 2, 2009

Candle with Care

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Every year, thousands of home structure fires are started by candles. These fires can result in civilian deaths and injuries and millions of dollars in direct property loss. Candles may be pretty to look at but they are a cause of home fires — and home fire deaths. Remember, a candle is an open flame, which means that it can easily ignite anything that can burn.


Safety Tips



Candle with Care

  • Blow out all candles when you leave the room or go to bed. Avoid the use of candles in the bedroom and other areas where people may fall asleep.
  • Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn.

If you do burn candles, make sure that you...

  • Use candle holders that are sturdy, and won’t tip over easily.
  • Put candle holders on a sturdy, uncluttered surface.
  • Light candles carefully. Keep your hair and any loose clothing away from the flame.
  • Don’t burn a candle all the way down — put it out before it gets too close to the holder or container.
  • Never use a candle if oxygen is used in the home.
  • Have flashlights and battery-powered lighting ready to use during a power outage. Never use candles.

To download further NFPA safety tips on candles, click here.

December 2, 2009