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Phone: 503-823-3700

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55 SW Ash Street, Portland, OR 97204

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PF&R Gives Fire Prevention Report to City Council

New steps will be taken to help us reach our aggressive goal of zero fire deaths.

Winners of PF&R's coloring contest pose with PF&R officials

Fire Marshal Nate Takara, Portland Fire Chief Mike Myers, and Senior Communications Officer Kim Kosmas with coloring contest winners Indra Fox and Avery Smith

Today, Portland Fire Chief Mike Myers, Fire Marshal Nate Takara, and Senior Communications Officer Kim Kosmas presented an update to steps the bureau is taking to reach a goal of zero fire deaths in the city. Chief Myers called this plan bold, but do-able. "I have seen departments our size meet that goal," he said.

Fire Marshal Takara discussed the state of fire deaths in Portland and how working smoke alarms and sprinklers can decrease deaths and injuries.

In 2015, the City of Portland experienced 11 fire deaths, the highest amount since 1997. Over the past ten years, the City of Portland averaged 5.6 fire deaths per year. Currently in 2016, we have had three fire-related deaths in the city. To reduce fire related deaths, fire sprinklers are crucial as they are the most effective tool in reducing fire related deaths, injuries, and property loss. Smoke alarms and escape route planning additionally helps to reduce fire-related injuries and deaths.

Fire Marshal Takara discussed two new policies PF&R is putting in place to reduced fire-related deaths and injuries: one requires landlords in multi-family residential units to provide documentation that each smoke alarm in every unit is tested at least once a year; the other requires that a building be sprinklered in order for a Temporary Special Event Permits in Non-Assembly Occupancy Space permit to be issued.

PF&R will no longer allow night club events that attract 100 or more people in a non-assembly occupancy space unless it is protected with fire sprinklers. The beginning date is yet to be determined. There are approximately ten facilities in the city that commonly hold these types of events and in the next six months or year, PF&R will be working with the property owners of these buildings regarding this change.  

Portland Fire officials testify at City CouncilCity Council listens to testimony

One large part of PF&R's prevention approach is through education. Senior Fire Inspector Kim Kosmas manages outreach programs that are developed and implemented through our local schools, community organizations and events, and in the fire stations. One program is a Fire Prevention Week coloring contest for youth that is offered thorough the schools. Today at City Council, the team from PF&R presented the winners of the contest with framed copies of their drawings and special certificates. Congratulation to: Grand Prize winner – Indra Fox – 1st grader from Buckman Elementary School and runner up winner Avery Smith – 1st grader from Buckman Elementary School.

Lead Testing at PF&R Public Facililties

An excessive lead reading was found at the Historic Belmont Firehouse

Your safety is our top priority. As part of a citywide effort to make sure our drinking water is safe, PF&R is testing public drinking water using protocols outlined in the EPA Technical Guidance, 3Ts for Reducing Lead in Drinking Water in Schools.

Each bureau was asked by the City’s Office of Management and Finance to identify and prioritize their buildings based on facilities that serve drinking water primarily to infants, children, and pregnant women. PF&R’s Historic Belmont Firehouse is the only facility that fits this description at the bureau. The Portland Water Bureau tested the fixtures at the Historic Belmont Firehouse by taking samples and analyzing them in their laboratory.

The sample taken on 8/24/16 at the Historic Belmont Firehouse showed excessive lead levels (95.4 parts per billion when it should not exceed 20 parts per billion) in the drinking fountain located at a utility sink.

 This fountain was taken offline immediately and permanently. Bottled water will be available upon request at the firehouse.

 See the full results here: and

Some more information about lead in water from the City of Portland:

Health Effects from Lead

What are the health effects of lead?

Lead can cause serious health problems if too much enters your body from drinking water or other sources. It can cause damage to the brain and kidneys, and can interfere with the production of red blood cells that carry oxygen to all parts of your body.

The greatest risk of lead exposure is to infants, young children, and pregnant women. Scientists have linked the effects of lead on the brain with lowered IQ in children. Adults with kidney problems and high blood pressure can be affected by low levels of lead more than healthy adults. Lead is stored in the bones, and it can be released later in life. During pregnancy, the child receives lead from the mother’s bones, which may affect brain development. 

Who is most at risk for lead in water?

Children under six and pregnant women are most at risk for lead exposure, particularly if they live in homes with lead solder in their plumbing. These homes were typically built or plumbed between 1970 and 1985. 

How can I test my child for lead exposure?

You can have your child tested by your pediatrician or through the LeadLine. Dates and times of free blood lead testing clinics can be found at

Multnomah County is the public health agency that tracks lead levels in blood. Of the 15,000 blood lead level tests conducted by the County and its partners between 2013 and 2016, elevated lead levels were found in 188 children in Multnomah County. No cases were traced to lead in drinking water from any source.  

What resources are available to help reduce my exposure to lead?

As part of our lead hazard reduction efforts we partner with community organizations and governmental agencies that conduct lead hazard reduction education and outreach services in the Portland-area. Contact the LeadLine at or 503-988-4000 for more information, or visit our Lead Hazard Reduction Program page to learn more about the organizations.