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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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All I Wanted Was An Ambulance - Why Did Portland Fire & Rescue Respond?


The First Few Minutes Time is the most valuable commodity in an emergency. If you or a loved one becomes seriously ill or injured, immediate medical care is crucial. When you call 9-1-1 to report a medical emergency, you activate the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) system.  The EMS System is a join effort on the part of the City of Portland, Multnomah County, and private ambulance companies. The sole purpose of the EMS System is to provide effective emergency care in the in the shortest possible time.

Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) is an important part of that EMS System. Thirty fire stations are strategically located throughout the city, which allows our firefighters to arrive first at the scene of a medical emergency and provide immediate medical care.  Private ambulances often follow up with continued life support and transportation of patients to the hospital. Our goal is to get there as quickly as possible...and that can make a dramatic difference in a patient's recovery.

70% of all calls to which Portland firefighters respond are medical related. In fact, PF&R is the largest provider of pre-hospital care in the State of Oregon. 



Many Hats For more than 100 years, firefighters in the City of Portland have had the dual job of fighting fires and performing other types of rescues.  Every firefighter in the City of Portland is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) trained to provide basic life support, including Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and first aid. In addition, PF&R has over 150 firefighters are certified paramedics and each fire station in the city has at least one paramedic on-duty each shift. They carry advance life saving equipment and medication on their fire engines or rescue vehicles.

Select groups of Portland firefighters are also cross-trained for highly specialized duty including:

  • Water Rescue
  • Dive Rescue
  • Trench Rescue
  • Confined Space Rescue
  • High Angle Rope Rescue
  • HazMat Team
  • Marine Unit
  • Fire Investigations Unit
  • SERT Team Paramedics (Portland Police Bureau Special Emergency Response Team)

You'll often find firefighters at the scene of automobile accidents providing medical care, fire safety, or using extrication equipment to rescue victims trapped in vehicles.

The TIP Volunteer If you are involved in a traumatic event, you may experience emotional shock and confusion.  The Trauma Intervention Program (TIP) is a group of extensively trained citizen volunteers that provide emotional support to victims and their families in the first few hours following a tragedy. TIP partners with local police and fire agencies and provide 24-hour service to over one million citizens in the Portland/Vancouver Greater Metro areas. TIP has collaborated with Portland Fire & Rescue for over 17 years. 

TIP volunteers are called to the scene by firefighters, and they're always available. Among other services, TIP volunteers help notify family and friends, arrange for shelter, food and clothing, and can refer you to agencies for further assistance. If you or a loved one are involved in a serious injury or illness and would like help from a TIP volunteer, feel free to ask one of the firefighters at the scene for more information.

TIP Portland/Vancouver Chapter currently has over 170 current and active volunteers who respond in pairs to an average of 150 calls per month. If you would like to volunteer with the TIP Program, visit their website at or contact June Vining, TIP Coordinator, at (503) 823-3937.

January 26, 2010


Add a Comment


Kristie Reddick

August 8, 2010 at 6:51 PM

I was wondering if you hire EMS personnel who do not deal with firefighting?

Also do you hire Permanent Residents with valid work permits?

Thank you!



Charlie Shumar

May 20, 2013 at 12:22 PM

I called 911 for a medical emergency a few years ago. While I was still on the phone with the 911 operator I heard the sirens fire up at the local fire station.
Response time was terrific and the responders were very fast and professional. Great Job PF&R!


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