On August 3rd, crews from Portland Fire Stations 9 and 19 gathered at Mt. Tabor Park for a wildland drill. Both stations serve the Mt. Tabor area and the park. Mt. Tabor Park has many gates and crews use a “z key” to gain access through the gates to respond to fires and emergencies. The park houses the Portland Water Bureau’s 100-year-old reservoirs and is an area attraction for citizens to engage in outdoor activities.
During this drill, firefighters reviewed park access, hydrant locations, and practiced wildland firefighting tactics and strategies. In Mt. Tabor Park there are no fire hydrants. Therefore, it is critical that the stations identify surrounding fire hydrants that they can pull water from and transfer to their engines to fight fires as necessary.
During the drill, firefighters practiced using a wildland pack. Although Mt. Tabor is fairly lush and has a thick canopy, the south and east sides are steep and have thick brush that can account for smaller-sized wildfires. One wildland firefighting pack is carried on each engine and includes 200’ of 1 ½” unlined cotton hose, which can be quickly attached to the engine’s pumps to access water. These smaller cotton hoses are much more lightweight than the typical structural firefighting hose, which is double-jacketed and rubber-lined.
Station 19’s B-shift crew reports that they respond to a number of incidents in the park in the summer months, as it is heavily used. In addition to the threat of smaller wildfires, the south and east sides require crews to make low and steep angle rescues at times.
Firefighters from the two other shifts completed this drill as well on July 26th and August 2nd to ensure that all three shifts have familiarized themselves with the area they serve and hydrant locations.
Opportunities to practice firefighting tactics will enable the crews from Stations 9 and 19 serve our citizens and this area as efficiently and effectively as possible through the busy summer months.
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