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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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Firefighters Hone Skills for River Water Rescues


Firefighters from Portland Fire & Rescue’s (PF&R) Station 1 Water Rescue Team and Station 21 have been training alongside each other for the past three days in the 51-degree chilly water of the Willamette River.


Using PF&R’s Sea-Doos, firefighters wore properly fitted and secured bureau-issued personal flotation devices (PFD) and approved water rescue helmets while practicing water rescue operations and victim removal. 

Firefighters practiced safety reaching victims in the water, completing an immediate assessment of the victim, determining the safest and quickest method of rescue, and bringing the victim to Rescue Boat 21 for further transport to safety.

Many emergency service groups use personal water craft in water rescues because of the craft's ability to easily navigate water ways and operate in shallow water.  The water craft is versatile, extremely maneuverable, quick-moving, and provides PF&R flexibility in the types of rescues that are carried out.  Most importantly, the water craft places rescue swimmers at water-level, allowing them faster access to victims in the water.

So far this year, firefighters from Station 1 and Station 21 have been dispatched to close to 50 river rescue calls this year. As temperatures get hotter, more people will be looking to cool off in Portland’s rivers and river ways. PF&R reminds the community that the most important thing to do before heading out onto the river is to plan ahead and learn about river safety.  It’s important to always wear a personal flotation devise, stay alert, and remember, the currents in the river ways are very swift, with debris underneath.

For more river safety tips, click here to visit the American Red Cross’s website.

   Portland Fire & Rescue 

   We Respond: Always Ready, Always There

   June 22, 2011


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