July 16, 2015 20:50
Portland Fire & Rescue's new twin fireboats have been given names from the chinuk wawa in honor of the original people who lived and worked along the rivers that PF&R so proudly serves.
In partnership with the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde, specifically Kathy Cole, and also Historian Chet Orloff, we searched for names that reflected Portland Fire & Rescue's motto and mission. At the end of the process, we chose the name's kwans?m and skukum ats. The kwans?m (pronounced KWAN-sum, there are no capital letters in the chinuk language) reflects PF&R's motto of "Always Ready, Always There." Her twin vessel, the skukum ats (pronounced SKOO-kum Ots), represents the kwans?m's "strong sister."
PF&R had long identified the need for new fireboats - but we lacked the resources until then Fire Commissioner Randy Leonard put together a sound GO Bond that included the two new fireboats, that voters passed in 2010. We were happy to see the contract go to Oregon Iron Works, a local contractor renowned internationally.
These boats bolster our ability to respond to fire and rescue situations. Each of the twin boats can travel at speeds of 40+ knots to arrive quickly and have pumping capability of 8,000 GPM for both firefighting and water supply. Each vessel has state of the art electronics and communications for command and control at large incidents, and crews are trained to respond to and assist with marine fires, hazardous materials/CBRN incidents, perform technical rescue, support dive efforts, law enforcement support, environmental mitigation response and natural disaster response and recovery efforts.
We want to thank the citizens of Portland for providing the funding through the G.O. Bond to purchase these fireboats, for which Portland Fire & Rescue crews will use honorably to protect our community and respond 24/7, 365 days a year.