Portland Fire & Rescue
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News Releases
Red Cross & Portland Fire to Hold Free Smoke Alarm Installation Event in Portland - 05/07/18

Every day, an average of seven people die in home fires throughout the United States. Most of these deaths occur in homes without working smoke alarms. That’s why the American Red Cross, in partnership with Portland Fire & Rescue, will be holding a Sound the Alarm smoke alarm installation event in Portland. The event, which will take place on May 12, is part of a nationwide Red Cross effort to install 100,000 smoke alarms in homes that need them and help reduce the number of deaths and injuries caused by home fires.

WHAT:  The local Red Cross and Portland Fire & Rescue are holding a Sound the Alarm home fire safety and smoke alarm installation event. Red Cross volunteers and local partners will be canvassing neighborhoods, installing free smoke alarms and helping families create fire escape plans.

WHERE:  Portland Community College, 2305 SE 82nd Ave., Portland, OR 97216

WHEN:  May 12, from 9 a.m. – 10 a.m. (event kick-off and media availability); Smoke alarm installations will occur until 4 p.m.


  • Red Cross Regional Chief Executive Officer Candace Horter will be joined by Portland Fire Commissioner Dan Saltzman and Portland Fire & Rescue Chief Mike Myers to deliver remarks on the importance of local home fire safety efforts, the Zero Fire Deaths initiative and the Sound the Alarm initiative.
  • Portland couple Jimi Hardin and Stevie Mercer will share their story about how Red Cross fire safety education and smoke alarms saved their lives last year.  Read Jimi and Stevie’s story here: http://www.redcrossblog.org/2017/10/fire-escape-plan-saves-lives-in-portland.html

Following the kickoff ceremony, free smoke alarm installations will take place until 4 p.m. by American Red Cross volunteer teams and Portland Fire & Rescue personnel. They will be installing 10-year lithium battery powered smoke alarms and delivering fire safety education. 

Portland Fire & Rescue Modifying Response Guidelines to Better Align with Emergency Service Priorities - 04/30/18

Beginning May 1st, Portland Fire and Rescue will modify the response guidelines to two call-types: non-critical abdominal complaints and non-critical back pain complaints, known as AB3 and BK3 in dispatch lingo. Portland Fire will no longer send first responder fire apparatus on these types of 911 calls. However, an ambulance will still respond.

After several other modifications to Portland Fire’s response capabilities, including the addition of Rapid Response Vehicles (SUV’s with two EMT’s to respond to low acuity and non-critical calls), and switching to Automatic Vehicle Location Dispatching that sends the nearest available unit, adjusting response to the low acuity abdominal and back pain calls is the obvious next step to continue improvements to systemwide response reliability.

This decision, made in conjunction with Medical Director Dr. Jon Jui, comes after much consideration, data review, and evaluation of the medical dispatch triage process. The review process revealed that the vast majority of these call-types were dramatically lower in acuity and did not need significant resources. In 2017 AB3 and BK3 call-types made up 5,801 of 88,742 fire unit responses and just 77 of those calls resulted in the patient’s being transported to the hospital with lights and sirens.

The system-wide goal, starting with call triage at the 9-1-1 center, is to always send the correct resources for the emergency need and maximize all resources in the system. As the population density of the City of Portland and Multnomah County increases, so too do the calls for emergency service. “Our goal is to continuously provide top-level service for the greatest economic value which means constantly evaluating ways to improve and streamline our processes.” said Fire Chief Mike Myers. “We believe these changes support that mission.” Fire Commissioner Dan Saltzman supports the change stating, “By making these small, yet significant changes, we are streamlining our system to ensure that maximum efficiency is reached. By reducing the number of low acuity calls that we respond to, firefighters will be better positioned to respond to other, more life-threatening cases.”

The response change will be intensely evaluated for 90 days. This will include tracking medical outcomes for these call-types and watching for improvements in response times to more critical 9-1-1 calls like cardiac arrest, trauma, and stroke. Through this process, any unintended problems or concerns will be immediately addressed and modifications will be made if needed.

A PIO will be available for comment Tuesday May 1 from 9am to 2pm

PF&R Responds to a Fatal Apartment Fire (SE Bush east of 122nd) - 04/24/18

This evening just before 9 PM Portland Firefighters were called to a duplex located on SE Bush St. just east of 122nd Ave. Arriving fire personnel noted heavy smoke and fire burning in the front half of the structure. Prior to crews arriving a neighbor tried to extinguish the fire with a garden hose while another was trying to get the occupant of the apartment out.

Firefighters located and carried the occupant from the house and began treating him, he was then transported to the hospital. Sadly, despite the best efforts of firefighters and the ambulance crew, he did not survive. The fire was extinguished within 10 minutes and an investigator is working to determine what caused the blaze.

While the neighbors who tried to help were truly valiant and should be commended for their efforts, PF&R asks that the public not enter structures that are burning. The smoke produced in a building fire is disorienting, debilitatating and can be deadly. When you add in the danger of becoming burned, trapped or having the structure collapse on top of you, the risk is just too high. Please wait for fire crews to arrive with the proper training and equipment. Help us to help you, if a structure is on fire get out, stay out and call 911, don't become another victim.

Portland City Council Celebrates 10th Anniversary of Portland Metro Fire Camp for Young Women (Photo) - 04/23/18

Portland City Council Celebrates 10th Anniversary of Portland Metro Fire Camp for Young Women

New video on breaking career gender norms and social media hashtag #shefightsfires released

On Wednesday, April 25 at 10 a.m. in City Council Chambers, Portland City Council will issue a proclamation naming April “Portland Metro Fire Camp for Young Women Month,” in honor of the camp’s upcoming 10th season. The proclamation is being issued before the summer to direct attention to the application process and attract prospective campers to apply. Applications can be found at https://www.portlandoregon.gov/fire/firecamp

Ten years ago, female firefighters at Portland Fire & Rescue came up with a concept of a fire camp that would introduce young women to a career in the fire service. With support from Portland Fire & Rescue, female firefighters independently created and ran the program and recruited other area female firefighters to join in as instructors. The first camp instructed 14 young women and since then has grown to teach almost 40 young women each year. Portland Metro Fire Camp is expanding to meet its growing demand by opening a second session hosted by Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue.

For some, the camp is a general introduction to an interesting field, and for others, it's the start of a career. Kaylee Kolin was a camper in 2013 and was sworn in as a full-time PF&R Firefighter in 2016. "The camp helped me discover that I have a real passion for this job and the hands-on instruction showed me that I have a capacity for it," she says.

Portland Fire & Rescue Chief Mike Myers is a huge supporter of the camp. “Women have the potential to be great firefighters, but many still don’t know that this is a possible career opportunity,” he says. “The camp smartly gives these young women the chance to hold the tools we use and run through training exercises, some of the things that young men might more readily have access to growing up.”

This year for the first time, the camp is holding a second session at a separate location: the training grounds of Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue. TVF&R Fire Chief Mike Duyck is excited to welcome the camp. “Local female firefighters, including some of TVF&R’s own, have done a great job creating and running this camp,” he says. “We’re glad that we can help support its growth and introduce even more young women to this dynamic and fulfilling career choice.”

To mark its 10th year, Portland Metro Fire Camp hopes to elevate its profile with these outreach items:

  1. On April 25, April will be declared “Portland Metro Fire Camp Month” by Portland City Council.
  2. A new video about fire camp has been released. You can view it here: https://vimeo.com/263074434
  3. Another video, produced by Portland firefighter Liz Thompson, takes on gender norms by inviting women in non-conventional careers (firefighter, construction worker, fighter pilot, and ER doctor) to walk into a first-grade classroom in Portland. You can see this video here: https://vimeo.com/portlandfire/shefightsfires
  4. Portland Metro Fire Camp is introducing the hashtag #shefightsfires. By sharing images and stories of female firefighters with the hashtag #shefightsfires, young women and girls can visualize themselves in this career.