Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Airway Control

When a patient falls unconscious, there is a real danger that the tongue will slip to the back of the throat and block the airway or nasopharynx. When this happens medical personnel must quickly provide an advanced airway to keep the patient alive. They can assist the patient in breathing by forcing air into the lungs with a manually operated bag valve.

This week, Hillsboro Fire and Rescue firefighter/medics have been training on the use of the King Airway device. It’s a specially-designed tube with inflatable collars that medics can insert into the patient’s throat to provide a means to force air into their lungs. The device also contains a tube that provides a vent for gastric pressure and stomach decompression. It also channels any vomit outside the body rather than allowing it to be aspirated into the patient’s lungs.
Our Paramedics and Emergency Medical Technician-Intermediates have been using this device for some time now. EMT-Basics received their training and skill assessment on the use of this device this week. The device, which can be inserted even while medics are performing cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR), is just another tool in the tool box of firefighters working to save lives.

All firefighters at Hillsboro Fire & Rescue are trained Emergency Medical Technicians. There are three levels of training, EMT-Basic, EMT-Intermediate and EMT-Paramedic. An engine, truck or rescue company is dispatched on every call for an ambulance because they can often reach the patient first and begin life-saving treatment. Once the ambulance arrives, firefighter/medics hand off the patient to ambulance medics for transportation to the nearest hospital. If the patient is condition is critical, one or more firefighters will accompany the patient to the hospital to supplement ambulance medics. This provides the highest level of service to our citizens.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Rapid Intervention Team Drill

At any working fire, you may see a number of firefighters doing multiple tasks. The typical scene to the untrained eye looks rather chaotic. However, each team of firefighters has been assigned tasks to perform. One such team is the Rapid Intervention Team or RIT. A RIT team is tasked with being ready with the necessary equipment to rescue a firefighter should he or she become disabled or trapped inside a burning building. They may be assigned duties to provide a second means of egress for the crews operating inside and to walk around the structure to familiarize themselves with other potential escape routes. But, other than that, RIT team members are to stand by ready for deployment if one of their colleagues needs them.

This past week, Hillsboro Fire and Rescue conducted RIT drills in a modular building donated to us by a local business. The structure provided a series of rooms in which trainers constructed a simulated building collapse that required the RIT team students to crawl through, under, over obstacles to locate the simulated firefighter needing rescue. They have to perform these drills with Press –n-Seal coating their face masks to simulate smoky conditions. Successfully performing these drills give firefighters an idea of what it may be like to be looking for one of their own should the unexpected happen.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Burn to Learn

Hillsboro Fire and Rescue conducted a training burn at 1255 SE Walnut on Saturday (Feb 13) to teach new firefighters and volunteers needing additional experience about fire behavior and suppression methods. The burn was conducted at a locally owned home that is being demolished to make way for Habitat for Humanity to build several new homes on the property for low income residents.

The burn began at 8:30 am with a safety briefing. Experienced firefighters served as team leaders to guide the new recruits and volunteers through the paces. Safety officers were prepositioned within the structure and a fire was set in a pile of hay and pallet wood. A team was sent in to watch the fire’s growth and to knock down the flames to keep heat levels under control. The teams rotate personnel on the end of the hose line and attacked the flames again. As the fuels were depleted in one room, another room was prepared and set ablaze and the process began again. At the conclusion of the drills, all personnel withdrew from the building and the home was allowed to burn to the ground.

These burns are a win-win for the property owner and Hillsboro Fire Department. The property owner has less debris to haul away from the property and place in a landfill and the fire department gets a structure in which it can train new firefighters under controlled circumstances to provide the safest experience possible. More than 100 people from the neighborhood turned out at the height of the training.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Confined Space Drill - Underground Rescues

When utility workers or contractors have to work underground in tunnels, drains, tanks and vaults, they often encounter trapped gasses that may be reside in the container or naturally occuring in the earth. Hydrogen Sulfide is one of those gases along with carbon monoxide and others that can disable or kill workers who don't have supplied air systems.

When someone is injured or falls ill due to toxic fumes, firefighters must safely enter the same space and rescue or recover the patients. The firefighters must don either self contained breathing apparatus or use a supplied air line to the surface. They must operate in water, mud, and worse in very cramped spaces to rescue the patients.

This week Hillsboro Fire and Rescue conducted confined space drills at the Confined Space prop located at Fire Station #3. Firefighters must maintain their competencies in these skills each year. They must also practice using the specialized tools that may be necessary for such incidents as a builiding collapse as a result of an earthquake.

If you have questions regarding Hillsboro Fire and Rescue's Technical Rescue capabilities, call 503-681-6166.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Cherry Lane Fire Station Going Up!

From New Fire Station 6

Despite the weather, contractors are making excellent progress on constructing Hillsboro Fire & Rescue’s new fire station located on Cherry Lane just east of Cornelius Pass Road. In the last five weeks, workers have finished much of the site preparation for the structure, poured the footings and concrete floors for the living quarters and training rooms and masons have begun building the concrete block walls, which you can see going up in the photo.

The 16,000 square foot facility will serve as the Department’s new training center while housing a four person engine company. Completion of the facility is scheduled for July 2010.

The location of the fire station is 21880 NW Cherry Lane.

View Larger Map

2009 Hillsboro Fire Department Awards

Ten Hillsboro Fire and Rescue firefighters and staff received recognition for their outstanding contributions to the Department’s mission Friday afternoon, January 29th, at a ceremony at the Hillsboro Civic Center.

“I am extremely proud of the firefighters and staff here,” said Fire Chief Gary Seidel said in making the presentations. “They give their best on and off duty.

From 2009 Awards Ceremony

Firefighter Luis Mota received a Distinguished Service Award for his actions in saving the life of a restaurant patron in Salem. Mota was off duty and dining in another part of the restaurant when an elderly patron confined to a wheelchair began choking on food. Wait staff initially attempted to assit the man, then asked for help. Mota pulled the man from his wheelchair and began the Heimlich maneuver. The food remained stuck in the patient’s airway and the man fell unconscious. Mota then began Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation chest compressions according to his training. The persistent Mota kept up the compressions until the food dislodged. Salem Firefighters arrived and transported the man to a local hospital where he arrived conscious and talking to his responders. In addition to the Fire Department award, representatives from Liberty Mutual Insurance Company presented Mota with their Firemark Award. Liberty Mutual representative Ward Klicke said the Firemark Award honors the valor and selfless spirit of firefighters who keep our communities safe.

From 2009 Awards Ceremony

A Distinguished Service Award went to Firefighter Tim Eiden. A second-generation firefighter, Eiden was off duty one evening and was leaving his sister’s home when he noticed an apartment building nearby was on fire. He instructed a companion to call 9-1-1, grabbed a fire extinguisher, and extinguished the fire before fellow firefighters arrived, thereby saving the structure and possibly the lives of the tenants inside who were unaware of the fire on the exterior of the building.

Two other top awards were the Career and Volunteer Firefighter of the Year. The two recipients were selected by their peers for their unfailing contributions to the Department. Chaplain Steve Brodehl was selected as Firefighter of the Year and Lieutenant David Sellers was selected the Volunteer Firefighter of the Year. Brodehl also picked up the Distinguished Service Award for his unfailing dedication and devotion to the citizens of Hillsboro. Chaplain Brodehl responds to all fire and emergency medical calls when citizen’s emotions are shattered by what is most likely the worst day of their life. He provides compassion and counsel to help the citizen find emotional stability during a chaotic time.

From 2009 Awards Ceremony

Lieutenant Sellers was picked for Volunteer Firefighter of the Year for his regular dedication to helping train new and promoting volunteer firefighters. Sellers, a local insurance representative, also dons his firefighting gear when called and responds to all types of incidents, shares his experience with younger volunteer colleagues and spends time at community events talking to children about fire safety.

The Chief’s Award is utilized to recognize single acts of merit or service, an increase in efficiency or effectiveness in a non-emergency function. Chief Seidel bestowed that award on Mary Bradley, the Department’s Management Analyst. She was cited for her instrumental role in the Department’s accreditation process, her leadership of the Department’s employee time management program called TELESTAFF, and for her day-to-day management of the Departments statistical databases.

From 2009 Awards Ceremony

Fire Chief Gary Seidel also bestowed the Chief’s Coin of Excellence on the following personnel:

Retired Administrative Chief Dennis Ross was recognized for his leadership and work on managing the Department’s application for accreditation by the Commission on Public Safety Excellence. Ross was also cited for his role as Planning Section Chief on the Office of State Fire Marshal’s Red Incident Management Team.

Retired Special Operations and EMS Chief Don Schallberger was recognized for his work in with the Oregon Urban Search and Rescue teams and for his contributions to obtaining grants from the Urban Area Security Initiative that benefit fire departments in Washington County. He was also cited for his assistance in training Hillsboro Emergency Operations Center staff.

Firefighter Shane Rice was recognized for his dedication and leadership in training new volunteer firefighters. Firefighter Rice has devoted many hours of time to help build volunteer firefighters’ skills.

Firefighter Ben Tanner was recognized for his contributions to the Pre-Plan Program. Firefighter Tanner spends countless hours outside of his regular duties in drawing and preparing plans of commercial buildings and properties so that firefighters have accurate and detailed drawings of those properties available to them before they arrive at a fire or medical emergency. This allows them to locate a patient, water hydrant and sprinkler controls more quickly or plan their tactics and deploy crews much more efficiently.

Firefighter Alia Jennings was recognized for her leadership and coordination of the Toy and Joy Program. Each year Firefighter Jennings plans and executes the off-duty efforts of firefighters, operating under the Random Acts Program, to collect new, unwrapped toys for needy children. She works tirelessly with her colleagues and with outside organizations to ensure toys and food are delivered to Hillsboro’s neediest families.

For fire and life safety information, visit: or call 503-681-6166.