April 2017
Published by the Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal
Oregon's fire associations are in good hands
I had the pleasure of attending the Oregon Fire Marshals Annual Business Meeting and Training Conference late last month and left feeling proud of the recent accomplishments and excited about the future of the organization.

Under the leadership of President Susie Maniscalco and past president Tom Bohm the OFMA became a section of the Oregon Fire Chiefs Association. This new partnership has already served to enhance communication and coordination between the two associations and create a united voice, which is establishing a good road map for the future.

I particularly want to thank the OFMA leadership for their cooperation and participation on Joint Policy Boards, which has resulted in collaborative Joint Policy Bulletins, technical bulletins, successful legislative efforts, and the OFMA's first strategic plan.

While at the conference, I had the honor of swearing in new board members and board members that were advancing to new positions.  
Oregon State Fire Marshal Jim Walker
Left to right: SFM Walker, out going president Susie Maniscalco, new president Mike Trabue, John Patterson, Scott Kline, Jeff Bond, Mark Prince, Gert Zoutendijk, and Tanner Fairrington.
This is a solid board that will no doubt further the mission of the OFMA to support the fire service and its stakeholders by providing education and forums for discussion, addressing current fire and life safety issues, and assisting in targeted campaigns to fulfill their vision.

I am also proud that the new OFMA president is our very own Assistant Chief Deputy and Fire and Life Safety Services Manager Mike Trabue.

In his acceptance speech, Trabue challenged the membership to focus on what the future of fire prevention should look like in Oregon and the OFMA role in achieving that vision. He also called on the membership to use their leadership, experience, and passion to act as a united group with the OFCA as we all move forward for the safety of all Oregonians.

Congratulations to all of the new and promoted members and past officers and members for your hard work and dedication in bringing the OFMA to this exciting point the in association’s history as we move forward to do great things.

Thanks for all you do!
OSFM's 100 years of service :
Highlights from 1940 to 1949
This is the fourth of 12 monthly articles highlighting interesting facts and significant events from each decade of OSFM's 100 years of service and an OSFM deputy state fire marshal region.

  • Alarm systems become required in buildings sleeping ten or more occupants.

  • Emergency Conflagration Act established.


  • Third Tillamook Burn. Started the morning of July 9, near the Salmonberry River and was joined two days later by a second blaze on the Wilson River (started from a discarded cigarette). The fire burned 180,000 acres before being put out.
  • May 5th, a Japanese balloon fire bomb explodes, killing several members of a church group near Gearhart Mt. in SW Oregon.

  • Major loss fire at the Utah Canning Company facility in Milton-Freewater. Although there were no reported injuries or deaths, the fire loss totaled $839,000.
  • Legislature passes law prohibiting self-service gasoline in Oregon.
Spotlight on:
OSFM deputy district 6

Counties: Coos and Curry

  • Deputy State Fire Marshal: Jeff Henderson, DSFM since 2014.
  • Population: 84,621
  • Fire Agencies: 28
  • Approximately 90% volunteer
  • CR2K facilities: 453
  • Extremely Hazardous Substance facilities: 2 
  • Annual calls (5 year avg): 7,544
  • Annual reported fires (5 year avg): 291
  • Annual Hazmat calls (5 year avg): 24
  • Annual dollar loss (5 year avg):  $4,031,230
Did you know:

On September 26, 1936, a fire started several miles east of Bandon. An unexpected shift in the wind drove the flames swiftly westward. Ignited by the forest fire, the town’s abundant gorse became engulfed in flames. Bandon's entire commercial district was destroyed. The total loss stated at the time was $3 million, with 13 fatalities. Gorse was first introduced to the Oregon Coast by the founder of Bandon, Lord George Bennett, from his native Ireland.  Firefighters found that burning gorse reacted to having water squirted on it like a kitchen grease fire—it simply spread burning gobs of gorse everywhere. There is still gorse in Bandon today, but municipal codes strictly regulate how high and thick it may be allowed to get.

Spotlight: Hazmat Team 15
In 1990, Co os Bay Fire Department began their partnership with OSFM to provide hazmat response to Oregon’s south coast. What is now OSFM HM15 was originally part of OSFM HM01 with Roseburg Fire Department. This joint team was in place for just a few years until the OSFM fully funded the 15th team which was contracted to Coos Bay Fire Department. HM15 and all of the equipment is based out of Coos Bay Fire’s main fire station in downtown Coos Bay. The hazmat team currently has 15 members comprised of career and volunteer firefighters from Coos Bay Fire Department, and career firefighters with Myrtle Point Fire Department. Due to their limited team size, the team strives to have all members trained to perform any function at a hazardous materials incident.

The general response area for HM15 is along Hwy 101 from mile post 199 south to the California border. The western boundary is the Pacific Ocean and eastern boundary lies near the town of Scottsburg, roughly mile post 19 on Hwy 38. Their eastern border on Hwy 42 is the Coos/Douglas county line. HM15’s response area consists of mostly narrow winding roads with waterways nearby and many small communities with less than 10,000 people. The largest city is Coos Bay (about 16,000 people), with the entire Oregon bay area comprised of Coos Bay and North Bend (about 26,000 people).

There is the potential for several types of emergencies within the HM15 response area. At fixed facilities the most significant threat is large quantities of chlorine for water treatment, and anhydrous ammonia for cold storage. As with many other teams, the greatest potential for a hazmat incident comes from the transportation industry. US Hwy 101 is a major travel artery for commerce, especially in winter months when Interstate 5 becomes restricted due to weather.

HM15 has a fairly unique outlook on training which drives a fairly unique training schedule. The team schedules six, eight-hour drills per year. They typically train in the first three or four months of the year and then make up the remainder in the fall months. This has worked well for the team because the longer drills are scheduled when our staffing levels are typically at their highest. Training in the first 2-3 drills of the year is based on task book requirements with the rest of the drills involving outside instructors, specialty training, or larger scenarios. Team members also spend time training as a shift and attend outside training whenever possible.

HM15 has been fairly fortunate in that they have not had any calls with loss of life or extensive environmental impact due to the release of a hazardous material. Many of the calls are for leaking petroleum products threatening a waterway or that have spilled into a waterway. They have had several calls for cold storage facilities with very small leaks of anhydrous ammonia. In the last 10 years, the team has twice responded with their neighboring team from Roseburg on highway incidents near their shared boundary.

One of the most significant calls that HM15 has had was a “white powder” callout to the local Coast Guard Station. The significance of this call was not due to human contamination or injuries or environmental impact, but due to the vast response itself. This call showed the team members the many different levels of response from throughout the state. During this particular call the team had contact with DEQ, EPA, FBI, OSFM, DHS, and the 102nd Civil Support Team. It was a great example of how their fairly small team (by most standards) is part of a much larger response within the state.

HM15 serves the following fire departments:
If your department is interested in receiving outreach from HM15, please contact Steve Takis by email Stakis@coosbay.org
Deputy's small discovery
has big impact

O n February 8th 2017, Deputy State Fire Marshal Scott Rice was called for a fire investigation in Malin, Oregon, involving a 2005 Blue Bird All American, 52 passenger school bus. After examining the scene, Deputy Rice determined the fire originated in the rear engine compartment near the battery disconnect switch. When Deputy Rice finished the investigation, the local fire chief told Deputy Rice about another school bus fire that occurred in mid-December 2016 in the nearby community of Merrill. According to the fire chief the December fire was also in the engine compartment of a similar school bus.

Deputy Rice contacted the Klamath County School District transportation supervisor who invited Deputy Rice to examine the bus fire that occurred in mid-December. Subsequently, Deputy Rice’s examination of the Merrill school bus fire also concluded that the fire originated in the rear engine compartment near the battery disconnect switch. The cause of both fires was determined to be accidental and most probably from the hot wire overheating from the disconnect switch to the starter.
Engine compartment of the Malin bus fire. The white box outlines the area of the battery disconnect switch.
The bolt and wire in the center of the photo is all that remains of the battery disconnect switch, and is the origin of the fire.
The  Klamath County transportation supervisor stated he had 14 school buses of the same vintage, and was concerned that they could have other fires. With this in mind, Deputy Rice recommended the school district take multiple safety precautions to eliminate the possibility of more incidents.

As a result of Deputy Rice’s recommendations, an electrical engineer was hired to examine the potential defects in the electrical systems of the buses. The electrical engineer determined similar fire scenarios would have occurred, had the school district continued to operate the buses, due to the aftermarket battery disconnect switches that were installed and showed chaffing and exposed wiring. The electrical systems on the buses were repaired and inspected by a Blue Bird All American representative.

Due to Deputy State Fire Marshal Scott Rice’s efforts in determining the origin and cause of the fires and his recommended safety precautions to prevent future fires, there have been no additional bus fires for these school districts.

The OSFM recommends local fire marshals contact school districts in their jurisdiction to determine if the district has similar vehicles and arrange inspections as necessary.
Code Corner
Don't 'eclipse' your fire inspections of hotels and motels
Or egon is being touted as one of the best states to view the upcoming total solar eclipse on August 21st, and it is expected that we will see an influx of upwards of 1 million visitors filling up most of the hotel rooms in the state. The OSFM is encouraging local fire jurisdictions to consider focusing on fire safety inspections of these facilities before the crowds arrive.

Most guests of a hotel or motel are unfamiliar with their surroundings and at best will have gained only a basic knowledge of the building layout, the location of the nearest emergency exits, and the presence of any fire protection systems. This unfamiliarity with their surroundings is further compounded as guests will have differing degrees of mobility, vision, and hearing abilities.

Fire departments in the U.S. respond to an estimated 3,900 hotel and motel fires each year. These fires cause an average of 15 deaths, 150 injuries, and $76 million in direct property damage.
Source: usfa.fema.gov/prevention/outreach/hotel_motel

Facts & Figures  
  • Each year, one of every 12 hotels or motels reported a structure fire.
  • Smoking materials started 10% of the fires in hotels and motels; these fires caused 79% of recorded deaths.
  • Only 8% of hotel and motel fires were intentionally set, but these accounted for 12% of the property damaged.
  • Twelve percent of fires in hotels and motels began in a bedroom; these fires caused 72% of the civilian deaths and 31% of civilian injuries.
  • When sprinklers were present, 91% of sprinklers in hotel or motel fires operated effectively.   Source: NFPA's "Hotel and Motel Structure Fires" report

A hotel owner’s primary concern is that guests enjoy their stay; but, this must also include verifying building exiting and fire safety features are properly maintained. The role of the fire service is to inform the owner when these features need maintenance and educate them on what needs to be done.  

Together the goal is to protect people and property as effectively as possible and to minimize any operational interruptions and losses. Fire safety is therefore a long-term investment that must be carefully planned to ensure the continued success of the hotel/motel business.

To aid in this goal, the State of Oregon has adopted the 2014 Oregon Fire Code which establishes minimum fire and life safety standards for the hotel/motel occupancy. The cornerstone of the standard is a properly installed and working smoke alarm/detection system, which ensures the earliest detection and notification of a fire in order to evacuate the property safely.

The possibility of a fire occurring in hotel and motel properties should always be anticipated. Safeguarding guest safety is a fundamental requirement for all hotel/motel owners, operators, as well as all fire service personnel.

Below is a link to a general “Checklist” of items to assist property owners and fire inspection personnel in evaluating hotel/motel fire safety. All items are based upon the 2014 Oregon Fire Code (OFC).


In addition, the following links can provide you additional materials on hotel and motel fire safety for local public educational programs:

Data Connection
News from the Analytics & Intelligence Unit
by Program Coordinator Dave Gulledge
NFIRS and ISO Ratings

Did you know that by completing and submitting NFIRS incident reports to the state you could be reducing the cost of insurance in your community?

The Insurance Services Office’s (ISO) Fire Suppression Rating Schedule (FSRS) includes a category related to Community Risk Reduction (CRR). This category is an extra credit that has the potential of improving your agency’s ISO score to a lower class because it carries the potential of earning 5.5 points towards grading that determines an agency’s ISO class. Within the CRR, points are awarded for participating in the NFIRS program and having submitted NFIRS reports for the past three years. Maximizing the points awarded by actively submitting NFIRS reports could be just what it takes for your agency to be placed into a lower class!

Other points within the CRR component are awarded in the areas of fire prevention code and enforcement, public fire safety education, and fire investigation organization and staffing. Since the CRR was introduced, 159 areas have been graded in Oregon. As of March 1, 2017, the average CRR score was 4.36 out of a possible 5.5 for those areas.

The following chart shows the number of graded areas within Oregon by current class as of March 1, 2017.
If your agency would like more information about ISO or the rating schedule, contact David Hyland at dhyland@iso.com

For questions or information on NFIRS or incident reporting, please contact the Analytics & Intelligence Unit at 503-934-8250 or by email at osfm.data@state.or.us
2017 Task Force Leader Symposium wrap-up
This year marked the second year of OSFM’s Task Force Leader Symposium with training focused on fostering cohesion among the state’s many task force and strike team leaders. The event took place at Newport’s Best Western Agate Beach Inn, with nearly 100 attendees. Students received training related to safety, social media, OSFM processes, Bendix King radios, situational software, fire behavior & fuel types, and sprinkler & pump kits.

The first day focus was on the Structural Protection Plan developed by Incident Management Team members and made public in 2016. Authors of the plan reviewed structural triage, prep, and tactics with the group. The session culminated with a hands-on opportunity for symposium attendees to have conversations and make determinations about triage categories, preparation priorities, and potential tactics based on visual depictions of homes in the wildland/urban interface and situational information about a fictitious firefront.

Thank you to our attendees and their departments who supported this training.
IMT new member orientation
In February, the OSFM conducted new member orientation for its 14 newest incident management team members. We want to express our sincere appreciation to the new members as well as the departments who support their involvement.
Pictured (left to right) are current Incident Commander Ian Yocum, OSFM Program Coordinator Mariah Rawlins, Jon Koenig, Rainbow Plews, Brian Stewart, Matt Benedict, Chris LaBelle, Brent Olson, Todd Schwartz, Bret Boysen, Bill Boos, Larry Wooldridge, Jonathan Scheirman, Nathan Leek, and Garrett Diehl. Not pictured is Ian O’Connor.
The IMT Program currently has 108 team members representing the OSFM, 44 fire agencies, and three law enforcement agencies. Oregon is fortunate to have a unique ability to mobilize structural fire resources statewide. This process would not be successful without the partnership and support of our IMT members and their home agencies.

Annual fire defense board chief drill
The Annual Fire Defense Board Drill will occur Tuesday, May 16, 2017. Fire Defense Board Chiefs will receive a call from our Agency Operations Center asking for a specific set of resources. The intent of this drill is to exercise our AOC personnel and technology, and to allow Fire Defense Board Chiefs an opportunity to walk through the process of responding to a resource request.

The resources requested are, by design, those which are most readily available in the state. This should simplify the drill request process and encourage greater participation. Fire Defense Board Chiefs who would like to reacquaint themselves with the process can find all applicable forms and information in the Oregon Fire Service Mobilization Plan.
2017 mobilization plan available
The 2017 Oregon Fire Service Mobilization Plan was approved by consensus on March 8, during the State Fire Defense Board Meeting at DPSST.

The mob plan can be found online. Printed copies will be available in early April through your local OSFM Deputy State Fire Marshal or by contacting mariah.rawlins@state.or.us .

2017 Oregon SERC/LEPC Conference
Th e 2017 State Emergency Response Commission/Local Emergency Planning Committee Conference is scheduled for May 22-24, 2017, at the Seaside Convention Center

This conference is the perfect opportunity to enhance your knowledge and understanding of the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA) and will provide valuable information and ideas. It will also be a great opportunity for networking with people from across the state involved in LEPC activities, emergency planning, and response to hazardous materials incidents. This conference is hosted by the OSFM and paid for by funds provided by the HMEP grant.

If you have any questions, contact SERC Coordinator Sue Otjen at 503-934-8227 or email sue.otjen@state.or.us

HMEP grant period open
T he FY 2017-18 Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness (HMEP) grant application period is now open. It will remain open until 5:00 p.m., April 24, 2017.

The Hazardous Materials Transportation Safety and Security Reauthorization Act of 2005 authorizes the U.S. Department of Transportation to provide assistance to local, state, and tribal governments through training and planning grants for emergency response. The purpose of this grant program is to increase effectiveness in safely and efficiently handling hazardous materials accidents and incidents, to enhance implementation of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986, and to encourage a comprehensive approach to emergency training and planning by incorporating the unique challenges of responses to transportation situations. 

The Oregon SERC receives Hazardous Material Emergency Preparedness grant funds from the DOT Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. The grant funds are used to support planning, training, and exercise projects related to hazardous materials emergency response to transportation incidents.

Oregon receives approximately $260,000 annually. At least 80% of those funds are passed through to local emergency planning committees (LEPCs) and local first responder agencies. The remaining 20% is used by the OSFM to facilitate additional planning, training, and exercise projects.

For more information, contact Sue Otjen at 503-934-8227 or sue.otjen@state.or.us
Slots still available for NFA class at DPSST in June
Class: NFA F0365 - Best Practices in Community Risk Reduction
Dates: June 7-8, 2017
Time: 0800-1700
Location: 4190 Aumsville Hwy SE, Salem, OR 97301
Cost: Free
Registration Deadline: May 31, 2017  

Course Description: This two-day course demonstrates to students nationally recognized principles that, when used appropriately, can lead to community risk-reduction programs that can measure success in local communities. This course will give students the opportunity to explore programs from communities across the United States that have been showcased at Vision 20/20 symposiums. These programs demonstrate what nationally recognized organizations identify as examples of "best practices" in community risk reduction. At the end of the course, students will be evaluated through a 25-question multiple-choice examination. A final grade will be provided to each student. The minimum score needed to pass is 70.  

**There is a pre-course assignment that should take about one hour to complete, access it online Course syllabus is online

Prerequisites: None

If you experience and difficulty with the form or the registration process, please contact Rebecca Carroll at: 503-378-2408 or rebecca.carroll@state.or.us
North Lincoln Fire & Rescue District #1 captain receives NFPA scholarship award
Captain Jim Kusz, public education officer for North Lincoln Fire & Rescue District #1, has been selected by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to receive a Star Scholarship Award for his dedication to effectively reaching the public with fire safety education. As an award recipient, Kusz will attend NFPA’s Conference & Expo in Boston, MA, June 4-7, where he will participate in training sessions, conference events, and a networking reception. NFPA’s Conference & Expo serves as the premier, annual event for fire, electrical, and building safety.

“Jim has consistently demonstrated a strong commitment to reducing Lincoln City residents’ risk to fire and related hazards,” said Meredith Hawes, regional education specialist for NFPA’s Public Education Division. “He is truly deserving of this award, and we’re thrilled to have him attend this year’s conference.”

NFPA chose 12 scholarship recipients from the United States and Canada who provide consistent and innovative outreach to their community; actively use and implement NFPA resources and programs including Learn Not to Burn®, Remembering When™, or Fire Prevention Week; promote NFPA in their community, state or province; and/or are new fire and life safety educators interested in learning about NFPA programs and materials.

Winners were selected by NFPA’s regional education specialists and Canadian public education field advisor. Each scholarship is valued at $2,000 and includes travel, conference registration, and lodging.
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