March 2017
Published by the Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal
Legislative session is underway
The 2017 Oregon legislative session is underway and there are a few proposed bills that may affect the Oregon fire service that we are keeping an eye on, specifically:

HB 2183 – Transfers authority relating to plan review and inspections of health care facilities from State Fire Marshal to Department of Consumer and Business Services.

HB 2458 – Allows nonretail facilities located in low-population counties to permit self-service retail sales of Class 1 flammable liquids after 6 p.m. and before 6 a.m.

HB 2482 – Removes hours of operation restriction on self-service at filling stations, service stations, garages and other dispensaries in low-population counties.

HB 2131 – Directs Environmental Quality Commission to adopt rules applying certain oil spill prevention and emergency response planning requirements to railroads that own or operate high hazard train routes in the state.

HB 2669 – Modifies requirements for local community right to know regulatory programs for toxic substances and harmful substances.

SB 112 – Requires carbon monoxide alarm in enclosed structure that has carbon monoxide source and is occupied and used as food service facility or for-profit business.

SB 7 Directs Environmental Quality Commission to adopt rules applying certain oil spill prevention and emergency response planning requirements to high hazard train routes in Oregon.

It’s always a busy time for legislators, but they are always willing to listen to their constituents. I encourage you to reach out to your local representatives and let them know your concerns from a fire service perspective on any proposed legislation.

The fire service is respected and held in high regard, and I encourage you to use any opportunity to communicate openly with your political representatives on issues important to you, your department, and your community.

It is vitally important for the fire service to give their perspective on how proposed legislation might affect members of the fire service and the safety of our citizens. Your input into making Oregon a safer place to live, work, and recreate is significant, especially during our legislative season.

Thanks for all you do!
Oregon State Fire Marshal Jim Walker
OSFM's 100 years of service :
Highlights from 1930 to 1939
This is the third 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.

  • Arson investigation became part of State Police.

  • First Tillamook Burn, started in Gales Creek Canyon on August 14th when a steel cable dragging a fallen Douglas fir rubbed against the dry bark of a wind-fallen snag. The snag burst into flame. The resulting wildfire burned 350,000 acres before it was extinguished by seasonal rains on September 5th.


  • The OSFM distributed 90,000 illustrated home inspection pamphlets through city schools, which resulted in the reported elimination of 84,000 fire hazards from homes.
  • Fire chiefs and city fire marshals begin reporting activity to the OSFM.
  • Silverton Opera House theater burns.
  • Oregon State Capitol burns.


  • The home inspection pamphlet program extended its coverage to county and rural schools, resulting in more than 23,000 abated fire hazards reported from students in 449 rural schools.
  • September 26th, the first recorded conflagration in Oregon occurred in Bandon, which resulted in 13 fatalities. The cities of Marshfield, North Bend, and Coquille were also threatened, but not affected. The conflagration resulted in an insured loss of more than $1.2 million in property loss, which represented 39% of the state's loss due to fire that year.

  • Second Tillamook Burn, allegedly started by another logging operation. It burned 190,000 acres before being extinguished and was contained within the bounds of the earlier fire.
  • There were 21 legally organized rural fire protection districts providing fire protection in unincorporated areas.
Spotlight on:
OSFM deputy districts 4 & 5

Counties: Benton, Lane, and Linn

  • Deputy State Fire Marshals:  Kristina Deschaine & Jonathon Jones. Kristina has been a DSFM since 2001. Jonathon comes to the region after serving in the Healthcare Unit as a DSFM since 2015.
  • Population: 561,568
  • Fire Agencies: 35
  • Approximately 60% volunteer
  • CR2K facilities: 1,832
  • Extremely Hazardous Substance facilities: 154
  • Conflag responses in last 15 years: 51
  • Annual calls (5 year avg):  58,794
  • Annual reported fires (5 year avg): 1,594
  • Annual Hazmat calls (5 year avg): 145
  • Annual dollar loss (5 year avg):  $33,268,068
Did you know:

The Oxbow Ridge Fire in 1966 was the first large fire in Oregon that was controlled without a weather change. The fire started on August 20 due to sparks from road construction, and spread quickly west. It’s estimated that the fire was burning 2,000 acres an hour. More than one thousand firefighters were dispatched to the fire, which ultimately burned 42,274 acres (about 66 square miles). At that time, the Oxbow Ridge Fire was the fifth largest wildfire in Oregon since 1910, exceeded only by the three Tillamook fires of 1933, 1939, and 1945, and the 1936 Bandon fire. The Department of Forestry sued and collected $1 million in costs from the Umpqua River Navigation Company, owner of the equipment that had caused the fire. The Douglas County Circuit Court dismissed the state’s case, but the Oregon State Supreme Court reversed that decision.

Spotlight: Hazmat Team 05
T he Linn/Benton Hazmat Team (HM05) has been operating since 1991. The 31 members of the current team come from three different fire agencies, Lebanon Fire District and the Corvallis and Albany fire departments. In past years, team members have also come from Sweet Home Fire Department and City of Corvallis Public Works Department. The team serves multiple counties spread out over multiple geographic challenges of the Coastal Range, Willamette Valley, and areas into the Cascade Range. The main response area is Benton and Linn counties, but they also extend into parts of Lincoln, Polk, and Marion counties.

Apparatus and equipment for HM05 is housed in both the Albany and Corvallis fire stations and training occurs once a month. The many dynamics of the team provides them with the ability to appropriately staff any hazmat emergency.

The team is heavily involved in the Mid-Valley Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC), a combined LEPC with Linn and Benton counties. HM05 has worked with the Mid-Valley LEPC to receive multiple grants for training opportunities in both counties, governing bodies, local facilities, and agencies. They also do extensive outreach with local and regional fire departments, public safety agencies, and fixed Extremely Hazardous Substance (EHS) facilities. This has provided the opportunity to work hand in hand with those agencies helping to develop the best level of response for local agencies and state assets.

Between Linn and Benton counties there are more than 50 EHS facilities concentrated in or around Albany and Corvallis. Due to the concentration of multiple EHS facilities, HM05’s training, preplans, and team configuration is focused on those potential risks. There are also multiple rails, highways, and large LPG and petroleum pipelines through the region, posing other risks for hazmat emergencies.

Over the years, HM05 has responded to multiple large-scale hazmat events that were challenging to the team and local resources. Anhydrous ammonia, chlorine, hydrofluoric acid, titanium tetrachloride, and acrylonitrile are some of the extreme hazardous substance incidents they have responded to.
Members of Hazmat Team 05 training on a tank car in Albany.
HM05 continues to work and partner with facilities to ensure they are current with new and challenging chemicals used in their jurisdiction.

Team members are encouraged to take advantage of the many training opportunities available. HM05 continues to look for new members to help staff the team, and is always interested in new outreach opportunities.  

If interested, contact Outreach Coordinator Shane Castle at , or Training Coordinator Mark Bernt at .

If you have any other questions, contact Team Coordinator Scott Cowan at
Planning for the 2017 solar eclipse
in Oregon
Oregon will be in the trajectory of a total solar eclipse on Monday, August 21 beginning around 10:15am. This date will likely coincide with hotter weather and drier fuels. The historic fire potential across the state and the estimated large amount of visitors adds a higher probability of ignition in human caused fires, especially around temporarily larger populations of sky watchers.

Being the first total solar eclipse visible in the continental U.S. since 1979, this event is expected to draw upwards of one million visitors to the state, with most of the activity occurring along the forecasted path of totality.  This influx of people into small cities, rural areas, and along major transportation routes has the potential to create a number of challenges for emergency responders.  
This map shows the Path of Totality of the
August 21, 2017 eclipse through Oregon
In anticipation of the solar eclipse, the OSFM is developing a Concept of Operations plan based on three primary objectives:
  • Encourage and support local fire service engagement with emergency management networks to develop plans and coordinate readiness efforts
  • Participate in and contribute to fire prevention and public safety messaging campaigns
  • Deploy resources as requested through the State Mobilization Plan
Local fire service engagement with emergency managers
It is vital that Oregon’s fire agencies work with their local emergency managers to plan for this event, especially those areas in or near the trajectory or major transportation routes.  All incidents start locally, and individual communities having their own plans in place will be key in keeping the impact of this event to a minimum.

Fire prevention and public safety messaging campaigns
OSFM’s Education Branch is working with agency partners to create fire prevention and public safety messaging, which will soon be made available to the fire service. OSFM’s public information officer (PIO) will be coordinating with joint information centers (JIC) to distribute available information leading up to, during, and following the solar eclipse.

Resource deployment through State Mobilization Plan
As recommended by the Oregon Office of Emergency Management, the OSFM is planning for a period of operational readiness and situational intelligence gathering from Wednesday, August 16th, 2017 to Wednesday, August 23rd. If the OSFM Agency Operations Center is not already open due to a Governor-declared conflagration or other activation event, the OSFM is establishing a staffing plan during this planning period to ensure rapid processing of any mobilization requests. The OSFM will be working closely with ODOT and OSP to deliver resources using appropriate transportation routes, and will carefully consider how to fulfill resource requests on both sides of the path of totality.

The OSFM is working with their partners at ODOT, OSP, OEM, and other state agencies to create a solid plan for transportation and the mobilization of less affected counties should we have an incident during this time. Items being considered by agency partners are:  
  • Joint Information Centers and messaging
  • Data gathering
    • Updated lodging/driver counts
    • Concurrent unrelated events (e.g., Brownsville Country Music Festival)
    • Coordination with local chambers of commerce for retailers
    • Obtaining a summary of event economic impacts
  • Transportation management
    • Public vehicle movement
    • Emergency vehicle access routes
  • Fire season issues
    • Human-caused ignition control
    • Smoke management
    • ES4-existing plans in place
  • Health care system preparedness
  • Environmental health system preparedness
  • Mass care, food, and water issues
  • Public safety communication
  • Public safety staffing and staging
    • Fire service
    • Law enforcement
    • Emergency medical services
    • Utility crews
  • Contingency planning
For questions about the OSFM’s solar eclipse planning, please contact Michael Heffner at (503) 934-8030 or email
Hazmat rail emergency response planning and training
The OSFM has partnered with Oregon’s fire service training community, its regional hazmat response teams, and Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroads to develop and deliver several hazmat rail emergency response training courses at the awareness, operations, technician, and incident command level. These courses are offered free to first responders and provide the basic framework for a safe, effective, and efficient response to hazmat rail incidents.

In 2016, more than 2,500 personnel training hours on hazmat rail emergency response were delivered to more than 50 public safety agencies. Attendees included firefighters, hazmat team members, emergency planners, and other hazmat rail responders.

Upcoming training opportunities offered by OSFM:

In 2016, with the coordination of numerous partner agencies and stakeholders, the OSFM assisted the Columbia County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) in creating the state’s first Hazmat by Rail Emergency Response Plan through funds awarded by Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness (HMEP) grant program.

This plan was developed around the top three most common hazardous commodities transported by rail through the county. The plan contained many elements, including, but not limited to: plume models, evacuation routes, initial first responder checklists, equipment cache location, and more.

Through funding allocated by HB3225, the OSFM is able to assist LEPCs and local emergency management agencies with funding to develop Hazmat Rail Emergency Response Plans. For more information, please contact OSFM Hazmat Rail Coordinator Chad Hawkins at 503-400-4671 or email
Code Corner
Radio coverage
For nearly a decade, fire code officials have implemented Emergency Responder Radio Coverage (ERRC) provisions for in-building public safety radio-enhancement systems. These code provisions are designed to ensure adequate indoor and outdoor radio signal coverage for emergency responding fire, medical, and law enforcement personnel.

One of the lessons learned from the 9/11 terrorist attacks is that reliable in-building public-safety radio coverage is vital to saving lives. Standards arose as fire code officials gradually moved from the traditional firefighter building telephone systems to portable radios, and in response to Recommendation 22 of the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) World Trade Center report.

Recommendation 22: NIST recommended the installation, inspection, and testing of emergency communications systems, radio communications, and associated operating protocols to ensure that the systems and protocols:
  • Are effective for large-scale emergencies in buildings with challenging radio frequency propagation environments; and
  • Can be used to identify, locate, and track emergency responders within indoor building environments and in the field.
Many public safety and fire code officials realized that an effective national standard was needed to ensure uniformity, guarantee effectiveness, and encourage widespread adoption. With that in mind, the International Fire Code has promulgated code provisions.

Section 510 of the 2014 Oregon Fire Code (OFC) is adopted and in applying the provisions outlined in the OFC, Joint Policy Bulletin No. 0002 was developed by the Oregon Fire Chiefs Association, Oregon Fire Marshals Association, and Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal to provide background, advice, and authority in guiding fire code officials in the application of the ERRC provisions.

Additionally, a new Technical Advisory will be out soon to provide formal interpretations and advice in a Q&A format, to answer technical questions surrounding the application of ERRC systems.

For more information, contact OSFM Code Deputy David Mills at 503-934-8204 or
Data Connection
News from the Analytics & Intelligence Unit
by Fire Data Specialist Candice Clark
2016 Oregon Local Fire Agency Profile

The OSFM’s Analytics & Intelligence Unit annually requests information from Oregon’s fire agencies. In addition to ensuring the OSFM has the most accurate and current contact information for each agency, this information also allows us to compile aggregate data on Oregon's fire service, which is often essential to any fire agency seeking grants. Other organizations and agencies from the local to the federal level, as well as agencies from other countries, often seek this aggregated information to advance the role of the fire service.  

The Analytics & Intelligence Unit will be emailing a link to the 2016 Oregon Local Fire Agency Profile on Friday, March 17, 2017. We ask that you use the link to access, complete, and submit your 2016 Oregon Local Fire Agency Profile no later than April 28, 2017.  

Information collected will be used in the 2016 Annual Report Supplement and posted on the OSFM website. This will include:
  • Agency Contact Information
  • Population & Valuation Resources
  • Personnel Resources
  • Staff Contact Information
  • Fire Chief
  • Fire Marshal
To view previous year profile information: Appendix 2 & 3​.

For questions or more information, please contact the Analytics & Intelligence Unit at 503-934-8250 or

Estimating potential harm of hazmat: Parts per million - Part 2
Estimating the potential harm of a hazardous materials release is a key element of the NFPA 472 core competency, Analyzing the Incident. An essential measurement standard to  consider when estimating potential harm is parts per million, or ppm. When collecting hazard and response information about the material(s) released, specifics regarding how the release will affect human beings are often reported in ppm.

One way to cross-reference and calculate this measurement standard is by converting percentage by volume and ppm. For example, a room completely filled with a substance would equal a concentration of 100%. That fully saturated room would also be equivalent to all one million parts in a ppm measurement.

An important conversion to remember is that 1% of a concentration is equal to 10,000 ppm . That is calculated by dividing one million parts by one hundred or 1,000,000 ÷ 100 = 10,000 ppm. Check out this chart for examples of conversions:
Converting percentage by volume is important to calculate when using air monitor instrumentation to estimate potential harm. Many fire service air monitors are configured with sensors to measure standard gases, including oxygen, flammable gas, carbon monoxide, and sometimes hydrogen sulfide gas.

Oxygen concentrations in fresh air should read 20.9%. When concentrations drop below 19.5%, most air monitors are calibrated to alarm notifying personnel that the environment is not safe to enter without an SCBA. Does that mean that a reading of 20.7% is no big deal? Maybe the calibration is just a little bit off? Consider the conversion of percentage to ppm. One tenth of a percent, or 0.1%, equals 1,000 ppm. This means that a reading of 20.7% might indicate that there is 2,000 ppm of another substance displacing oxygen in the environment you are sampling with your air monitor. 

Even with what seems as only 0.2% off of ideal oxygen conditions, there is a possibility that you may be exposed to concentrations of other substances at their immediately dangerous to life and health threshold (IDLH) that is displacing oxygen, including:
Many fire service air monitors are equipped with a flammable gas sensor that is calibrated to pentane or methane gas. Methane, or CH4, has a lower explosive limit (LEL) of 5.0% and an upper explosive limit (UEL) of 15.0%. Converted to PPM by multiplying the percentage by 15,000, the range is therefore 50,000 to 150,000 PPM.

Getting familiar with your agency’s combustible gas meter is important. Some gas meters may have a digital display that will measure combustible gas measurements as low as 0.1% or 1,000 ppm. For concentrations less than that lowest measurement, the meter may give you a false sense that no gas is being detected. Yet, a gas company representative may arrive on a gas leak call with a combustible gas meter that begins to detect gas as low as 0.005% or 50 ppm. Knowing the detectable range of your meter could significantly affect the actions you take at a hazardous materials release.

The OSFM's network of 13 Regional Hazmat Response Teams is equipped with air monitoring and gas detection tools. OSFM’s teams are also a resource for training on fire service air monitors. 

To identify and connect with the team in your service area, contact Hazmat Team Program Coordinator Jamie Kometz at 503-934-8280 or
What's your piece of the pie in the Plan of Cooperation?
The notion that a person’s home or business is theirs alone to maintain or destroy has long since passed. Every fire affects every member of the community through increased costs for government services. It is the goal of the OSFM to work collaboratively with our fire service partners in reducing the effects of fire to each community in Oregon.

The level of fire prevention and fire investigation program services provided in each fire department and district is a local responsibility and choice. The role of the OSFM is to meet our statutory obligations including inspecting institutional and state-licensed facilities, ensuring fire investigations occur, and supporting local fire prevention/investigation programs. The level of support we can provide is determined by evaluating local needs on an individual basis and contrasting that need to the availability of OSFM’s resources.

In November 2016, the OSFM introduced the Plan of Cooperation (POC), a new communication and collaboration tool designed to:
  • Improve our understanding of the capacity of local fire prevention/investigation programs
  • Communicate how the OSFM is able to support the Oregon fire service

The Plan of Cooperation provides a structured framework for conversations with every Oregon fire chief whose jurisdiction is not exempt under ORS 476.030(3) about their local fire prevention/investigation program to determine the support they need from our office, communicate what support we are able to provide, and identify any gaps in services that cannot be provided.

The Plan of Cooperation is not a formal contract for services. It is an agreement in principle on how the OSFM and each non-exempt fire jurisdiction will cooperate in providing fire prevention/investigation program services in their service area.  

The OSFM will use information gathered from these agreements to help make program management decisions and to share with the Oregon fire service to help identify fire prevention and fire investigation program needs statewide. Ultimately, completion of these plans will assist the OSFM in:

  1. Making the best decisions on allocating OSFM resources to support fire prevention and investigation programs and concentrate those resources where there is the greatest need.
  2. Identifying the gaps in prevention/investigation program services and develop plans to fill those gaps.
Currently, we have signed plans with 73 of 316 (23%) Oregon fire departments and districts, the results of which are summarized as follows:

ORS 476.060 Fire Investigation Services
Option 1 – Local fire jurisdiction complete without assistance from the OSFM.
Option 2 – Local fire jurisdiction has limited ability to conduct fire investigations.

Option 3 – Assistance will be needed for fire investigation from the OSFM.

ORS 478.910 Conducting Fire Inspections:
Option 1 – Local fire jurisdiction complete without assistance from the OSFM.
Option 2 – Local fire jurisdiction has limited ability to conduct fire inspections.
Option 3 – Assistance will be needed for fire inspections from the OSFM.

OAR 837-039-110 Local fire code official input on new construction :
Option 1 – Local fire jurisdiction complete without assistance from the OSFM.
Option 2 – Local fire jurisdiction has limited ability to administer and implement fire engineering practices. Limits local jurisdiction from meeting time frames established by local planning and/or building permit authority to provide them application or plan review comment.
Option 3 – The OSFM will provide technical assistance and plans review for above ground flammable and combustible liquid tanks over 1,000 gallon capacity.

Fire Inspection & Investigation Training:
Option 1 – Local fire jurisdiction complete without assistance from the OSFM.
Option 2 – Local fire jurisdiction does not have programs or resources to administer and implement.
The OSFM recognizes that we currently do not have the capacity to meet all of the needs of every local fire department/district in the state. Our office is committed to providing the best fire prevention and investigation program services possible in supporting these local efforts – and to continue improving the availability of those services.   

The Plan of Cooperation Program will be an integral part of identifying where OSFM needs to focus its improvement efforts as we continue to partner with the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST), the Oregon Fire Chiefs Association, and the Oregon Fire Marshals Association to improve the delivery of our fire inspection and investigation services and to ensure Oregon’s fire service personnel are adequately prepared to meet local fire prevention and fire investigation program needs.

For more information, contact Assistant Chief Deputy Michael Trabue at 503-934-8252 or
2017 Oregon SERC/LEPC Conference
The 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

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., March 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
OSFM and DPSST hosting two National Fire Academy classes in June
C lass: NFA F0602 - Shaping the Future
Dates: June 5-6, 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 is designed to assist first and second-level supervisors and Company Officers (COs) in developing knowledge and skills in contemporary approaches to organizational problem-solving. Topics include use of creative approaches to identifying trends within their organizations; applying problem-solving methodologies; the importance and application of continuous improvement within organizations; how to quantify problems and solutions; factors in organizational and individual resistance to change; and strategies for implementing change. The course incorporates facilitated, student-centered methodologies, including lecture, small and large group activities, and individual assessments.

Prerequisites: None

Register online here

If you experience difficulty with the form or the registration process, please contact Rebecca Carroll at: 503-378-2408 or

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 onlineCourse 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
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