June 2019
Published by the Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal
Volunteers Making a Difference
I n April and May, the OSFM was honored to participate in a volunteer-powered initiative that promotes home fire safety with our partners and with Oregonians who want to make a difference in their communities.

In May I joined Eugene Springfield Fire and the American Red Cross Cascades Region in Springfield for the ARC’s Sound the Alarm event. More than 60 volunteers gathered on May 11, to install 450 smoke alarms in local homes. On April 27, Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal Mariana Ruiz-Temple helped kick off the Sound the Alarm event in her home town of Woodburn with the Woodburn Fire District. More than five dozen volunteers fanned out to install 225 free smoke alarms.

During the most recent year, the American Red Cross installed more than 7,100 smoke alarms in more than 2,300 homes in Oregon and Southwest Washington — an initiative supported by the OSFM. This campaign highlights the importance of collaborations and volunteerism in promoting home and fire safety statewide.

Volunteers freely give their time. They include the Oregon Fire District Directors Association, the Special Districts Association, the Oregon Fire Chiefs Association, Oregon Fire Marshals Association, Oregon Volunteer Firefighters Association, Oregon Fire Service Office Administrators Association, the Oregon Fire Instructors Association, and more recently the Governor’s Wildfire Response Council.

Our state is fortunate to have these and all volunteers statewide who commit their expertise, time, and energy to help their neighbors and communities.

I also want to thank our many state and federal partners — including the Oregon Department of Forestry, Oregon Office of Emergency Management, Keep Oregon Green, among many others — who collaborated throughout May to promote Wildfire Awareness Month. Our messaging, shared by our fire service partners locally, has reached many thousands of Oregonians statewide, encouraging them to plan ahead and reduce the risks of wildfire to their homes and property. These collective efforts are helping create more firewise communities.

Finally, I want to acknowledge dedication of our staff and fire service partners in preparing for a fire season that arrived early. The OSFM’s three Incident Management Teams have trained and updated their plans of operation in preparation for any call to mobilization.

As of May 9, the State Fire Defense Board Meeting unanimously approved the 2019 Oregon Fire Service Mobilization Plan. The plan allows a coordinated response of firefighting agencies in Oregon to mobilize and provide fire suppression to structural fires, and it may be used separately from the Conflagration Act to mobilize local structural fire agencies for any emergency situation exceeding local mutual aid resources.

The OSFM and its fire service partners certainly hope for a less busy fire season, but we want all Oregonians to know we are ready. Thanks to all who have done their part to better protect themselves and their communities.

Thanks for all you do.
Oregon State Fire Marshal Jim Walker
Meet Bigfoot: Protector of Wilderness, Friend in Wildfire Prevention
The Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal (OSFM) is proud to announce that a Pacific Northwest legend is joining fire prevention activities statewide, particularly in the wildland urban interface and communities at greatest risk of wildfires and property loss.
The OSFM will be promoting wildfire safety education with its partners, using images of Bigfoot and the hashtag #BelieveInFireSafety.
“Wildfires can easily be ignited by backyard burning, an unattended campfire, a hot car on tall, dry grass, or from dragging tow chains, and they spread fast,” said State Fire Marshal Jim Walker.
“We hope our Bigfoot campaign will draw attention and create a bigger ‘footprint’ of wildfire prevention efforts around the state,” said Walker. “We want people to believe in fire safety, whether you are camping, visiting Oregon, or recreating. We’ve created images and education materials showing Bigfoot outdoors, protecting his wilderness ‘home.’ By preventing wildfires in Bigfoot’s home, we can help residents protect their homes and our communities.”
A first batch of messaging Bigfoot coasters and stickers have already been sent to fire service providers statewide. Based on the popular response to Bigfoot materials to date, the OSFM anticipates many Oregonians will soon be sharing the message to “believe in fire safety.”
Images showing Bigfoot recreating in and enjoying Oregon can be found on the OSFM’s web site . Anyone from the public can download free colorful Bigfoot posters, cellphone and desktop wallpaper images, a full suite of colorful social media images, and even an iconic shirt design.
The images show Bigfoot hiking, fly fishing, four-wheeling, and putting out campfires responsibly. Each Bigfoot image promotes a fire safety message, and all make for perfect materials to share on social media as we head into summer and the 2019 fire season.
Oregon Fire Service partners are encouraged to be creative and share images online and print the materials for events where you engage the public. During the summer, the OSFM will hold a social media contest for a Bigfoot T-shirt giveaway and highlight different Bigfoot images each week.
Alison Lerch Wins the 2019 Golden Sparky Award
The City of Ashland can take pride that one of its own has been recognized for excellence by the Office of State Fire Marshal (OSFM).

Alison Lerch, fire adapted communities coordinator for Ashland Fire & Rescue, was given the 2019 Golden Sparky Award by State Fire Marshal Jim Walker at the Oregon Fire Marshals Association annual conference in Newport on May 16.

The Golden Sparky award recognizes a member of the fire service for outstanding achievement in fire prevention or public fire safety education. The Silver Sparky award recognizes a civilian for outstanding achievement in fire prevention or public fire safety education.

"Lerch’s commitment to promoting fire prevention and education in a community that borders on wildlands is making a difference helping her fellow residents become more firewise and her community more resilient," said Walker. "Lerch’s efforts on behalf of Ashland Fire & Rescue stand out as an example of excellence in community-driven fire prevention."

The Silver Sparky Award was presented in April to Heidi Moawad, former public safety policy advisor to Gov. Kate Brown, who has been appointed to and now serves as judge on the Multnomah County Circuit Court.

The OSFM wants to thank all the contributions of those who were nominated for the annual award. Your work contributes to the safety of Oregonians and their communities.
Mobilization Plan Approved
The 2019 State Fire Defense Board Meeting unanimously approved the 2019 Oregon Fire Service Mobilization Plan for publication at its May 9 meeting in Eugene. Some of the changes made from the previous version include:
  • Language regarding deployment timelines indicates a minimum of seven and a maximum of 14 days mobilized, including limiting personnel swaps prior to seven days unless there are extenuating circumstances. If resources will not be able to stay for seven days due to home agency needs, that conversation should happen between the Fire Defense Board chief and OSFM prior to mobilization.
  • Clarification that resources checking into an incident as “advance life support capable” are operating under the guidance of their local physician advisor.
  • Clarification that assistant strike team leaders must be qualified as single engine bosses.
  • Updated volunteer rates utilizing CPI and tying future rate updates to CPI, with methodology to be reviewed in 2024.
  • Included collapsible rake and ladder (excluding Type 6 engines) in required equipment for engines.
  • New Appendix L: Deployment of Fire Resources Outside of Oregon.
Thank you to those who participated in the initial survey and attended the meeting to help ensure the Mob Plan remains a relevant guidance document. 

Thank you also to the 2019 Mob Plan Committee: Co-Chairs Les Hallman (Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue) and Jack Carriger (Stayton), Lang Johnson (Grants Pass), Scott Magers (Hillsboro), Chad Minter (Coburg), and Larry Wooldridge (Tangent).

The 2019 Oregon Fire Service Mobilization Plan can be found online , or hard copies can be ordered from [email protected]
Fireworks Education and Safety: Spread the Message
This year the OSFM’s fireworks program s taking a new approach to educating and promoting the legal and safe use of fireworks. The campaign will include social media posts, safety videos, information on our web site, and printed materials. Starting in June, we will be sharing our fireworks safety and education materials with our fire service and other partners.

We are encouraging greater public awareness and encouraging partners to share public information with their communities and all Oregonians, particularly using social media and online platforms.

OSFM will be reaching out to the Oregon Fire Service, the Oregon Department of Forestry, the Oregon Humane Society, veterans groups, law enforcement agencies including the Oregon Chiefs of Police Association and the Oregon Sheriff’s Association, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, and state and local media.

OSFM’s fireworks education materials information are available for easy access and downloading on our website . The website also features FAQs for commonly answered questions about the sale and legal use of consumer fireworks, permits for the retail sale of fireworks, and state rules for their use and enforcement activities.

OSFM’s materials will help Oregonians understand what fireworks are legal to use in Oregon without a permit, where they are permitted to be used, and the important safety steps to take when using fireworks.
The 2019 Oregon fireworks retail sales season opens June 23 and runs through July 6.

Remember, officials may seize illegal fireworks and charge offenders with a class B misdemeanor, which could result in a fine of up to $2,500 per violation and a civil penalty of up to $500. Those who misuse fireworks or allow fireworks to cause damage are liable and may be required to pay fire suppression costs or other damage. Parents are also liable for fireworks damage caused by their children. 

Despite their regulated sale and use, fireworks in Oregon represent a public safety and health threat every year. For the last reported five years through 2018, there were 1,264 reported fireworks-related fires in Oregon, resulting in more than $3.5 million in property damage. During that same period, fires resulting from fireworks resulted in one death and 26 injuries. 
LEPC Conference Helps Communities Prepare for Chemical Releases
A local emergency planning committee – or LEPC – is a cooperative of first responders, emergency managers, public health officials, and industry representatives who determine the risk of chemical releases in their community, identify gaps in their ability to respond, and then develop emergency plans and conduct training exercises intended to address those gaps.

In Oregon, the Office of State Fire Marshal (OSFM) facilitates the formation of LEPCs through its responsibility as the State Emergency Response Commission, a designation mandated by federal emergency planning and community right-to-know laws.

LEPCs are considered “emergency planning districts,” and in Oregon each county is a planning district. However, some counties in Oregon have opted to create a multiple-county LEPC, such as the Mid-Valley LEPC that covers both Linn and Benton counties.

Every two years, the OSFM holds an educational conference to bring together LEPC representatives from across Oregon to share ideas and focus on preparing for chemical releases in local communities.

In May, the 2019 Oregon LEPC Conference was held at the Pendleton Convention Center in historic downtown Pendleton.

This year’s conference featured a number of presentations and breakout training sessions, including:

  • Grant writing
  • Building whole community engagement
  • Overview of federal chemical safety agencies
  • Overview of OSFM’s hazardous materials planning and response programs and resources
  • Chemical plume modeling services
  • Highlights of local emergency plans and exercises

Oregon’s LEPC community is rapidly evolving, and the OSFM looks forward to their continued growth and success over the next two years until the 2021 Oregon LEPC Conference.

To learn how to become involved in your community’s LEPC, please contact Terry Wolfe, LEPC coordinator, at 503-934-8245 or [email protected].
Code Corner
By Deputy State Fire Marshal Glenn Geiger 
Addressing Hazards Posed by Some CO2 Systems Used for Beverage Dispensing

Carbonated or fizzy drinks are widely available in many venues, from restaurants and nightclubs, to sports venues and movie cinemas, to nearly every fast-food establishment in Oregon. 
Increasingly, these businesses are converting from traditional steel compressed gas cylinders, which take up valuable floor space and disrupt service when changing, to tanks that store the carbon dioxide at nearly atmospheric pressure. These containers, called “dewars,” are vacuum insulated and maintain the carbon dioxide as a refrigerated liquid, allowing larger quantities to be stored in a much smaller space and without disruption of service.

The same physical properties that make carbon dioxide such an effective fire-extinguishing agent also make it a potentially lethal gas to humans when leaks occur in ample quantities.

Colorless, odorless, and heavier than air, this asphyxiating gas can accumulate in confined spaces and render a person unconscious in just a few moments.

The 2019 Oregon Fire Code section 5307.3 has responded to this hazard by requiring all business owners with dewars holding more than 100 pounds of carbon dioxide to provide one of two options: continuously running ventilation through benefit of a mechanical permit, or having a gas detection system in areas where the gas can accumulate.

The gas detection system shall provide sensors within 12 inches of the floor and make available both a supervisory signal for small leaks and an alarm signal for larger concentrations when evacuation of the building is required.

These gas detection systems for insulated liquid carbon dioxide systems used for beverage dispensing shall be installed and maintained in accordance with all instructions included as part of its listing. An operational permit is required in accordance with Oregon Fire Code Table 105.6.8.
Data Connection
News from the Analytics & Intelligence Unit
by Program Coordinator Kayla Brookshire
Update for Agencies Not Using ImageTrend Elite:
Previously many agencies that used a reporting system other than the state ImageTrend emailed NFIRS files to OSFM data in a .txt or .inc format to be imported into the state records management system. Our unit is transitioning away from this process, and all agencies using a third party vendor will need to directly import their files into the state RMS system beginning July 1 .

In order to successfully import your data, the exported text files from your primary system must be set up with a five-digit FDID (if your FDID is four digits, please add a leading 0, as NFIRS only accepts uploads that follow the five-digit format).

If you need an ImageTrend Elite account set up to import your NFIRS data into the state system, please reach out to [email protected] or call us at (503) 934-8250.

Our Analytics & Intelligence Yammer page has been updated to include an importing "how-to" guide document and QA/QI data report guides.

When to Use Exposure Module:
The NFIRS Complete Reference Guide defines an "exposure" as a fire that results from another fire outside that building/structure/vehicle or a fire that extends to an outside property. For example, if a building fire ignites a car parked outside, the car would be an exposure. The purpose of an exposure number is to identify each separate property type involved in the fire and relate all of the exposures to the basic incident.

If a building has internal fire separations, NFIRS states that you must treat the fire spread from one separation to another as a unique exposure. However, treating multiple ownership of property within a building (e.g., condomini­ums) as exposures, unless separated by fire-rated compartments, is discouraged. Treat similar items in a group as a single exposure (such as a fleet of cars).
The incident number and date for each exposure should be the same as the basic incident. However, additional information should be updated for each new exposure. When reporting an exposure (greater than 0), the number of buildings involved should be 0. Any other value will create an error, as the total number of buildings should be captured in the original incident (exposure number = 0).
Just a reminder, per the NFIRS Complete Reference Guide, NFIRSGram , and p. 102 of the NFIRS Version 5.0 Design Documentation, only fire incident types (100 series) are acceptable for entering exposures.
When to Use the Civilian Fire Casualty Module:
The Civilian Fire Casualty Module is used to report any non-fire department personnel who is injured or killed as a result of a fire, including injuries or deaths from natural or accidental causes sustained while involved in the activities of fire control, attempting rescue, or escaping from the dangers of the fire. Civilians include emergency personnel who are not members of the fire department, such as police officers or utility workers.

Only those civilian casualties that are the result of a fire should be counted in Section H1 of the Basic Module.

 For additional details related to Civilian Fire Casualty Module, see the NFIRSGram article entitled Documenting Casualties on a National Fire Incident Reporting System Report .
Spotlight on OSFM Deputy State Fire Marshals
The Fire and Life Safety Division within the Office of State Fire Marshal (OSFM) assists and coordinates fire investigations, conducts fire and life safety inspections of public buildings and certain state licensed facilities, oversees the storage and use of combustibles, and more.

The OSFM provides these services statewide through its team of Deputy State Fire Marshals (DSFMs). They are located throughout the state, from Klamath Falls to Coos Bay, from Pendleton to Ontario. Collectively, they provide critical support to the Oregon Fire Service and expertise to assist fire agencies while supporting the mission of the OSFM. They are predominantly in the field, regularly working with their local stakeholders and the public to make Oregon safer.

They conduct fire investigations to determine fire origin and cause, and determine if fires were the result of accidents or intentional. DSFMs also deliver presentations of investigation protocols and evidence preservation to members of the fire service statewide. Cooperative training with fire agencies fosters lines of communication and consistent practices among Oregon fire officials.

During fire season, DSFMs are very active and are always in contact with their local fire agencies to evaluate current conditions and provide assistance or technical expertise as needed.

DSFMs conduct statewide inspections of schools and correctional facilities, review building plans, and provide code consultations. They also deliver training on how to conduct fire drills along with the correct use of fire extinguishers at public events such as safety fairs, classes, and other community events.

Starting in July, the Gated Wye will begin profiling DSFMs, highlighting their collaboration with partners statewide. We hope you will get to learn more about who they are, where they are assigned, and their work and successes.
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