Vernonia Rural Fire Protection District News, Updates and More

Calls responded to September 1-30

Fire 0

Emergency Medical Service 29

Hazardous Condition 4

Service Call 9

Good Intent 3

Severe Weather & Natural Disaster  0

Special Incident   1

No Emergency Found 0

False Alarm 1

Total 47

VRFPD: Salmon Festival

Thank you to all that came out this year to visit and donate to the cause. A total of $325.00 was graciously donated for the future apparatus acquisition. Although we did not have our wood raffle this year, we were happy to bring back our homemade Salmon Chowder and fresh baked artisan rolls. Next to us were our partners from Columbia County Emergency Management. They educated participants on preparedness and handed out information from mapping your neighborhood, to the components of a 72 hour kit.



VRFPD: Time and Money

Time and money. These are things that we all seem to lack. If one is abundant for a moment, the other is scarce. In this day and age it seems that families are cutting every penny to make ends meet. Men and women work full time and some work two jobs just to stay afloat. After making the money to pay the bills, time is spent on household duties, bonding with the kids, school activities and sports. With what time is left, some spend volunteering for local charities and community groups.

Volunteers at VRFPD are required to give up countless hours from the time they are added to the roster. These hours include basic training (145 hours), drill (every Monday night for 2.5 hours), weekend training for any outside classes, driver training (16 hours), Pumper Operator training (40 hours), First Responder training (45 hours), EMT Basic (145 hours), plus any hours spent driving out of district to attend outside training. All these, along with the requirement hours of continuing education, to remain certified.

In the past few installments of the newsletter and newspaper articles we have broached the issue of our aging fleet, which is well beyond what the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) deems appropriate. An apparatus should be moved to second position after ten years, and can be considered as a backup unit after twenty. At twenty-five it should be removed completely from service. Our first out engine is fourteen years old and our oldest responding apparatus is forty years old. It starts and runs, responds to calls and training, but is slow and only a handful of the volunteers can drive it.  It requires much more work for our volunteers than an updated machine would.

One of our officers has been tasked with reevaluating our fleet and how we use it. Can we recycle and up fit what we have to better and more efficiently serve our community? What changes can we make that will save funds in the long run? We are considering all angles and have a plan in the works.

Your current tax dollars provide upkeep for the station and grounds, an office person that keeps the bills paid and accounting in check, apparatus to put fires out, control accidents and generally help people in need. The Fire Chief is tasked with making sure that apparatus respond, personnel is trained, nobody gets injured and the public gets served.

So at this time you might ask, “What does this have to do with time and money?”

We need more volunteers so we can spread the work load more evenly, freeing up more time for those that have worked themselves ragged.  We need funding for apparatus upgrades to make our service to the community more efficient. We need funding to entertain the possibility of one more paid personnel, which will benefit our volunteers, our students, and most importantly, you.

It is our mission to figure out how to make this all possible and continue to grow, serve and protect.

Calls responded to August 1-31

Fire 3

Emergency Medical Service 34

Hazardous Condition 2

Service Call 5

Good Intent 8

Severe Weather & Natural Disaster          4

No Emergency Found 0

False Alarm 0

Total 56

School Back in Session: Be Prepared and Aware

school is open pictureThe 2014-15 school year is underway! With the start of school comes extra foot, car and bus traffic. Be prepared to leave earlier and slow your commute in the morning and afternoon hours. Be aware of children waiting at bus stops, walking along roadways and at crosswalks. Be extra cautious at the crosswalk in front of the fire department, where children are crossing and traffic is turning in/out to access the school. SLOW DOWN when entering this area! If you are approaching or following a school bus, pay attention! School bus drivers will turn on flashing amber lights 100 – 300 feet in advance, to warn traffic that the bus is preparing to stop on the road to load or unload children. Drivers should get ready to stop. Remember that you cannot pass a school bus when the red lights are flashing! Let’s keep our children safe this year! All it takes is awareness and patience!


VRFPD Calls Responded to July 1-31

Fire  2

Emergency Medical Service 25

Hazardous Condition  2

Service Call  6

Good Intent  6

No Emergency Found  0

False Alarm  0

Total 41

Vernonia RFPD Monthly Update

Station and Grounds:
• Several of our volunteers rebuilt and installed the new Fire Danger sign next to the station.
• The district is working on bids to upgrade and install more efficient lighting inside, as well as add some exterior lighting for safety of our responders.
• The red Suburban (previously C450) has been re-numbered U458 and is being used to transport students to class and for response by our duty shift officers.
• The new C450 is a few steps closer to being finished. All the lights have been installed and the wiring is in progress. Construction of a tool mounting system is underway for the rear storage tray.
• Repairs to Water Tender 452 last month included some light bulbs and a transmission filter seal kit. The district is looking to update the filter assembly to ease maintenance and prevent further fluid leak issues.
•  41 total calls for July.
• Volunteer totals are nine active firefighters, three Officers, two Officers in training, two emergency logistics, and one non-emergency logistics.
• Crews attended a day out at Echoing Evergreens Day Camp.
• Crews worked with Metro West personnel through Jamboree.
• The volunteer association held its annual golf benefit at the Vernonia Golf Club.
• The station hosted National Night Out.

VRFPDNightOut2-webDistrict Duties:
• WT452 was one of several Columbia County apparatus’ called in to duty at the Rowena conflagration fire from early August 6th to late August 9th. The task force performed duties from structural triage and burn preparation to front line defense of the advancing flames.

Major Scenes

It doesn’t happen very often, but occasionally we do have major events such as fire, emergency rescue and EMS calls in our area. The problem that we seem to have when one of these events occur is an adequate number of personnel to respond.

On August 9th there was a significant motor vehicle crash on Stoney Pt. Road. This day happened to be one of those days where the only volunteer immediately available for VRFPD was the duty officer. The training kicked in and the officer radioed in for assistance from both Scappoose Fire and Mist-Birkenfeld Fire. A few of our volunteers were able make it to the call with a delay due to their immediate availability, and we also had an off duty Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue Firefighter assist as well.
The extrication, although lengthy, was a success and the patient was transported by Life Flight in stable condition. Given the circumstances, the outcome was a positive one.

VRFPD pays one person to make sure that the trucks can roll, that at least one rescue personnel will respond to the call and to organize the scene. Unavailability is becoming more common among the few fire volunteers that we do have. They are busy working two jobs, attending their children’s activities, taking care of household chores, and spending what little time that they have left over with family.  Their demanding schedules make it difficult, and at times impossible, to stop what they are doing and provide service for another in need. During the week, the majority of the volunteers are out of town. Some have a condensed work week and may have availability to respond some days, if they are not already overwhelmed with the list of things they need to get done when they are home.  But like the majority of the working population in Vernonia, our volunteers don’t return back into town until the evening.

The nine active volunteer firefighters that currently provide service to the community within the Vernonia Rural Fire Protection District, work tirelessly to keep up to date on training, respond to calls and community events, all while trying to maintain a personal life.  Currently, five volunteer duty officers take turns working shifts each weeknight and weekends. With summer in full swing and school rapidly approaching, time for these volunteers gets stretched pretty thin.

The fact is your fire district needs help filling the gaps in response time. With the volunteer’s overflowing schedules, it is evident that there is a need for more personnel. This will better the odds that more than one responder will be available for your emergencies. The time to discuss the importance of the fire department in the community, and how responders can better serve you is now.

2014 Annual Pancake Breakfast

VRFPDPancakeFiretruck-Color-web  This year’s annual volunteer pancake feed has come and gone. We served 159 hungry patrons, who were pleasantly surprised to find out that we were not charging them for their breakfast. We decided to treat our supportive community members as a thank you.

In every aspect, this year’s event was different, from location, to menu, and arrangement. For those that did not make it in to see us, we held the event within our own station. The menu lost a few items from previous years, but gained a new spin with eggs made to order. The buffet line was gone as well. Once inside the apparatus bay, your food order was taken, and you were seated. Food and drinks were served to your table by our fire volunteers and family members. We understand that with change, comes and few kinks to be worked out, but we hope with some minor tweaks in the system we can make an enjoyable experience for all.

While we did not have enough personnel to ensure Firepup was there, we did have fire truck rides, as well as blood pressure checks. Money donated for the firewood raffle will go towards updated wildland firefighting emergency fire shelters. These shelters are required for our personnel when we work on wildland type fires. We currently have two and need to have a total of seven.

At this time, we would like to thank all those that attended, stopped by and dropped off donations. Your continued support and extremely generous donations are greatly appreciated.

Please let us know either by mail, email, phone or even our Facebook page, how you liked the new venue and event as a whole. We will take this information into consideration for next year’s pancake feed.


Harness Buckle Recall Manufacturer: Graco Children’s Products Inc.

Graco Children’s Products, Inc. (Graco) is recalling model year 2009 through 2013 toddler and booster child restraints. Models affected: Toddler Convertible Car Seats: Cozy Cline, Comfort Sport, Classic Ride 50, My Ride 65, My Ride 70, My Ride 65 with Safety Surround, Size4Me 70, My Size 70, Head Wise 70, Smart Seat. Harnessed Booster Seats: Nautilus 3-in-1, Nautilus Elite and Argos.

The alleged defect involves difficulty in unlatching the harness buckle. In some cases, the buckle becomes stuck in a latched condition so that it cannot be opened by depressing the buckle’s release button. It may be difficult to remove the child from the restraint, increasing the risk of injury in the event of a vehicle crash, fire, or other emergency, in which a prompt exit from the vehicle is required.
Graco offers a new and improved replacement harness buckle to affected consumers at no cost. Contact Graco customer service team at 800-345-4109 (Monday through Friday from 9 :00 AM until 5:00 PM) or

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to

The 1.8 million additional seats the safety agency wants recalled are rear-facing models used for infants. They are the Snugride, Snugride 30, Snugride 32, Infant Safe Seat-Step 1, Snugride 35, Tuetonia 35 and Snugride Click Connect 40.