Portland Fire, non-profits working together to prevent hypothermia deaths


The winter weather we've experienced in the past two weeks has proven deadly but the city of Portland is doing all it can to make sure there are no more casualties.

So far this season at least four people have died because of overexposure to sub freezing temperatures. In three of those four cases the victims were homeless.

It's not unusual for first responders to see a spike in the volume of emergency calls they receive each time that temperatures drop.

For that reason, Portland Fire & Rescue has been proactively sending out teams of two to search for people at risk. It's very much a collaborative effort.

Non-profit organizations provide blankets, tarps, hand warmers, and warm meals, while Portland Fire & Rescue serves as the hands and feet of the operation making sure they distribute the goods to those who need it the most.

Michael Dawkins and Jeff Galván are both Fire Inspectors with the Portland Fire Marshalls Office, but on Thursday they'll work delivering life saving supplies to men and women they spot camped out in public spaces.

"Our main focus is the people that are out and don't have any resources or anyway to get anywhere," said Jeff Galvan.

On Thursday, the pair worked from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., because the need is great. During some shifts they get help from City Social Workers who are familiar with many of the people on the street and can help them find their camps.

Together they drive through the night offering people transportation to nearby shelters and the materials they need to stay warm.

Copyright 2017 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.