The city of Medford has hired as its first emergency manager a former paramedic and consultant with expertise in earthquakes, hazardous materials, weapons of mass destruction and terrorism.

The city of Medford has hired as its first emergency manager a former paramedic and consultant with expertise in earthquakes, hazardous materials, weapons of mass destruction and terrorism.

Larry Masterman, a 57-year-old Weaverville, Calif., resident, plans to get Medford ready for any disaster, whether it's man-made or Mother Nature, when he starts his job Jan. 2.

"It is a priority for me to be ready," Masterman said. "Day one I will do as much as possible to be ready on day two."

Masterman, who has run his own freelance consulting firm, Preparedness Consulting and Training International, has a broad range of experience as a paramedic, communication specialist, first responder and regional disaster medical specialist.

He was a captain with the San Francisco Department of Public Health in 1989 during the Loma Prieta Earthquake, which caused widespread damage in the San Francisco area.

In April, the City Council set aside $213,800 in its budget to pay for a new emergency manager who will prepare the city in case a major earthquake or other disaster strikes.

The city agreed to pay up to $145,000 for the annual salary and benefits of the new position, plus another $38,300 in materials and services annually. A one-time expense of $30,500 for equipment also is included. The base salary for the position, excluding benefits, ranges from $75,071 to $90,039.

— Damian Mann