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Medford CERT team takes shape

A group of volunteers who would work with emergency service agencies during a disaster and provide help during large community events is taking shape in Medford.

There are still spots left for those who are interested in joining the 25-member group, said Nicolas Petersen, the new Medford Community Emergency Response Team coordinator. Petersen began contracting with the city in September and receives a monthly stipend of  $1,100 funded by federal AmeriCorps and Red Cross grants, he said.

Free training for participants will be from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, Jan. 15-16 and Jan. 22-23, at Medford Fire-Rescue Station No. 6, 3700 Barnett Road; and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 17, at Fire Station No. 4, 2208 Table Rock Road.

An ordinance authorizing acceptance of an $18,180 Oregon Office of Emergency Management grant to help pay for CERT equipment and supplies goes before the Medford City Council next week.

The courses will teach disaster coordination education, basic emergency assistance such as splinting and burn treatments, how to fight small fires, how to provide crowd control and other basic public safety training skills. From the group, CERT officials will recruit people to form a standing team.

"It's basically for anyone who is interested in helping out the community in a disaster," Petersen said. "It's filling up pretty rapidly."

Petersen hopes to debut the team at the Pear Blossom Festival in April. He added the city had a designated CERT team several years ago, but that the venture fizzled quickly and the void was never refilled.

 "I'm treating (this team) as brand new," Petersen said.

An additional series will be offered in late March and early April, Petersen said.

Class participants must be at least 14 years old. They should wear comfortable clothing and shoes. A sturdy pair of work gloves is recommended. To sign up or for more information, contact Petersen by phone at 541-774-2090 or by email at 

Nicolas.Petersen@cityofmedford.org.

Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@mailtribune.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/ryanpfeil.

The email address in this story has been corrected.