In an effort to standardized training for C.A.A. Emergency Response personnel, the Central Aid Agency has created Responder Levels with specific minimum requirements for each level. The new qualification system establishes clear guidelines for personnel in various types of Emergency Response roles, and creates a framework for training progression while providing a standardized baseline for all related personnel. The new training levels will be fully implemented in 2022 and will coincide with the implementation of two yearly academies (one for basic emergency response, and one for search and rescue) to provide opportunities for personnel to receive the basic training they need to deploy to emergency situations.
Central Aid Agency Executive Director Ben Bower announced today that starting in 2022 new Physical Ability Standards will be implemented effecting personnel in deployable and security roles. The new standards are intended to further bring the Central Aid Agency into alignment with existing state and federal requirements for emergency response personnel, and to ensure C.A.A. personnel are physically able to perform their assigned duties. Personnel will be required to complete an annual walking pack test, or pass the Oregon Physical Abilities Test (ORPAT) within the designated time period to qualify. The standards are tiered and based on personnel assignment and role, personnel engaged in activities requiring greater fitness will have to adhere to a higher Physical Ability Level. The new standards will go into effect in January 2022, and annual testing for deployable personnel will take place during the May or June Sector Meeting each year. The new Physical Ability Standards are available for review below.
While we celebrate Labor Day today, we can't help but look back at a year ago. Labor Day 2020 saw the outbreak of severe wildfires all over Oregon. Here locally the Holiday Farm Fire destroyed whole communities and ravaged the McKenzie river valley. We deployed as part of #LaneCOAD to provide assistance with donations management, and provided security services for a donations center operated by Lane County for those impacted by the fire. #2020 #holidayfarmfire #wildfire #wildfires #oregon #OR #emergencyresponse #lanecounty #emergencymanagement #mckenziestrong
On 8/21/2021 C.A.A. personnel from Emergency Response Force 1, including members of the Rapid Response Team and CERT, helped support the Waldo 100k Ultra Marathon near Willamette Pass. Their assignment was to record racer information and provide ham radio communications for Aid Station 7.
On Tuesday, August 10th 2021 Central Aid Agency Emergency Response personnel were requested to deploy by Lane County Emergency Management to assist with evacuation notices in Oakridge Oregon. The Kwis Fire, part of the larger Middle Fork Complex Fire, was threatening residences and properties on the East/Northeast side of Oakridge. The area had been upgraded to a Level 2 "Be Ready" evacuation status, and personnel from the Central Aid Agency and Lane County Search and Rescue were tasked with going door to door to alert residents and identify any needs should a Level 3 "Go Now" evacuation order be issued.
In response to the new CDC guidance on indoor masking, the Central Aid Agency will again be requiring masks, regardless of vaccine status, in all indoor settings including vehicles. We will continue to monitor the situation and update our guidance accordingly. We are hoping and praying this will only be a temporary step backwards.
With the lifting of all COVID-related restrictions in Oregon, the Central Aid Agency is resuming normal pre-pandemic operations on June 30th. Masks and physical distancing are no longer being required, regardless of vaccine status, but may still be practiced voluntarily. Full in-person operations have also resumed as normal, but meetings will still be broadcast and can be attended online, however in-person attendance is recommended.
After much thought, careful consideration, prayer, and feedback from personnel; the Central Aid Agency has decided to update it's masking requirements to be in line with the guidance from the CDC and State of Oregon. Masks are no longer required to be worn outdoors, as long as physical distancing can be maintained. Those who are fully vaccinated (meaning at least two weeks from their second dose) and have confirmed their vaccine status, may also choose to go maskless indoors if they wish. Anyone who is not vaccinated, or have not confirmed their vaccine status, must still wear a mask indoors or in vehicles during all official activities. To confirm vaccine status, please contact EDir. Ben Bower via email or message.
The Central Aid Agency has made the decision to transition back to in-person activities. With the current risk levels related to COVID-19, coupled with the fact that the majority of Central Aid Agency personnel have been fully vaccinated, the risk has been deemed low enough to restart in-person activities again. Online attendance will still be allowed for meetings and any activities where online attendance is possible. In-person activities will resume with the All Unit Training Exercise on April 24th, and the May Sector 2 Meeting will be the first Sector Meeting that will also be held both in-person and online. Masks are currently still being required for all in-person activities.