Portland Fire and Rescue rolls out revamped protest medic teams - KPTV - FOX 12

Portland Fire and Rescue rolls out revamped protest medic teams

Posted: Updated:
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

In response to protests and riots in the streets of Portland, the city has resumed a service to help anyone injured in the midst of demonstrations. 

Portland Fire and Rescue announced Friday it had trained several medics to be a part of their Rapid Response Team Emergency Medical Technician team. The group will be embedded with the Portland Police Bureau's Rapid Response Team, which is in charge with crowd control during permitted and unpermitted marches and protests in the city.

The specially trained medics will be able to provide care to anyone in need of emergency medical services during these incidents.

This program may sound familiar to some. The city had one in place months ago but took it offline to make improvements.  Officials say they modeled it off others from around the country.

The embedded medics will also wear different uniforms designed to clearly distinguish them from armed PPB officers. 

"Having a program like this ultimately keeps the city of Portland safer," PF&R Lt. Rich Chatman said.

According to a release from Portland Fire and Rescue, the team members have received enhanced training on topics on many issues that could arise during a protest situation, including first amendment rights protest environments, public relations sensitivity, diffusion of highly charged situations, how to interact with law enforcement during protests and privacy rights and civil liberties of people at these events.. 

Advocacy group Empower Portland applauded the move Friday afternoon. The group looks at ways to better the EMS system when it comes to crowd control. They worked with PF&R to come up with changes to the program.

"We're hopeful that Portland can actually be a model going forward," Empower Portland spokesperson Nate Cohen said. "We think the system is one that the fire department is really committed to, it is useful for them it gives them eyes on the ground it gives them somebody who is close if there is a critical injury situation, we think that is really important.”

Cohen said his group is thrilled with the new program but added that they would like to see it go a little bit further.

"So far the training they have gotten is good," Cohen said. "There is more that we would like to see, specifically around some of the social dynamics that are at play, some of the political interests between these groups."

For both groups, the end goal is to keep people safe, even in tense situations that may arise during demonstrations.

“Their goal is to make sure that people are safe, and that is our goal too," Cohen said.

"There was a lot of involvement with the community activists in order to get the product we have right now, and I think we are pretty happy with it," Chatman added.

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

Powered by Frankly
FOX 12
Powered by WorldNow CNN
All content © 2017, KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation, Portland, OR . All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.