Looking for a Few Good Men…and Women

Photo taken August 9th as Volunteer Fire Departments and CDF worked together to put out a fire.

Hank Toborg is looking for a few good men and women to donate time and energy to a job that is unpaid, dangerous, adventurous, and often under recognized–being heroes with our local Volunteer Fire Departments.

When Toborg gets called out at three in the morning, he says he never knows whether he’ll be responding to an accident, a fire, or a medical issue.  In the early hours of this Sunday morning, Toburg, jumped out of warm bed into the chill of a dark morning lit by the flashing lights of emergency vehicles. He was there, as he so often is, to assist at the scene of a terrible accident.  This night he and his fellow volunteers helped the CHP with an overturned car containing five people.  The collision was terrible.

“The car was leaking gasoline,” Toborg said, “The jaws of life had to be used on the driver….There were four major injuries.”  Toborg says that some of the victims needed to be treated for hypothermia and shock. The CHP were doing rescue breathing on the driver. Two ambulances were called. The EMT’s were “loading three people in one ambulance.” 

On that night volunteers up and down the Avenue were called out of bed to help.  There were members of the Miranda, Fruitland Ridge, Phillipsville and Myers Flat VFD.  Some directed traffic to keep neighbors safe.  Some did triage and helped the victims.

Toborg explained that “One of the first things we do is triage. The worst off ones get treated first…  Then we stabilize people with neck and back injuries.  We also treat.. for shock and hypothermia. We treat [victims] with emergency blankets…Then we help the ambulance load up. We direct traffic on scene to protect ourselves and the victims.”

At other times, the VFD’s help rescue stranded hikers or help with their neighbors’ medical emergencies.  And, of course, they fight fires.

Photo provided by the Southern Humboldt Technical Rescue team of last January’s daring recovery of stranded hikers. The Shelter Cove VFD worked closely with the team.

Toborg explains, “All the little communities around here…have got [VFD.] There is training available through CDF.  We do training, too, and we outfit the guys and girls…. If you get hold of any of the chiefs, they can direct you to the chief in your area.” 

“The VFD is part of your community,” Toborg says. Next time an emergency happens, you could be there helping your neighbor or your friend. If you would like to volunteer and need help finding the proper person in your area, you can call Toborg at 943-3555.



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