As COVID-19 Cases Increase, Southern Humboldt First Responders Receive Training and Needed Supplies From the Office of Emergency Services

HUmboldt County OES Dropping off a shipment of supplies to Southern Humboldt.

Humboldt County OES dropping off a shipment of supplies to Southern Humboldt. [Photo by Michelle Bushnell]

In the ten days or so since Humboldt County OES divided the county into three sections and distributing equipment to deal with the expected surge of COVID-19 cases, the Southern Humboldt division has hit the ground running even as the number of confirmed positive cases increased from one case countywide on the morning of March 20th to 27 positive cases countywide yesterday evening.

“We’re very happy to be able to supply all of our first responders with N-95 masks and other appropriate COVID-19 equipment,” said Diana Totten, OES’s Southern Humboldt division leader. “Each fire department received an appropriate amount of N-95 masks for what is estimated to be the likely volume of calls each fire department received.”

Totten explained, “Our main goal is to protect our first responders when they do go to a possible call with COVID-19.”

In the little over a week since Totten accepted a position with the Southern Humboldt Division of the Humboldt OES she has been working with the first responders on appropriate techniques to protect them. “In some areas down south, a number of first responders had to be put on leave after being exposed to the disease,” she told us.

In part this was because of lack of training and in part this was because lack of equipment. “A lot of our rural areas are really lacking in equipment,” Totten said. “We [also] wanted everyone to have the same level of understanding of how to respond.”

Humboldt County OES sent boxes of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) throughout the county. “They got us a lot of cool stuff,” Totten said. “Since then we’ve been able to distribute that equipment to a lot our departments from Alderpoint to Petrolia and all points inbetween.”

Totten was pleased to announce, “Southern Humboldt first responders have adequate training and masks for expected volume of calls over the next few weeks.” She said that she’ll be working with first responders to make sure that they are at a high readiness level.

Totten said, “As in any kind of emergency, our community comes together.” She added that Humboldt County OES is “really cohesive group of people.”

She also complimented the community as a whole. “We want to thank our communities for their support…We’ve received local donations of PPE that we could use as well as financial donations to fire departments to buy what they need at this time.”

Totten praised the community for their calm response. “The call volume [for emergency responders] has slowed way down,” she told us. ‘Everyone is taking a deeper breath and being careful. Let’s make sure we keep this awareness going…We’re looking at weeks more of living like we are, so we need to pace ourselves–both the community and first responders. Don’t get complacent and yet don’t be overanxious.”

For Redheaded Blackbelt’s most recent stories about COVID-19, click here.

Want to know what’s up with businesses in SoHum? Click here for the Southern Humboldt Business Directory which notes whether a business is open or closed during the Shelter-in-Place and has links to the businesses most recent information.

Earlier Chapters About Southern Humboldt’s division of OES: 



  • Thanks D!

  • “We’re looking at weeks more of living like we are, so we need to pace ourselves–both the community and first responders. Don’t get complacent and yet don’t be overanxious.”

    Word up.

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