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Parting Words from a Volunteer Firefighter

Marc Kalbaugh holds the shadowbox given to him as a gift from the HLFPD upon retirement.

Marc Kalbaugh retired from the Hauser Lake Volunteer Fire Department in 2019. In a brief speech given at the annual appreciation banquet in March, he shared what being a volunteer has meant to him. Perhaps Marc’s words will help others who are considering volunteering–not just as a firefighter but in any capacity — take the plunge and serve. The following is a transcript of Marc’s speech.

I would like to thank the commissioners, past and present, for all their support throughout the years and for what they do to keep this Department moving forward and outfitted. To the members, we have had some good times but change is hard and for me I must step away. It has taken some time for me to come to this decision and it’s hard for me to make it. To the Auxiliary, some folks say you join the fire department to fight fire, I think I joined because at 3 o’clock in the morning being handed a sandwich, beef jerky, and a beverage means so much.

It has been said that “unselfish and noble actions are the most radiant pages in the biography of our souls.” (~David Thomas, as quoted in Tryon Edwards, A Dictionary of Thoughts, 1891). If you’re looking for a reason to volunteer, for anything, no matter what it is, or for how long, think of the impacts you’ll have on yourself and the people you serve for and with.

Years from now, my fleeting memories will be filled with the experiences that had the greatest impacts on my life. I will look back at my time in the fire service and smile knowing that my service was meaningful. It really has been my honor to serve with all of you and to serve this community.

Though my time has come to an end, let’s not forget why we are here tonight: remembering and celebrating all of you for all that you do in service to this community. From the commissioners to our members’ husbands and wives, the dedication each and every one of you has to this Department, community, and the people you all help every day is truly commendable. Essentially working 24/7, 365 days a year, means sleepless nights and missed meals, taking time away from your own families and their needs to meet the needs of others.

As a fellow firefighter and now as a citizen and member of this community, I would like to take this opportunity to say, thank you for what you do.

To my brothers and sisters who put the wet stuff on the red stuff, I would like to leave you with this from the History of the World’s Greatest Fires: In Greek Mythology, Prometheus was a titan trickster who was said to have defied the gods by giving man fire. The Gods were incensed and Prometheus was sentenced to be bound to a rock to eternal torment for his transgression where each day an eagle would feast on his liver only to have it grow back to be eaten again the next day. Just think, “If Prometheus is worthy of the wrath of heaven for kindling the first fire upon earth, how ought all the gods to honor the men/women who make it their professional business to put it out!” (~John G. Saxe, quoted in George C. Hale, History of the World’s Greatest Fires, 1905)

It has truly been my honor, Thank You.

Marc Kalbaugh served with the Hauser Lake Fire Department from 2008 to 2019.

Emergency? Be Notified!

Sign up to get emergency notifications

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First, visit the Kootenai County Emergency Notification System for Citizens page. This is a free citizen voice and text alert notification service used to contact you during urgent or emergency situations with useful information and updates by sending voice, text or email messages to you. This is for local emergency notifications like an evacuation, school lock down, public health event, etc.

Second, visit the Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security website to sign up for emergency notifications to cell phones from the state on things having to do with weather, firest, etc.

House Number Signs

House number signs may be purchased for only $15 through the HLFD.

Will the fire department, ambulance or sheriff be able to find your house when you need them? Precious time is often lost trying to find the right address. The numbers are small or they might be large enough but, because of color or placement, are hard to see—especially if it is dark, foggy or bad weather.

Address sign available through the HLFD
Identify your home with an address sign.

So that we can find you in an emergency, your address needs to be visible from the street (where your driveway meets the street, if not on the house itself) and if there is more than one home on the driveway, all should be clearly marked. It is wise to have a friend drive by your home at normal speed on a dark night when visibility is bad and tell you what your address is. This exercise can reveal if you need to change something.

To make it easy for homeowners, the Hauser Lake Volunteer Fire Department offers blue address signs, visible throughout the community, at cost—only $15.00 each. The signs are two-sided with 4-inch reflective numbers on a blue reflective background. Call the fire station at 773-1174 to order.

(An added bonus of having a well marked address is that UPS and FedEx can find you to deliver packages too!)

Hydrants and Smoke Detectors Reminder

Help us find the hydrant!

Keeping weeds cut during the spring and summer and shoveling the snow around hydrants during the winter season helps us find and use the fire hydrants when they are needed.

Remember to keep chimneys clean and your smoke detectors working. In the event of a power outage do not run open flame or catalytic heaters without making sure that there is plenty of ventilation. Electric heaters are a safer alternative indoors. If you need assistance changing smoke detector batteries, we will be more than happy to help out.

Remember that smoke detectors should be completely replaced after ten years.

Resource Links

Local Emergency Resources:

 

Community:

Kids:

Education:

County Offices:

  • CountyOffice.org – database of county government offices in the United States. Locate your county assessor, board of elections, chamber of commerce, child support offices, colleges, coroner, courts, and more. (This site was recommended by a member of the public as a one-stop location to find government entities.)

A Tradition of Community Service

This beautiful cast bronze bell serves as an ongoing symbol of the District’s commitment to voluntary community service.

This beautiful cast bronze bell serves as an ongoing symbol of the District’s commitment to voluntary community service.
The bell reads, “Hauser Lake Volunteer Fire Dept, Est 1952”

The HLVFD now proudly displays the beautiful cast bronze bell which serves as an ongoing symbol of the District’s commitment to voluntary community service. It is rung to mark the beginning and end of ceremonies, meetings and other events.

Credits: The bell was purchased with funds from the HLFPD and HLFD Auxiliary. The District is grateful to retired Engineer Ken Birge for the idea and preliminary research. He and retired Captain Scott Weston built the hickory frame housing the bell. The pull is knotted and tied by Chief Larry Simms. The cloth cover (not shown) was made by Auxiliary member Rita Birge.

The District thanks Chips and Sparks Creations of Harpster, Idaho for the engraving.

History of the HLVFD

The Hauser Lake Fire Department was organized in 1952 by residents within the community to provide some means of fire protection for the area.

By Chief Larry Simms

The Hauser Lake Fire Department was organized in 1952 by residents within the community to provide some means of fire protection for the area. The first fire station was a 20- by 14-foot brick building with an oil stove to keep water from freezing inside the station.

The department’s first truck was a 1934 Chevrolet truck with a 500-gallon tank and a small pump on the back. We still own that fire truck and it is displayed in area parades.

The original fire station was hit by a car, which made it unusable so a new pole building was built to serve as the fire station. Part of the project included a community room for groups like the Boy Scouts, 4-H and others to use. That building has had two additions since then to accommodate our growing needs.

In 1975 the Hauser Lake Fire Protection District was officially chartered as a taxing fire district by the state of Idaho. Our District covers approximately 20 square miles of a combination of residential, commercial and urban interface (forest land).

In the years since that first fire truck, we have purchased several vehicles and converted them to the fire service. We have had used utility and ex-military trucks that have been surplused by various government agencies and then modified by our members for use as fire trucks.

The first “true” fire engine we obtained was a 1952 American LaFrance pumper purchased by the Mobbs family and, after three tries, was eventually bought by the fire district. Our current fleet now consists of a 2009 type II ambulance used for medical calls; a 1966 military chassis converted to supply 2000 gal water with a pump; a 2009 Pumper/Tender; a 2001 compressed air foam brush truck; a 2006 Spartan pumper, purchased with a $245,000 grant from the Department of Homeland Security; a 1998 support vehilce; a fire boat obtained through cooperation with the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department; and a 2001 command vehicle.

We currently respond to an average of 175 to 200 emergency calls per year providing emergency medical services, fire suppression, fire prevention, education, inspections, rescue and mutual aid to other departments in the county. Members of our department also participate in countywide emergency planning, coordination and response in the event of a major emergency.

Over the years the Hauser Lake Fire Protection District has been a leader in Kootenai County emergency services. For example, among our members we have one of the original ice rescue trainers in the state, Gary Mobbs, who is also a member of the sheriff dive rescue team. Also, the Neils family manufactures one of the leading gas powered ventilation fans used in firefighting and has several family members involved in the department. Many of our volunteers are leaders in their industries as well as providing training to other firefighters throughout the state.

Our volunteers have helped us to provide a professional service to the community at a very economical cost. In addition we have received over $1,500,000 in grants, for our department and the county, since 2000, helping to keep the tax burden to our residents as low as possible while providing a level of protection equivalent to communities many times our size in both population and budgets.

Live Fire Training, May 2017

Lots of photos were taken during live fire training of the Hauser Lake Volunteer Fire Department in May 2017. Neighboring fire departments also participated.

These first images are taken by and used with permission of Erica Stark. These are copyright 2018 Erica Stark, all rights reserved. Only a few of her photos are shown here. Click here to see all of them on Google Photos.

A second group of images was taken by Joan Rodman. See that album on Google Photos here.

(Both links open in new windows.)