Siskiyou, South County, Yreka

Fire Departments Trains in Large Animal Rescues

Being in the rural county of Siskiyou, our fire departments must be always ready for just about anything. That’s why the McCloud Fire Department hosted a California State Fire Marshal’s Office Technical Animal Rescue class the weekend of June 2, 3, & 4.

The essential rescue training was not only attended by firefighters from McCloud, Hornbrook, and South Yreka Fire Departments but also by veterinarian Amy Fousek of Siskiyou Veterinarian Large Animal Mobile Service out of Montague and her assistant Shannon. 

The class started at the McCloud Fire Departments Station 17 for a classroom session, the rest of the certified 3-day course was held at the McCloud Millworks Inc. property where firefighters and other responders learned basic technical skills for rescuing large animals like horses, cattle, or mules from vehicle accidents, trailer rollovers, or animals getting stuck in the mud. 

Director and founder of the international organization called the Halter Project, Julie Atwood, along with instructors Loyde Johnson and Fire Captain Gary Johnson from ResQFast, all from Sonoma County, brought life-size horse mannequins to use in the training. 

Learning the sensitivity of large animals in situations, their danger zones, and how to eliminate movements during a controlled roll or drag of a large animal in peril is essential for emergency responders. A large amount of equipment is also needed and the Halter Project is donating all the rescue equipment for these needs to the McCloud Fire and other departments in the county.

80% of the Halter Project, founded in 2013, along with ResQFast are spent on outreach training. They also provide disaster planning, and evacuation preparation, resources, scholarships, and educational videos on YouTube.  For more information on Halter Project, go to For more information on ResQFast and the training that they provide, go to

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  1. Joyce Axilrod

    Very informative article and excellent photos.

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