Crystal Livingstone couldn't do what Fort George Highway Rescue Society volunteers do.
"I cry at commercials," she said with a smile. But the serious situations society members find themselves in every time they go out on a call is no laughing matter.
When someone is trapped in a vehicle outside of city limits, it's not the Prince George fire department that pries open what could easily become their steel coffin to free them.
Fort George Highway Rescue, which has been in operation steadily since 1987, provides volunteer emergency response to motor vehicle incidents and other emergencies year round to areas not otherwise covered by a designated fire or rescue service.
Specializing in getting people out of damaged vehicles, they also provide basic vehicle fire suppression, off-road vehicle rescue, emergency lighting for night operations and back up support for other agencies when required.
Over the past few years the society has attempted to reach out to the community and various levels of government for the support necessary to keep their operation going, but now they fear they're running out of time.
Despite not having the stomach or emotional fortitude to go out on calls, Livingstone, who first got involved with the society professionally as an accountant, is passionate about the society and the idea that it might not be around to potentially save lives makes her just as sick.
"I can't grasp the concept that this wouldn't be there any more," she said.
With a lease on their current hall up in August, the group of 16 volunteer rescuers need to come up with nearly half a million dollars to construct a new home on a property secured at the corner of Foothills Boulevard and 18th Avenue.
Chief Keith Laboucan, who has held the position for the past five years, would love nothing more than for a new building to be his legacy.
But when faced with the pressures of a full-time job in addition to keeping the society up and running and going out on calls, there aren't enough hours in a day to devote to tracking down the necessary funds.
"We have a deadline to meet," he said, "but we can't save ourselves when we're saving you."
The bulk of the society's funding comes through a Regional District of Fraser-Fort George grant-in-aid of $50,000 as well as provincial gaming grants. However, this year Livingstone said a minor paperwork error meant the group only received half of the usual $100,000 it normally counts on from the province.
And while Laboucan said their landlord has been very generous and understanding, they recognize that they need the stability of their own space.
But for that to happen, it's going to have to be an internal community effort, he said.
Although the group operates outside of city limits, according to their 2012 statistics, the majority of calls they respond to involve vehicles registered to Prince George residents (33 per cent). The next largest group of clients lives within the regional district (30 per cent), with those from other parts of the province and out of province accounting for 19 per cent and 18 per cent of calls, respectively.
Money is a big part of keeping the society going, but the group also needs people willing to donate their time and expertise. Those with experience in writing grant proposals or who can sit as board members are in high demand to relieve some of the pressure on the rescue volunteers.
"People get burnt out, they can only do so much," said Livingstone.
The group is also trying to put together a fundraising event and are looking for silent auction items.
Livingstone said she's seen the community rally behind a variety of causes. "Let's help ourselves," she said. "I've seen so many amazing things happen when you ask."
To volunteer with the Fort George Highway Rescue Society, contact Chief Keith Laboucan at 250-562-2501 or visit fortgeorgehighwayrescue.com. Those wanting to make a donation can contact Crystal Livingstone at 250-596-9100.