The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newspaper Serving the Community since 1988

Public Safety

Placitas Volunteer Fire Department

Village of Placitas roof impaled with two-by-fours hurled by record-
high winds in February.

Placitas Volunteer Fire Brigade honors volunteers, seeks recruits


The Placitas Volunteer Fire Brigade recently sent out flyers on our annual fundraising drive. We are extremely proud and moved by the overwhelming response we have received from our friends and neighbors. The people in our community, by their generous donations, provide us with positive reinforcement that our service to our community is both recognized and appreciated. We hope to receive enough donations to build additional bays at our main station to house the fire equipment that we have in place. We have been fortunate to acquire firefighting equipment to aggressively address any fire that might occur in our district, as well as provide mutual aid to Bernalillo, Algodones, and neighboring pueblos.

The Placitas District just completed an ISO audit which will evaluate our fire department’s ability to respond to structure fires and effectively suppress them. This audit will determine what rating we will be given in the Placitas region and will, if improvement is noted, result in reduced fire insurance rates to residents, as well as an increase in state fire funds distributed to our department.

It is very encouraging when the community provides financial support of the fire department. But we are also in need of volunteers to help with fire and rescue calls. The Placitas Brigade offers recruit classes in April and October of each year and we’re beginning the process for our spring class. No prior experience is necessary, as we provide full training, beginning with a recruit entry-level course. All training and equipment is paid for and provided by the Placitas department. If you are interested in this opportunity to make a valuable contribution to your community, call John Wolf at 771-3788.

Our annual Awards Banquet was recently held, at which we recognized those members who have excelled in their dedicated contribution to serve our community. Recognized as Firefighter of the Year for 2007 was Drew Owens, who was the most active responder, as well as a participant in the most amount of training, thereby keeping his firefighting skills enhanced.

Emergency Medical Technician of the Year was earned by Debby Brinkerhoff. Debby was also very active in her responses and is currently pursuing her intermediate level EMT training.

Other awardees were the top ten responders, Recruit of the Year (Jerry Temple), Chief’s Award for Fire (Sal Gullo), and Chief’s Award for EMT (Sandy Escarcida). Door prizes were graciously donated by many of the merchants in the area who recognize and appreciate the services of our volunteer organization.

Save lives through organ donation

New Mexicans are urged to register as organ donors on their driver’s license or state issued ID card during National “Donate Life” Month in April.

Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) data released for 2008 shows 874,249 or 50.31 percent of New Mexicans registered to be organ donors at MVD, but more donor registrations are needed.

Currently, 98,358 patients are on the national organ waiting list, including 591 New Mexicans who need a life-saving organ transplant.

New Mexican Phil Anaya waited months for a heart transplant last year. “One person’s decision to be an organ donor saved my life. It’s truly a generous life-saving gift I received,” he said. Anaya received his heart transplant in May 2007. “Now I do everything I can to tell people that they, too, can save someone’s life by being an organ donor,” said Anaya.

One donor can save the lives of up to eight people through organ donation and up to fifty more can be helped with eye and tissue donation. As many as eighteen patients die each day in the U.S. awaiting an organ transplant.

“We urge every New Mexican to make a difference and sign up to be an organ donor,” said Patricia Niles, the executive director of New Mexico Donor Services (NMDS).

You don’t have to look far to find someone who has benefited from a generous organ or tissue transplant. In 2007, 28,300 organ transplants and one million tissue transplants were performed in the U.S. Tissue transplants included cornea, tendons, skin, bone, and heart valve surgeries.

NMDS is the federally-designated organ procurement organization serving the citizens of New Mexico. NMDS is a non-profit organization, working closely with the Motor Vehicle Division and partner hospitals throughout New Mexico to provide donation options to families. To learn more about saving lives through organ and tissue donation, visit or call 1-800-843-7672.

Study shows high cost of Albuquerque traffic crashes

A report released by AAA shows that traffic crashes in Albuquerque cost $1.2 billion annually—six times more than the price tag associated with local traffic congestion, according to AAA New Mexico.

The report entitled, “Crashes: What’s the Cost to Society?” reveals that in most areas of the country, the cost of traffic crashes far outweighs the cost of traffic congestion. The cost of crashes includes such items as medical/emergency/police services, property damage, lost productivity, and reduced quality of life.

According to the study, the Albuquerque metropolitan area has annual traffic congestion costs estimated at $200 million—far less than the $1.2 billion cost associated with traffic crashes.

AAA is calling on leaders at all levels of government to focus increased attention on preventing crash deaths and injuries. Reductions to both vehicle crashes and traffic congestion can be achieved by actions such as enhanced traffic law enforcement, improved highway safety, and better management of traffic incidents, said Von Quintus.

The study includes several recommendations to improve safety, including support for a national safety goal of cutting surface transportation fatalities in half by 2025, as recommended by the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission.

For additional information and to download a full copy of the report, visit



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