The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newsmagazine Serving the Community since 1989


News from the Placitas Fire Brigade

Bud Brinkerhoff
Community Liaison Officer
Placitas Volunteer Fire Brigade

It's fire season again. No, the wildlands are nice and moist, but we've experienced a rash of structure fires.

Thankfully, it was only unusual smoke in the Placitas home we were called out to by a concerned neighbor.

The trailer fire in Algodones wasn't so fortunate, with fire from the stack extending into the ceiling structure. 

At the trailer fire, the fire departments responding had to rely upon the Sandoval sheriff's office to remove friends and neighbors of the residents from the roof of the trailer. 

People need to be reminded that the roof structure of a mobile home will barely support human weight under ideal situations. When fire has weakened that limited support, a truly unsafe condition exists. Trying to fight a fire with an axe and a garden hose from the top of a trailer is just not wise. Please let the trained firefighters do their job, and one of the jobs we'd like to avoid is rescuing well-intentioned bystanders when they fall through the roof. 

Also, anyone installing a fire stack inside a structure needs to use triple wall piping and maintain a safe distance from the sides of the stack to any combustible substance.

The Placitas Fire Brigade had a booth at the recent Placitas Holiday Sale and we successfully handed out over fifty house numbers to Sandoval residents. This worthwhile project, spearheaded by the Garden Club, is truly a lifesaver as it assists emergency-response vehicles in finding your address, even in the middle of the night. Special thanks goes out to the members of the Garden Club for embracing this project. The fire booth was made possible by the volunteer efforts of members John Wolf, Jerry Malloy, Johanna Johanson, Sandy Escarcida, Steve Snider, Charles Schroeder, Duanna Lovato-Mora, and Joanne Thompson. 


Hantavirus fatality confirmed in McKinley County woman

A fatal case of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome has been confirmed in an adult woman from McKinley County. The case was confirmed by testing done at the University of New Mexico's Health Sciences Center and TriCore Reference Laboratories. An environmental investigation of potential exposure sites is being conducted.

New Mexico's last previous case of hantavirus was in a man from Sandoval County in July 2004. The man recovered. The latest hantavirus fatality in New Mexico was in 2000.

“Our sympathies go out to this woman's family at this time,” said Michelle Lujan Grisham, Secretary-designate of the New Mexico Department of Health. “All New Mexicans should be aware of this disease and take precautions to avoid rodents and their droppings. This is especially important at this time of year when the cold weather is causing rodents to seek shelter and food in homes and other buildings.”

The New Mexico Department of Health urges health-care workers and the general public throughout the state to familiarize themselves with hantavirus, especially in people who have been exposed to rodents or their droppings. The virus is excreted in urine, saliva, and feces of rodents, especially the deer mouse, the main reservoir for hantavirus in New Mexico. 

Early symptoms of hantavirus are fever and muscle aches, possibly with chills, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and cough. These symptoms develop within one to six weeks after rodent exposure. Although there is no specific treatment for Hantavirus, chances for recovery are better if medical attention is sought early.

The best preventive measure people can take is to avoid contact with mice and other rodents. Other important steps are:

  • Air out closed-up buildings before entering.
  • Seal up homes and cabins so mice don't get in.
  • Trap mice until they are all gone.
  • Clean up nests and droppings using a disinfectant.
  • Place hay, wood, and compost piles as far as possible from your home.
  • Get rid of trash and junk piles.
  • Don't leave animal food and water where mice can get to them.


NM organ donations are strictly controlled; CO incident not homicide

New Mexico Donor Services is aware of the allegations of homicide by a Colorado coroner regarding the removal of organs from a man at a Grand Junction hospital. Donor Alliance, the donor program serving the state of Colorado, has issued a statement that the declaration of brain death issued by the Grand Junction hospital met acceptable medical criteria, was clearly documented, and was reviewed by three physicians.

New Mexico State Law (NMSA 24-8A-1) requires that an attending physician at the hospital treating the patient make the declaration of brain death according to established medical criteria and guidelines, and that the physician must not be involved in the donation or transplantation process. In addition, the Office of the Medical Investigator must give permission to New Mexico Donor Services to allow for the recovery of organs or tissue for transplant. Unlike Colorado, where the office of coroner is an elected position requiring no medical training or background, New Mexico has a medical-examiner system administered by physicians.

“New Mexicans can be assured that state laws and established medical standards are followed when organ donation is an option, and we hope that the misinformation from Colorado will not have a negative impact on the public’s decision to save lives through organ donation,” stated Patricia Niles, director of New Mexico Donor Services.

Last year there were twenty-five thousand organ transplants in the United States. This year four hundred New Mexicans, among thousands in the U.S., are awaiting the opportunity to receive an organ transplant.


Priority groups for flu vaccination

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Office of Communication

(On October 5, 2004, after Chiron Corporation announced that none of the doses of  influenza vaccine it had produced would be available this year, CDC announced  priority groups for vaccination for the 2004-2005 influenza season:)

  • All children aged six to twenty-three months
  • Adults aged sixty-five years and older
  • Persons aged two to sixty-four years with underlying chronic medical conditions
  • All women who will be pregnant during influenza season
  • Residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities
  • Children six months to eighteen years of age on chronic aspirin therapy
  • Health-care workers with direct patient care, and
  • Out-of-home caregivers and household contacts of children under six months.




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