Placitas Fire District improved in 2008
—Bud Brinkerhoff, Chief, Placitas Volunteer Fire Brigade
The Placitas Volunteer Fire Brigade experienced some very positive improvements in 2008 which will provide residents of our district with enhanced fire and emergency medical services (EMS) in the upcoming months and years.
In the area of facilities, we have added a two-vehicle garage adjacent to the fire station located on State Road 165. This will allow the placement of two vehicles out of the weather and protected from freezing temperatures. This building was made possible by the generous donations given by members of our Placitas community. We have also performed an aggressive remodeling of our old station, located off Perdiz Canyon Road in Placitas. The leaking roof was replaced by a new metal roof, plumbing damage was repaired, and the electrical service was upgraded to meet current building code requirements. The interior has undergone significant repair, fresh paint, and new thermal pane windows due to be installed shortly.
Additionally, plans are well underway to provide a two-bay addition to the main station which will allow the Brigade the housing necessary to move all our apparatus indoors as well as enhance our equipment storage space. Progress has also been achieved with the planning and design of a third fire station for Placitas, located near the Interstate and providing enhanced response to the Sundance Mesa and Anasazi Trails subdivisions. This station will house two career firefighter/medics assigned to the station twenty-four hours per day, seven days per week.
In the area of apparatus, we have also experienced great improvements. In 2008, we took delivery of a new fire engine which brings our fleet of fire engines to a total of three. We also remounted the rear box of our old rescue unit onto a new 4x4 Ford F-350 chassis, which effectively provided us with a brand new rescue truck to provide EMS response to the community. We also purchased a Ford Expedition to provide us the ability to transport a large number of personnel to emergency scenes and to out-of-district fire and EMS trainings.
During 2008, the Placitas Fire Brigade received a visit by the Insurance Services Office, Inc. (ISO). This national organization evaluates the level of community fire protection within a fire service area. The ratings generated by this organization are used by some insurance companies to determine homeowner fire insurance rates. The ratings are also utilized by the State Fire Marshal in determining the amount of state fire funds which are available to the fire department servicing that community. The ISO inspection resulted in a one-class improvement in the rating for some areas of Placitas. This improvement may result in more favorable fire insurance rates to some of our residents, as well as increased fire funds coming to Placitas in 2009 and beyond.
In 2008, the Placitas Volunteer Fire Brigade experienced a twenty-five percent increase in the number of emergency calls over the previous year. Despite the increase in call volume, the number of residential house fires fell significantly, with no homes lost to fire in the Placitas area. While our wildland fire incidents did increase, most of these fires involved grasses and fields in the surrounding communities and pueblos. The wildland fires that occurred in Placitas and surrounding areas were quickly extinguished, with no loss of adjacent structure(s) or personal property.
The number of EMS calls increased substantially, and was met by a consistent and dedicated response by the professional members of the Brigade and career staff. Several of our members improved their level of EMS licensure with the State of New Mexico, and one of our members, Paige Brown, is currently aggressively pursuing her paramedic license. Those in the community that have needed an EMS response can attest to the timeliness of the response and the competency of all the responders involved.
Since 2005, the Placitas Fire Brigade has been part of the Sandoval County Fire Department. Each emergency call for help received by the Sandoval County Regional Emergency Communication Center is quickly dispatched, generating a professional response by both the Placitas Volunteer Fire Brigade and the career staff from the Sandoval County Fire Department. With the wonderful support of our community and the continued dedication of our volunteer and career staff, Southern Sandoval County continues to be in good hands.
Attorney General investigates government corruption
Attorney General Gary King is assuring New Mexicans that his office is very much involved in investigating corruption by elected officials.
“We get lots of tips about elected officials,” says Attorney General King. “That is why I created our Government Accountability Division. We have been investigating a number of cases having to do with political corruption and our goal is to thoroughly examine each and every one. Ethical and legal considerations, however, prohibit us from publicly discussing these cases until our investigations are completed and dealt with according to the law.”
The Attorney General says publicity about alleged acts of government corruption almost always generates more tips and information that results in a closer look by Attorney General investigators.
“There have been a lot of stories recently about alleged ‘pay-to-play’ schemes,” adds King. “My office is determined to make sure that such dealings are not the way we do business in New Mexico.”