The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newsmagazine Serving the Community since 1989


The Placitas Volunteer Fire Brigade has a new Web site designed pro bono by Placitas designer, Gary W. Priester. Click on to learn about burning advisories, volunteer opportunities, safety practices, contact information, and more.


Fire department awards recognize volunteer medics, firefighters

Bill Diven

Even as the county was launching a full-time fire department, it was recognizing the work of volunteer firefighters and medics.

Sandoval County Fire Department deputy chief and fire marshal Clark “Sparky” Speakman presented the annual awards during the county commission meeting on June 16. Speakman, who is retiring at the end of the year, said he had been assured the awards will continue to recognize the importance of volunteers in the county system.

Speakman presented Firefighter of the Year awards to Zia assistant chief Benny Salas, a dedicated responder and former pueblo governor, and to Placitas assistant chief Drew Owens, a five-year volunteer who has applied his knowledge of contracting to fighting structure fires.

EMT of the Year awards were presented to Placitas Captain Sandy Escarcida, a five-year volunteer known for responding at all hours and establishing rapport with patients, and to Michelle Taylor, who has responded to 90 percent of all calls during her seven years with the La Cueva department.


Fire brigade completing donation drive

Bud Brinkerhoff
Placitas Volunteer Fire Brigade

The Placitas Volunteer Fire Brigade recently put on a blitz donation campaign in which brigade members went door to door in the greater Placitas region handing out fire-prevention information, replacement house numbers, and donation forms. We were able to make contact with about 80 percent of the home owners in our district and drastically improved the address numbering in many areas. We even located a few candidates for future membership consideration with our brigade.

We are continuing the efforts of the Garden Club in getting all house numbers adequately placed to facilitate emergency vehicles finding those in distress during the middle of the night. The red reflective numbers can truly be lifesavers when minutes count. If your residence needs these numbers, please contact a member of the Garden Club or Fire Department and we will made arrangements to get the numbers to you.

We are in the process of finishing up our donation drive. If we missed your house, or you misplaced the donation form, contact us at 867-5080. Any and all donations are greatly appreciated and facilitate our providing the very best service to our community. Thank you for helping us to help you and your neighbors.

Make your check payable to PVFB, Inc. and mail it with your name and address to PVFB, Inc., P.O. Box 567, Placitas, NM 87043. You may also request information on how to become a member. Please include contact information.

As the July 4th celebrations near, remember to be extremely cautious with fireworks. Not only do they provide a significant fire danger but they are the chief cause of burns this time of year. Be safe and call 911 if an emergency arises.


Fire restrictions for Cibola National Forest

The Cibola National Forest, including the Mt. Taylor, Magdalena, Mountainair, and Sandia Ranger Districts, is implementing fire restrictions, which began on June 10.

Cibola National Forest supervisor Nancy Rose explained, “With the recent increase in temperatures, higher winds, continued dry conditions, we feel it is necessary to take these precautions. We want our visitors to be fire safe while enjoying their national forests.”

All areas on the Mt. Taylor, Magdalena, Mountainair, and Sandia Ranger Districts are under the following fire restrictions:

 Campfires, charcoal grills and stove fires are prohibited on national forest lands except in Forest Service developed camp and picnic grounds where grills are provided.

 Pressurized liquid or gas stoves, lanterns, and heaters meeting safety specifications are allowed.

 Smoking is allowed within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter and free of all flammable material.

 As always, fireworks are prohibited on all national forest lands.

For information, call toll-free (877) 864-6985, contact Mark Chavez or Karen Carter, at 505-346-3900, or go to


Consumers urged to test GFCIs

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 411 people were accidentally electrocuted, five hundred were killed, and five thousand were injured in electrical fires during 2001, the last year for which statistics were available. Many of these accidents can, however, be prevented. By taking a few simple precautions, homeowners can create a safer environment for themselves and their families.

Conduct an electrical safety inspection of your home to make sure it is free from obvious electrical safety violations. Look for overloaded circuits, cracked switches and outlets and those that are hot to the touch, frayed or worn electrical cords, improperly rated extension cords, extension cords used for permanent connections, and those that are run under carpet and appliances where they can't be seen or inspected. These are safety hazards that should be corrected immediately.

Make sure that you have GFCIs (ground-fault circuit interrupters) installed in areas where water and electricity are likely to come in contact. These areas include bathrooms, kitchens, garages, pools and spas, and all outdoor areas. GFCIs protect against the risk of ground-fault shock.

All GFCIs should be tested once a month to make sure they are working properly and are protecting you from fatal shock. GFCIs should be tested after installation to make sure they are working properly and protecting the circuit.

To test the receptacle GFCI, first plug a nightlight or lamp into the outlet. The light should be on, then press the "TEST" button on the GFCI. The GFCI's "RESET" button should pop out, and the light should go out.

If the "RESET" button pops out but the light does not go out, the GFCI has been improperly wired. Contact an electrician to correct the wiring errors.

If the "RESET" button does not pop out, the GFC1 is defective and should be replaced.

If the GFCI is functioning properly, and the lamp goes out, press the "RESET" button to restore power to the outlet.

To request a free copy of a pamphlet that further describes how to test a GFCI, call (800) 323-8920. For more electrical safety tips, visit




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