Sandoval Signpost
An Independent Monthly Newspaper Serving the Community since 1988
  Public Safety

On Scene with PVFB

—Captain Tom

In last month’s Signpost, there was a nice “thank you” concerning the rescue of Elvis, an old, sweet, three-legged 100 pound dog who slid down an arroyo and couldn’t get back up.

There‘s more to the story. . . Annie, the dog sitter, first went to the new fire station on Petroglyph Trail for assistance. The career staff was starting a medical run and couldn’t help at that time. So, a call was made to the nonemergency number, and we were toned out for a dog rescue. Seven responders went to the scene. The rescue was just beginning when the pagers went off for a medical emergency in Placitas. The medically trained responders went to this third call. The rest of us went down the steep hill to rescue Elvis. We decided the best way to get him out was not up the steep hill, but by taking him to the next road to the north, where a Jeep was waiting to take him home. After picking the best route through the cactus, we got about 75 feet from the road, and the pagers went off for a fourth call―a residential fire alarm. We left two volunteers and some civilians to complete Elvis’ journey to the awaiting car. The rest of us hotfooted it back through the arroyo to the service vehicle to respond to the fire alarm call. By this time, another volunteer, Sandy (you met her in March) was back in the area and able to get to the residence first. It turned out to be a malfunctioning smoke alarm. There, you have the whole story―four calls, one on top of the other. When it rains, it pours! 

This month, meet our leaders―Chief Jon R. Tibbetts, Sandoval County Fire Department, and District Chief Humberto Macias, Jr., Sandoval County Fire Department/Placitas Volunteer Fire Brigade.

Chief Jon Tibbetts began his career as an EMT in 1974 in Durango while attending Fort Lewis College. In 1977, he received his B.S. in biological science and his paramedic certificate. He worked for nine years for the San Juan Regional Medical Center as a paramedic supervisor. In 1986, he joined Albuquerque Ambulance as their educational/quality assurance coordinator. By 1997, Jon was operations director, with 200 employees and 100,000 calls. He was also a flight paramedic for Presbyterian Air Ambulance from 1986 to 1993. 

In 2004, he was hired to be chief of Sandoval County Emergency Services Division, with a mandate to improve EMS and patient care transportation in southern Sandoval County. Jon attained all required structural firefighting, hazmat, and wildland firefighting credentials in his first year. The Sandoval County Fire Department was formed in the spring of 2005. In July, it began providing prehospital patient transport services, utilizing 12 career firefighters/paramedics and EMT-Intermediates. The creation of the fire department also brought all nine of the Sandoval County fire districts under the authority of the Sandoval County Fire Administration. The last five years have been devoted to improving our infrastructure and insurance rating through the purchasing/replacement of apparatus, construction of three new fire stations (Torreon, La Jara, and Placitas Petroglyph Trail), and remodeling and updating numerous stations. The next five year strategic plan will work towards growing and developing the volunteer and career members of the department, which will have a heavy emphasis on training, recruitment, and retention.

Jon is married to Constance, and they have two daughters. He enjoys mountain biking, playing golf, and playing Irish music on his violin. He and his wife also enjoy going on cruises to get away and relax. 

I’ve seen Chief Tibbetts on a scene where a pet died in a fire, consoling the family and helping with the burial of the dog. He leads by example, has compassion, and isn’t afraid to get dirty. 

District Chief Humberto Macias, Jr. grew up in Placitas and graduated from Bernalillo High School in 2000. He and his partner, Sandra, have three boys. Humberto III is nine, Ismael Patricio is five, and Esteban Oscar is four. Humberto is the security manager at Santa Ana Star Casino. He enjoys spending time with his family, which is his first priority in life. He wants to watch his children grow up and inspire them to become responsible individuals. As a child, he remembers the fire department coming to Placitas Elementary School during Fire Week and also coming to his house to help his grandfather, who was having medical issues. He specifically remembers the compassion given to his grandfather and his family. Helping others has always been a motivation for Chief Humberto. He joined after seeing an engine at the station and decided he could help his community as a volunteer. In 2002, he received the Rookie of the Year Award. He received the Chief’s Award for Top Responder in 2002 and 2003 and was named Placitas Firefighter of the Year in 2006. In 2009, Humberto was named Sandoval County Firefighter of the Year. Humberto came off the streets with no experience and worked his way up from responder to lieutenant, captain and assistant chief. In November 2010, he was elected by the volunteer membership as the youngest district chief of Placitas. Chief Humberto starts every PVFB meeting with a little talk about being respectful and positive. As a leader, he is doing a great job.

PVFB Fact: It is very dry. Please, NO FIREWORKS this year!

PVFB/SCFD: Making house calls 24/7.





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