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An Independent Monthly Newspaper Serving the Community since 1988

  Public Safety

Town of Bernalillo Fire Department gets funding for critical equipment

—Town of Bernalillo

FEMA and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security recently informed Fire and Rescue Chief John Estrada of their approval of the Town application for funding for new equipment to further support the growing emergency response needs of Bernalillo and its adjoining neighbors. The total grant award is $185,594.

The funds will go toward various pieces of critical firefighting equipment which include self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA backpacks) worn by firefighters and others to provide breathable air in dangerous environments. Equally important is its passive alarm system (PASS) that warns fire fighters if the person wearing the SCBA is injured or overcome by gas or other factors. The funds will also help with the purchase of a mobile high pressure breathing air compressor system that produces CGA Grade E breathing air suitable for fire service. This mobile system refills empty SCBAs on site and will be made available to mutual aid firefighting agencies serving neighboring communities. And finally, funds will be applied toward a Public Safety Geographic Information System (GIS) that ultimately brings together the entire department‘s communications and information systems. Location-specific fire and rescue and routing information will be retrieved and/or collected for future emergency calls. Important contact, security, power, hydrant, hazmat, and other essential information for building a response strategy improves with every call. Maximum interoperability is achieved by tying into the central geodatabase in which the Town invested in the first quarter of 2009.

Currently the Town of Bernalillo’s GIS System is the link to the state-wide E911 dispatch center for street and address data. The “geodatabase” approach is essential for improving services to rural areas supported by the Bernalillo Fire Department, including the adjoining pueblos and unincorporated areas like Llanito and Bosque.

The money was granted to Bernalillo, due to the work of Chief Estrada and fire fighter Michaela Montaño, who put together the funding application. It was well-received by FEMA and the proposal was funded to the maximum ninety-five percent of purchase price.

“They (Estrada and Montaño) are both valued members of Bernalillo’s fire department,” said Bernalillo Mayor Patricia Chávez. “Fire fighter Montaño is a volunteer member of the department’s ground support team and is an Emergency Medical Technician, a Physician’s Assistant, and a certified Wild Land Firefighter. After [he] serv[ed] as a volunteer firefighter for over fifteen years, I appointed John Estrada Fire Chief in 2006. Chief Estrada has been instrumental in developing the Town’s present six member full-time department, managing our twenty-two member strong volunteer fire department, and formulating standard operating procedures and service protocol for a blended operation.“

The Town of Bernalillo founded its full-time fire department in 2006. The chief is working in all areas of the department to lower its ISO rating, which in turn lowers insurance rates for community members.

In the picture from left to right are Lavonne Kreykes, Maddy Lewis, Jill Gibbs, and Veronica Skojec. Not in the picture, but part of the group, was Mark Sherkus. —Photo by Tom Hansen.

Fire extinguisher training hosted by District 4 in Placitas

—Sal Gullo, Chief, District 4, Placitas

Sandoval County Fire Department District 4 of Placitas recently worked with a local business to do some fire extinguisher training. Employees of the Clear Cedar Light Company were the most recent graduates of the fire extinguisher class of September 2009. Fire Captain Tom Hansen, Fire Lieutenant Alejandro Gurule, and Firefighters Ross Phillips and George Dahl presented the training.

The catch phrase for operating a fire extinguisher is “PASS,” meaning ‘Pull the pin, Aim at the base of the fire, Squeeze the handle or trigger, and Sweep the extinguisher slowly from left to right.‘ This is an easy phrase to remember and should be shared with friends and family.

We were glad to be able to bring such training to our community. If your group or organization is in need of similar training, please call us and we will do our best to develop a presentation that will fit your needs. Please leave a message on our fire station phone at (505) 867-5080.

Learn how to be fire safe, and don’t get burned!






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