The Northside Signpost Web Edition

An Independent Monthly Newsmagazine Serving the Community since 1989


County line—Honoring our emergency-services volunteers and personnel

Elizabeth Johnson
Sandoval County Commission Chairman

Among the many meaningful lessons learned at the hands of terrorists a year ago is that we are a nation truly blessed with men and women willing to sacrifice whatever is necessary—including their lives—to help neighbors or even strangers in times of need. 

In Sandoval County, too, we have hundreds of men and women who make sacrifices on a daily basis in order to respond to neighbors in times of medical emergency or disaster—even to the point of putting their lives on the line.

Most of us, I’m sure, would consider giving our life to save a child, grandchild, or spouse. We might even make that sacrifice to save a close friend. Our firemen and emergency medical responders, both paid and volunteer, are the people who routinely put their lives on the line to assist neighbors and strangers whom they otherwise would most likely never meet.

About 220 residents currently are on the county roster of emergency volunteers. They make up the thirteen volunteer fire departments throughout Sandoval County and are often the first to respond to emergency situations. The only rewards they receive for their time and skills are the appreciation of county residents and the satisfaction of knowing they are making a difference in many of our lives.

While most emergency personnel are volunteers, especially in rural areas, the city of Rio Rancho has firemen on the payroll. Medical-response personnel working out of Cuba, Bernalillo, Jemez Pueblo and Rio Rancho also draw salaries.

The abilities of those volunteers and paid employees to ease pain and suffering become a lifesaving talent in times of crisis. Their skills in fighting structural and wildland fires are invaluable. All of them, too, embody the heroism and bravery that we witnessed in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington a year ago.

In addition to supporting the county’s volunteer departments with funding, equipment and supplies, Sandoval County provides comprehensive training sessions for residents wishing to volunteer as a fireman or emergency medical technician. Most volunteers, in fact, are cross-trained in firefighting and emergency medical services.

All county emergency volunteers receive a minimum of a hundred hours of training before going on-call twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. In addition to learning basic firefighting techniques, they learn first responder medical training to assess medical conditions, treat minor injuries, administer oxygen, or use heart defibrillators and other vital equipment. 

From the beginning level, county volunteers can increase their skills with training in such specialized areas as dealing with hazardous materials or weapons of mass destruction. They also may advance into intermediate medical treatment to learn the skills necessary to administer first-line cardiac drugs or morphine for pain control.

Local highly-trained personnel who respond quickly to emergency situations make the difference between life and death every day.

For that—the sacrifice of their time and the possible ultimate sacrifice they must be willing to make—we owe them our deepest appreciation. 

Questions or comments for Commissioner Johnson can be mailed to her in care of Sandoval County Administrative Offices, P.O. Box 40, Bernalillo 87004.


Placitas Volunteer Fire Brigade
Recruit Class beings October 10

Daisy Kates
Training Officer

The upcoming entry-level PVFB “Recruit Class” covers the subjects needed to respond safely and effectively to emergency scenes. The PVFB tries to increase its membership twice a year in order to keep up with the demands of our growing community. The Recruit Class provides new members with the skills needed to function as support personnel on both medical and fire emergency calls. Additional training opportunities will be provided for those wanting more advanced certification in both emergency medicine and firefighting.

The schedule is as follows:

  • Thursday, 10/10: Orientation/Introduction, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, 10/19: CPR, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, 10/23: Blood-Borne Pathogens, Incident Command System, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, 10/26: Dispatch/Radio Systems, Hazardous Materials Awareness, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, 10/27: Safety Overview, District Tour, Support Services, etc., 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Joining the Placitas Volunteer Fire Brigade can be an exciting and rewarding addition to your life. For more information and to attend a one-hour “Prospective Member Session,” please call Sal at 771-8898.



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