Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newspaper Serving the Community since 1988

  Public Safety

Firefighter’s Day at the State Fair and October “Fire Safety Month”

—Sal Gullo, Chief District 4, Sandoval County Fire Department

Sandoval County Fire Department District 4 of Placitas attended the State Fair for Firefighter’s Day. Six of our members took part in the annual event to be recognized, as well as to interact with the youngsters that came by to see us.

We expressed to our child visitors the importance of not playing with matches, of getting into car seats as they should, the importance of having an “Emergency Escape Plan” to safely get out of their homes, and the importance of learning the “Emergency Phone Number, 911” to call to get help.

In other news, October 4th through the 10th is Fire Prevention Week. The theme this year is “Stay Fire Smart! Don’t Get Burned.” We will be having an open house at the Sandoval County Fire Station 41 in Placitas at 463 Highway 165 on Sunday, October 4th from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. to kick off this important week. Come and visit with our firefighters and EMS volunteers. You will also be able to check out our fire trucks, and maybe even sound the sirens!

Here are a few safety suggestions that we would like to pass on to you:

  • Change your smoke detector batteries when you change your clock’s time for the fall and spring.
  • Check the smoke detector monthly by pressing the test button.
  • Be sure that the extension cords you use are in good condition.
  • Be careful in the kitchen; most home fires start while cooking. Severe burns can result from hot cooking oil or hot water.
  • Use caution operating portable heaters. Keep them at least three feet from anything that may catch fire and burn.
  • Have your chimney cleaned before this heating season.

Sandoval County to Build Regional Fire Station

Sandoval County, in partnership with the Pueblo of Santa Ana, will begin construction “as quickly as possible” on a $3 million regional fire station to provide critically needed services to one of the New Mexico’s fastest growing areas.

The County has received notice from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security of approval of a 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant for $2.7 million for the station’s construction. The federal funding will be matched with $365,000 approved by the New Mexico Legislature in 2008 for planning, design and site development of the regional station. 

The station will be located on Santa Ana Pueblo just north of the intersection of U.S. 550 and NM 528. It will provide needed fire and EMS service to all of Southern Sandoval County, including the pueblos of Santa Ana, San Felipe and Zia, the Town of Bernalillo and the US 550 and NM 528 Corridors. Additionally, the station will assist the City of Rio Rancho’s fire and DPS staffs.

“We certainly appreciate the work by our State’s congressional delegation to help secure the grant,” said County Commission Chairman Don E. Leonard. “The plans have been completed and the project is shovel-ready. We will go out to bid once we receive the go-ahead from Homeland Security.”

“We intend to complete construction by fall, 2010 and have the new station available to serve residents across our region as quickly as possible,” Leonard said.

The 12,000-square-foot station will be fully staffed 24 hours daily, seven days a week by paid professional firefighters/paramedics and volunteers.

Jon Tibbetts, Chief of the Sandoval County Fire Department and the County’s Fire/EMS Division Director, said the station also will provide living quarters for participants in a fire residency program that Sandoval County will implement. The program will provide housing for students completing college degrees in fire science in exchange for their assistance to fire and EMS responses.

 “Currently, fire and EMS protection in much of the County consists of volunteers, with the more densely populated areas of Santa Ana Pueblo and surrounding communities being served by the Algodones Volunteer Fire District, Placitas Fire District and career personnel,” Tibbetts said.

Sandoval County’s Fire Department has 17 regional stations. The department includes 211 volunteer fire firefighters, 12 paid firefighters who are cross trained as EMT paramedics and EMT intermediates, nine part-time firefighters and a command staff of five.          

The County will open a fire station in October near La Jara and will break ground in a few weeks on its I-25 Regional Fire Station in the Placitas area northeast of NM 165 and Interstate 25.






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