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  Public Safety

Captain John Wolf, recruitment program director for Placitas Volunteer Fire Brigade

Peter Rinn is a medical first responder for Placitas Volunteer Fire Brigade

On scene with PVFB

—Captain Tom, Placitas Volunteer Fire Brigade

This month, meet two of our members who are well-trained and contribute on scene but are very valuable for their work “off scene.” It is vital for PVFB to continually recruit new members, and it is also necessary to find and secure funding through donations and grants for supplies and equipment.

Meet Captain John Wolf. John is cross-trained as a Firefighter I and a Medical First Responder and has been with the department for eight years. At the end of his first year, he was named Rookie of the Year. He was recruited by a neighbor and now runs PVFB’s recruiting program. He screens inquiries, meets with potential recruits, answers questions, and sets up classes, usually twice a year. John also does much of the legwork in getting donations from area businesses for the annual PVFB appreciation dinner. He is a master at both of these behind the scene jobs.

John is married to Dawn and they have three children. He was a partner in a large CPA firm in the Washington, D.C. area and now works as Chief Financial Officer for El Pueblo Health Services in Bernalillo. He enjoys walking, hiking, and being a couch potato. When asked what he would like to do when he grows up, John responded that he is doing it. Working for El Pueblo Health Services and volunteering with PVFB is very rewarding for him.

Funniest Call? One of our newer members had been on several snake calls and watched us use the “snake stick” to capture and place the snake in the bucket for transporting. On the next snake call, this member was asked if he would like to capture the snake. Upon saying yes, the chief handed him the snake stick. He took a look at it, and then looked at the snake, and asked for the longer stick. He was told we only had one and this was it.

Meet Peter Rinn. Peter has lived in Placitas for eight years and is married to Barbara Wiley. He was an executive director for various nonprofits and an attorney-at-law and now is a consultant to nonprofits.

Peter is a Medical First Responder and has been with the department for two and a half years. He joined PVFB because it seemed like fun to work with “the big men and their big toys.” But he seriously felt it was his civic responsibility to give back to the community that he was lucky enough to live in, and he had a need to “pay it forward.” He wondered when he joined PVFB if he would be more of a help or a hindrance because of a nerve disorder that he has that weakens his right hand and arm. He was encouraged to train to the level that he felt comfortable with and to the level of his ability. He quickly found he could work around most obstacles (but no burning buildings for him). Although he cannot directly fight fires, he supports our team on the fire scene, drives our vehicles and responds to medical calls. He “encourages anyone who has thought about volunteering with PVFB, but has had second thoughts due to perceived limitations, to come and check us out. Our standards are high but worthwhile to reach for. You might just be surprised what you’re capable of.” Peter has received Rookie of the Year Award in 2009, and the Chief’s EMT Award in 2010. 

Behind the scene, Peter has written and received two grants for PVFB. One was for $30,000 for new radio equipment, and the other, for $100,000, went towards the new $250,000 tender.  Peter has found a valuable niche within the department.

PVFB Fact:  In the first eight months of 2011, we have had 328 calls (143 fire, 185 medical, 31 mutual aid/fire, and six mutual aid/medical calls).

PVFB Reminder: We no longer are allowed to do “snake calls.” If you need a snake removed, call 911, and ask for Animal Control.

PVFB Recruit Class is scheduled to start October 26. Call Captain John Wolf at 771-3788 for more information or to register.

Volunteers needed

— Captain John Wolf, Placitas Volunteer Fire Brigade

To Placitas Residents:

Did you know that Placitas Fire and Emergency Services personnel are all volunteers (with the exception of two paid Sandoval County Medics)? Did you know that the brigade responds to approximately five hundred fire and medical calls each year?

 To meet the increasing demand, we are asking you to consider becoming a member of the brigade. The brigade offers the initial basic training needed to participate safely, effectively, and helpfully in emergency situations. We will be holding our next recruit class starting on Wednesday, October 26. The course runs for approximately forty hours and includes training in CPR, fire-ground safety, hazardous materials awareness, the incident command structure, radio operations, equipment familiarization, and tours of our District and the Dispatch Center. It is held at the main station on weeknights and weekends. The course concludes with a scenario with the other members of the Brigade, at which time, you will be issued your equipment and a pager and will be able to respond to calls.

The recruit class is open to all residents of Placitas and Bernalillo and no previous experience is necessary. After successful completion of the recruit class, additional training opportunities allow members to gain certification as firefighters and emergency medical responders including paramedic. All training is paid for by the brigade. If you are interested in this opportunity to make a difference in your community, call 771-3788 to get more information or to sign up for a one-hour prospective-member session so that you can make an informed decision about joining.

If you would like to help, but are not interested in responding to calls, there is still a place for you in the Brigade. Our auxiliary members help us with monthly rig checks and other administrative duties. They are valuable members of our team. Auxiliary members are not required to attend the recruit class. All that is required is the submission of a Sandoval County Volunteer Employment Application. You can download the Application at our website: Fill it out and call the above number to arrange a pickup. Sandoval County Fire Department performs a background check on all applicants.

Woman Shot from Passing Vehicle

—Sgt. Jessica Mascarenas, Sandoval County Sheriff’s Dept.

A twenty-six-year-old woman was shot during the late hours of September 22, 2011, in Peña Blanca, New Mexico, while walking with her friend.

The victim, Beverly Gallegos, was shot in her upper back. She was taken to St. Vincent’s Hospital in Santa Fe for non-life-threatening injuries from a small caliber weapon.

Gallegos and her forty-eight-year-old friend Sandra Skeen were walking along Highway 22 when a vehicle with several unknown occupants drove past them.

The women heard two loud pops as the vehicle passed at which time Gallegos felt a pain in her upper back and realized she was shot.

Skeen discovered a bullet hole in her sweatshirt, but was not injured.

This incident is being investigated by the Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Investigations Division at 505-867-7521.

Mayor Swisstack and Haven House launch initiative for domestic violence awareness

—Peter Wells

Rio Rancho Mayor Tom Swisstack is partnering for a third year with Haven House, a domestic violence services agency, to support the Purple Ribbon Initiative to raise awareness of domestic violence. Haven House serves adult and child victims of domestic violence by providing emergency shelter plus information, resources and skills that will help them to move away from abusive relationships.

October is national Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and the purple ribbon is the recognized symbol for bringing attention to the issue and showing support for victims and survivors. Mayor Swisstack and Haven House are calling on local businesses, groups, and individuals to participate in the effort by attending events or doing their own projects during October.

Purple Ribbon Initiative 2011 will officially start at 6:00 p.m. on Sept. 28 at the Rio Rancho Governing Body meeting at City Hall, 3200 Civic Center Circle, when Mayor Swisstack reads a proclamation declaring Oct. 2011 as “Purple Ribbon Initiative Month.” Initiative activities will include a candle glow vigil at 7:00 p.m. on Oct. 19 at Haynes Park, 2006 Grande Blvd. The public is invited and encouraged to attend both events.

During October, Mayor Swisstack and Haven House are urging citizens to hold their own purple activities. Suggested activities include holding “wear purple days” at offices, schools, or churches, decorating buildings, doors, fences, offices and cars with purple ribbons, inviting Haven House advocates to speak at events and gatherings, and taking up collections of items for Haven House clients.

For more information on how to participate in Purple Ribbon Initiative 2011, please call Haven House at (505) 896-4869.





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