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RR fire chief: Funding to replace outdated equipment

Paul Bearce

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — I am proud to serve as the fire chief for Rio Rancho Fire Rescue after coming up through the ranks of the department over the past 19 years.

As the fire chief, my focus is assuring that the brave men and women who protect our community have the right tools so they are able to do the job with which they are tasked.

Two years ago, Rio Rancho voters generously and overwhelmingly approved a question on the ballot that secured a general obligation bond to help fund equipment for police officers and firefighters to more effectively answer calls for service. This money helped us replace aging and outdated fire apparatus to help make our fleet more reliable.

Next month, voters will be asked to renew this bond to allow us the opportunity to continue our efforts.

This year, we will focus on maintaining industry standards by placing fire trucks in reserve status after 10 years of service, improving our delivery of emergency medical care and making sure firefighters who respond to emergency incidents have adequate facilities from which they can stage their equipment and trucks.

If approved, the renewed G.O. bond will accomplish the following goals in 2020:

• Replace the ladder truck at Station 5 (Enchanted Hills station). The current truck is over 13 years old and has over 140,000 miles on the odometer.

• Replace the fire engine at Station 7 (Vista Hills station). This truck was purchased used from a dealer over a decade ago and has had mechanical and electrical issues, which reduces the truck’s reliability to respond to calls for service.

• Replace three cardiac monitor/defibrillators on RRFR’s rescue/ambulances. These devices are replacing older models no longer supported by the manufacturer.

• Remodel the living quarters at Station 5. This is the only station remaining of RRFR’s facilities that does not have separate bedrooms for male and female firefighters.

• Fund improvements at Station 1 (Southern Boulevard station). This station was built in 1981 and has many problems with roof leaks and other infrastructure that is aging.

The funding provided by the renewal of the G.O. bond will help keep our department moving forward and ready to answer the calls for service, whether it be a fire, medical emergency or technical rescue incident.

Outfitting firefighters with the necessary resources helps keep your family and the responders safe and helps us follow our department motto of “Protecting Your Family.” The dedication and caring nature of our firefighters makes them the most valuable resource that RRFR has to serve our community and provide for the safety of our citizens.

However, without reliable fire trucks, updated medical equipment or adequate facilities, our personnel may not have the proper tools to effectively and efficiently respond to incidents.

Approval of this bond question would not result in any increase in your property taxes. If not approved, residents would only see a small reduction in their tax bill — an $18 decrease for a $100,000 home.

Visit rrnm.gov/2020election for additional information about the March 3 election.

(Paul Bearce has served as Rio Rancho fire chief since September 2018.)

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