Emergency responders never know what the next 911 call will bring, nor what traumatic circumstances and even peril may await them on scene.
There have been numerous reports, locally and nationwide, on the disturbing Memorial Day weekend events in Red River on May 27. Many lives have been forever changed. An active shooter at a public gathering is among the worst calls that first responders can face.
I would like to spotlight and applaud the prompt and professional efforts of our emergency responders in the Enchanted Circle, most of whom are volunteers. That Saturday there were 18 crew from the Red River Fire Department and EMS squad, and 3 from out of the area who were supporting them. They arrived on scene within 4 minutes after the initial page came in. The first 3 patients were already being transported to Holy Cross Hospital in Taos within 12 minutes.
Several other agencies were actively participating on scene: Questa EMS – 8 crew, 2 ambulances; Taos County EMS – 2 crew, 1 ambulance; Eagle Nest EMS – 2 crew, 1 ambulance; the Taos County Fire Marshal; and one UNM Consortium physician. In addition, over 40 law enforcement were present during the events and long after to ensure that the environment was safe and secure.
One thing many of us don’t think about: Who will respond to new emergencies that may arise while so many core resources are occupied at a major incident? This concern is a prime example of why communication and teamwork are critical components of emergency service. On May 27, all area ambulances were in Red River! Fortunately, other volunteer fire departments (including Latir, Cerro, La Lama, and San Cristobal) were standing by to respond to other events.
The very next weekend on June 3, there was a challenging rescue and recovery at Sheep’s Crossing in Wild Rivers. Initial information was unclear on the exact location of the raft and the condition of the passengers, which heightened the intensity of the call. Ultimately, thanks to excellent intra-district communication, skill, and teamwork, the hardships of this rescue were overcome, the deceased was recovered, and the other passengers were brought to safety.
A total of 23 volunteer fire and EMS personnel responded to this call: Cerro/Questa Fire– 4 crew, Questa EMS – 2 crew, 1 ambulance; Latir – 5 crew, La Lama/San Cristobal – 5 crew, Red River – 6 crew (including their highly trained Ropes Rescue team) along with the Taos County Fire Marshall. Also on site were BLM staff and NM State Police.
Please join me in extending our immense gratitude to all dedicated Enchanted Circle emergency responders, not only for their selfless service during these incidents, but for their readiness to jump into action and give their best every day and every night. It truly does take a village.
Super Service Award!
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I love Bryce Flanagan’s “Bird is the Word” column and also Barbara Tracy’s BODY/MIND/SPIRIT; the Sustainable Living Section is always very enlightening.
Appreciation to the editors, old and new,