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Raton Fire Department covers all the bases

RATON — The firefighters and officers of the Raton Fire Department work hard to keep their community safe. Under the direction of Fire Chief Jim Mathews, 16 firefighters respond to approximately 300 fire calls and 1300 EMS calls a year. They undergo a comprehensive training program to become firefighters. All new firefighters are trained at the New Mexico Fire Academy and must become certified in firefighter 1 and 2, and basic EMT. This is not the end of their training, just the beginning. They are also trained as wildland firefighters and hazardous material technicians. They attend regular in-service training and recertification training which is critical since technology in emergency services is always changing and they must keep their skills up to date. In addition to firefighting, they participate in fire prevention activities, emergency medical service calls, training, and code enforcement. They also service fire hydrants and work on the construction of a new fire station. In addition to responding to structure fires, they

respond to vehicle fires, wildland fires, rescues, hazardous material events and ambulance service calls. Raton covers I-25 for accidents that require extrication ambulance service and fires. Raton Fire Department is part of a mutual aid agreement that gives and receives help when there are major incidents. They once sent a crew to California during a wildfire because of their certification in these fires. In additiona to doing emergency duties, they do code enforcement in local businesses and also preview businesses to learn the layout of the building in the event of a fire and to learn what hazards are there. That information is important if there are hazardous materials on the site. They always have at least one paramedic on duty, so they can respond immediately to provide advanced life support. They also provide transports for people needing treatment or going to appointments at area hospitals. In addition to these duties, the firefighters are building a new fire station that will serve as their main firehouse. The existing station is 100 years old and was used during the time when the department had horses. The Raton Fire Department has an excellent insurance rating due to comprehensive audits by the ISO (insurance services office). They have a rating of 2, which is unprecedented for anything except a few large cities. This rating can lower insurance rates for property owners. The people of Raton should be very proud of their fire department and all the services they provide. These firefighters are ready to respond to emergencies every day of the year.