In the early 1940’s the Onondaga Nation Council of Chiefs decided that there was a need for a fire department to better serve the people of the Nation. But at that time, there wasn’t a Nation revenue source from which to draw from. The Onondaga people then slowly began to raise money through turkey shots, bake sales, 50/50’s and the revenue from the “Green Corn Dance” at the ball field. Through their hard work, in 1950 the Onondaga Nation Volunteer Fire Department was born.
Since that time, the Onondaga Nation has proudly been providing a safety service for the people. In 1970 a new firehouse was erected and the department moved from the old NYA building. Many trucks and equipment have rolled in and out of those firehouse doors over the years and the Onondaga nation is proud to announce a new addition to the department, a new Rescue vehicle.
The Rescue vehicle has been a valuable asset to the Nation’s fire department. In 1950 when Milton “Sam” Babcock Jr. was the first fire chief, they had one vehicle, the fire truck. Our current department has a Fire truck, a tanker, as well as this new rescue. The Nation uses the rescue to respond to all medical emergencies and is often the first vehicle on the scene. The new rescue truck is equipped to handle car accidents, sports injuries, heart attacks, strokes, broken bones, and pregnancy emergencies. In fact, the rescue truck is also dispatched to all fires even if there are no injuries reported, just incase any of the firemen are in need of aid.
On December 22, 2009, the current Fire Chief Ron Shenandoah was thrilled to receive the keys for the new rescue vehicle. With the new vehicle, it ensures that the number of calls they respond to and constant training that they perform will be with a vehicle that it is on up to date equipment; ready to respond to help the people on the Nation our neighbors.
But the old rescue will be put to good use. In the town of Ashland, NY (located in the Catskill mountain range), a fire wiped out their fire department’s trucks and ambulances. In helping out their fellow firefighters the Onondaga Nation Fire Department will be donating the old rescue to Ashland to help them re-build all that they have lost.
This generosity is commonplace amongst firefighters. Sam Babcock recalls back in the early 1950’s when the town of Cedarville donated a tanker to the fledging Onondaga Nation fire department for a dollar and the nation’s appearance in their fireman’s parade. It was a good trade.