Rama Fire Rescue Service

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 History of the Rama Fire Rescue Service

The Rama Fire Service was established in 1966 and is a relatively new fire service compared to some Ontario municipal fire departments which date back over 100-years.  Resources were originally provided by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada and were limited to mainly pumper trucks, some suppression equipment and personal protective clothing.  There was a single pumper housed in a garage attached to the original Community Hall.

Firefighting coverage was also provided to the community by the former Mara Township Fire Department at a cost to Rama.  From the late sixties to the early eighties, there was an average of 10 to 15 calls annually. 

In 1978, the department was organized under the leadership of Rama Fire Chief Mike Noganosh and housed in a 2-bay station attached to the old band office at the corner of Rama Road and Benson Side Road.  Volunteers received some training and a Ladies Auxiliary was formed to help support the department, including fundraising efforts.

In 1995, the department responded to a total of 37 calls, mainly related to fire emergencies.

Casino Rama opened in the community in 1996, creating new demands on the fire service.  It quickly became apparent that a full-time service was required for round the clock response.  After the casino opened, the fire service responded to a total of 372 emergency calls which included auto extrication, ice water rescue and medical emergencies. 

By the end of the nineties, emergency responses had increased to over 1,200 calls per year.  Staffing levels were increased and the department now carried a complement of 33 full-time staff over 4 shifts on a 24-7 basis.

Emphasis was placed on ensuring that every member of the service became a certified firefighter in Ontario.  Training became a key priority.  The service hired a training officer to plan and coordinate courses at the Ontario Fire College in Gravenhurst, emergency management exercises and seasonal drills.

This holds true today as the Rama Fire Rescue Service prides itself for  a commitment to training and professionalism.  It is one of the most highly recognized native fire service in Ontario and Canada.

      Rama First Nation Fire Service Leadership

      Past Fire Chiefs                                                                                     Past Deputy Chiefs

      Mike Noganosh                                    1978 to 1983                   Ken Snache                                 1978 to 1983

      Henry Sawyer, Senior                       1983 to 1988                   Reginald Snache                      1983 to 1985

      Allison Sawyer                                      1988 to 1993                   Allison Sawyer                          1985 to 1988

      Steve Payne                                            1993 to 1999                   James Simcoe - acting          1999 to 2001

      Barry Denne - acting                         1999 to 2001                   Barry Denne                               1993 to 2008

      Mark Pankhurst                                   2001 to 2009                   James Simcoe                            2009 to present

      Mike French                                           2009 to present              Jeremy Parkin                           2009 to present