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 Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (then Indian and Northern Affairs Canada) in the form of 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 indigenous fire services in Ontario and Canada.
Rama First Nation Fire Service Leadership
Past Fire Chiefs
Past Deputy Chiefs
Mike Noganosh (1978 – 1983)
Henry Sawyer, Sr. (1983 – 1988)
Allison Sawyer (1988 – 1993)
Steve Payne (1993 – 1999)
Barry Denne (acting 1999 – 2001)
Mark Pankhurst (2001 – 2009)
Mike French (2009 – 2021)
Jeremy Parkin (2021 to present)
Ken Snache (1978 – 1983)
Reginald Snache (1983 – 1985)
Allison Sawyer (1985 – 1988)
James Simcoe (acting 1999 – 2001)
Barry Denne (1993 – 2008)
James Simcoe (2009 – 2021)
Jeremy Parkin (2009 – 2021)
Rama thanks these past and present leaders for keeping Rama safe and secure.