Rushford Volunteer Fire Department
P.O. Box 223
8911 Upper Street
Rushford, New York 14777

Phone/Fax: 585-437-2522



It was a late September Saturday afternoon and a local Rushford farmer is scraping some of the mud from the barn yard. The rear wheel of the tractor hits a drain pipe and the farmer is thrown from the tractor. The rear tire runs over the farmer crushing his pelvis and breaking several ribs. The farmer was discovered by the hired man and help was summoned.

The fire department was called and Howard Cline, the undertaker, was called. Not because the farmer was expected to die, but because there was no rescue squad. It was common practice for the local undertakers to also serve as a means of transportation to the hospital when a patient could not be transported by car.

The farmer was transported to Cuba Hospital where he stayed for two weeks before being discharged. He was showing a dramatic improvement. A little over a week after his discharge from the hospital, the farmer started to have problems. He was having trouble breathing. He gasped that he needed to go back to the hospital. The neighbors were called for help. The fire department was called, whose only piece of rescue equipment was a respirator. Again, Howard Cline, the undertaker, was called to transport to the hospital. Doctor Hardy, the local physician, was also called

The farmerís breathing got worse and then stopped. The farmerís son and nephew were Boy Scouts and had learned mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Both of the boys performed artificial respiration on the farmer. Other neighbors were called to try and get help. It didnít work. Dr. Hardy got there about the same time as the fire department. He pronounced the farmer dead. His death was probably the result of a blood clot breaking loose from his pelvis and entering his lungs.

A little over a year after the death of the farmer, several people in town decided it would be in the best interest of the town to form some type of rescue squad to deal with medical emergencies. This was partly due to the death of the farmer and partially due to the fact that the State had banned undertakers from transporting people to the hospital in hearses so there was no longer any way to transport somebody who was seriously injured. Luanne Bump spearheaded the formation of the rescue squad. Thirty to thirty-five people took the Red Cross basic first aid and then the advanced first aid class. These classes were taught by Ralph Alderman. The Rescue Squad was accepted by the Fire Commissioners as a part of the Fire Department and the members of the Rescue Squad were informed of this decision on March 27, 1969. That is the birth date of the Rescue Squad. All members of the rescue squad were accepted into the department and made members of the fire department on that date.

The new members starting a fund raising campaign to get enough money to buy an ambulance The members went house to house asking for donations to buy an ambulance and other needed supplies. By Labor Day, they had enough money to purchase an ambulance, a used Cadillac and they were in business.

Since then, the Rescue Squad has cared for and transported thousand of patients and saved countless lives. They have purchased more advanced equipment and taken advanced training which results in better care and a better chance of patient survival. Although the Rescue Squad is a part of the Fire Department, other than the purchase of a new ambulance, the majority of the expenses are paid for by donations. Very little tax money is used for the day to day operating expenses. This helps keep tax levies down.

Now for the bad news. The Squad started out with 30 - 35 members but that number has now dwindled to only a few active members. Many of these members have jobs out of town. Some of them are in college and some of them are in the military. Many times, too many times, the Squad has to call surrounding towns for mutual aid. This means a longer response time. The Squad simply does not have enough people. The Squad needs to get new members. If you can help, please call the fire hall at 585-437-2522 or send an email to

Getting back to the farmer. Who was he? His name was Frank Bliss. Father of the current fire Chief, Charlie Bliss, brother of Don Bliss, uncle to Denny Bliss, and grandfather of Frank Bliss - all current members of the fire department.

We need your help!!


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