Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Wed, Jan. 26

New fire and rescue trucks to help serve and protect communities on Navajo Nation

A new fleet of fire trucks and rescue vehicles was unveiled Dec. 13 in Window Rock, Arizona. (Photo/Office of the President and Vice President)

A new fleet of fire trucks and rescue vehicles was unveiled Dec. 13 in Window Rock, Arizona. (Photo/Office of the President and Vice President)

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — Christmas arrived early for the Navajo Nation Fire Department after they received a fleet of new fire and rescue trucks and equipment that will help to serve and protect Navajo people and communities.

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Division of Public Safety Executive Director Jesse Delmar joined Navajo Nation firefighters in Window Rock, Arizona, Dec. 13 as the new fleet was unveiled.

“The men and women of the Navajo Nation Fire Department are frontline warriors and have saved many lives while putting themselves at risk,” Nez said. “They continue to play a major role in mitigating and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic as well. Under the leadership of Fire Chief Larry Chee and his team, we are now able to provide more efficient equipment to help our firefighters save lives and protect our communities.”

The Navajo Nation Department of Fire and Rescue Services operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to provide fire protection, education and medical services across the Navajo Nation.

In 2018, Navajo Nation Fire Chief Larry Chee and Director Delmar were instrumental in developing a proposal to re-allocate a portion of the Navajo Nation’s tax revenue to provide more resources for the Navajo Nation Fire Department. Eight new trucks were ordered and specially built for the Navajo Nation.

In the past, the fire department had to rely on donated fire response vehicles from outside entities, which required maintenance and additional expenses.

In 2020, the fire department also secured a fleet of seven new fire trucks that are currently in use.

“Under the former administration and the 23rd Navajo Nation Council, legislation was approved to allow the Navajo Nation to use the reallocated tax revenue to improve the Nation’s fire departments, critical emergency response services, and other equipment essential to ensuring life-saving services,” Nez said.

Prior to the passage of the legislation the biggest challenge was inadequate funding for personnel, personnel training, equipment, and community education, according to the president’s office.

“The new trucks will greatly advance the abilities of our department to provide services. These trucks are the most advanced fire apparatus in the country and the Navajo Nation,” said Fire Chief Chee, who was joined by Fire Captain John Williams as they thanked leadership and fellow firefighters for their support and hard work.

According to Chee, the large capacity water tanks, oversized compartments and four-wheel drive capabilities will help take the response of the fire department to new levels.

“Each truck has been custom designed for our department to meet our unique emergency response requirements,” Chee said. “The department still has quite a ways to meet our goals to provide adequate fire protection, but we continue to practice teamwork to make our communities safer.”

Vice President Myron Lizer said the new fire trucks demonstrate how the “Buy Navajo, Buy Local” initiative benefits the Navajo people through tax dollars that are generated.

“The purchase of new equipment is made possible through sales taxes collected when our people ‘Buy Navajo, Buy Local’ and contribute back to our own communities,” he said. “Thanks to past leaders, our first responders are now better equipped and empowered to help our people. We have many emergency calls that occur each day and many times, our firefighters have to respond to areas that have rough terrain and it takes a greater toll. We appreciate the leadership of Fire Chief Chee and all of our past leaders who supported these efforts.”

The new fleet includes two Rosenbauer Avenger Type One pumpers, two Rosenbauer Timberwolf Type Three pumpers, two Rosenbauer mini rescues and two Cascade Type Six brush trucks.

Tuba City and Window Rock Fire Departments will receive the Rosenbauer Avengers, Chinle and Fort Defiance Fire Departments will receive the mini rescues, Ojo Encino and Shiprock Fire Departments will receive the brush trucks and Newcomb and Twin Arrows Fire Department will receive the Rosenbauer Timberwolves.

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