The Village of Rhinebeck was settled in 1688 and was incorporated in 1834. The Rhinebeck Fire Department was founded on July 7, 1834 to provide fire protection to the inhabitants of the village.
In 1859 a new Button Hand Pumper, which was named "Pocahontas", was purchased and operated by the village fire department. This early engine was pulled by hand and did not carry any water or hose. The hose was carried on another piece of apparatus called a hose cart. Water was obtained either from the nearby creek or from cisterns located under the roads at street corners. "Pocahontas" is still in working order and is often displayed in parades and other events.
In earlier years there were two separate companies. The H.S. Kipp Hose, and the Relief Hook and Ladder Co. These two companies merged in 1963 to form the Rhinebeck Fire Department. In 1970, the department took in the old Rhinebeck Rescue Squad to continue to provide the citizens of Rhinebeck with ambulance service.
Still to this day, the services of the Rhinebeck Fire Department are provided by 100% volunteer staff. The old 2 bay firehouse was located on West Market Street just west of the Beekman Arms. The current firehouse is located on East Market Street adjacent to the Town and Village Halls.
Today, the department's apparatus consists of 2 Class "A" Pumpers, a 110' Aerial Ladder Truck, and a Rescue Truck equipped with the "Jaws of Life" and air bags for the lifting of heavy objects.
The department operates a BLS ambulance that is certified by New York State. Every piece of apparatus carries an automated external defibrillator (or AED) to help sustain life in the event of heart problems.
The department also operates an ATV to get into hard-to-reach spots such as Ferncliff Forest or Burger Hill, and a utility pickup truck that carries fire police equipment, chainsaws, and traffic cones.
Lastly, the department operates an EMS fly-car to handle additional EMS calls in the fire district when the ambulance is already assigned to an incident. Our department works closely with neighboring departments both near and far to provide mutual aid coverage, ensuring that all of our neighbors are safe at all times, day or night, rain or shine.