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      Coalition fights for Air One

      Members of the Onondaga County Fire Coalition gathered today to fight to save the Onondaga County Sheriff's Department Helicopter, Air One.

      Members of the coalition say, for 35 years, Air One has rescued people from lakes, rivers, and forests, and has saved precious minutes for critically injured patients.

      However, in the past, the Onondaga County Legislature has tried to eliminate it from the department's budget, and it could be on the chopping block again.

      "It's an easy mark for the legislators because of its big dollar line item in the budget, and eliminating it would make the job of balancing the budget that much easier," says Gordon Kotars of the Onondaga County Volunteer Firemen's Association.

      Legislators who are considering eliminating Air One say it's just too expensive: $696,000 in the budget. Members of the coalition say it's a necessity, not a luxury. They say Air One was used on 1400 calls last year, and getting rid of it would be a mistake.

      "The worst case scenario potentially could be somebody's death in the time it takes to do things by ground or no access at all," says David Steinberg, President of the Onondaga County Fire Chiefs Association.

      The coalition is asking the public to contact their county legislators about the issue.