The funeral service for longtime South Haven firefighter and Veteran Stanley (Stan) Wakild was held on July 29 with full honors. He died July 13. Internment was at Lakeview Cemetery. Stan was part of our department over a span of six decades. He joined in 1965, was promoted to Lieutenant in 1978 and served as Chief beginning in 1989 until his retirement in 1993. He continued to serve as a paid-on-call firefighter and in recent years was a nighttime dispatcher. He was a member of the SHAES Honor Guard. He honorably served his country in the United States Air Force, the Army National Guard and the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and served as Commander of American Legion Post 49.
Visitors to lakeshore communities like South Haven are often unaware of the dangers posed by the inviting water of Lake Michigan.
“Drownings in the Great Lakes, including in the South Haven area, are a grave concern,” said Chief Brandon Hinz of South Haven Area Emergency Services (SHAES). “As we examined ways to prevent future tragedies it became apparent that there is a lack of awareness by the public, especially guests in the community, to the inherent dangers posed by the lake.”
In an effort to educate the public of these dangers, SHAES, in cooperation with Safe Kids Greater South Haven-led by Bronson South Haven Hospital and The Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium, has designed a custom-made Beach Safety place mat for distribution to local businesses, particularly restaurants. Owners of short-term rentals are being encouraged to post it in their rental.
Illustrator Jessica Byers of South Haven created a colorful array of graphics highlighting topics such as beach flag warnings, tips for escaping rip currents, advice about walking on the pier, when to use life jackets and even digging in the sand. On the back of the placemat are water-safety related kids activities. The project was initiated by former SHAES Chief Ron Wise.
“Making sure our children are safe is the top priority of the Safe Kids Coalition in Greater South Haven,” said Dr. Matthew Dommer, chief operating officer and vice president for medical affairs at Bronson Lakeview and South Haven Hospitals. “Because of our commitment to help families and communities prevent childhood injuries this is the perfect public education project for South Haven.”
Copies are available at the South Haven/Van Buren County Convention and Visitors Bureau, 546 Phoenix St., and South Haven Area Chamber of Commerce, 606 Phillips St.
South Haven Area Emergency Services (SHAES) is broadening its ability to respond to water rescue incidents by providing its paid-on-call members with water rescue equipment that stays with the responders all-of-the time.
Thanks to a grant from the Albemarle Corporation of South Haven, nineteen SHAES responders now have a fitted PFD - personalized flotation device (life jacket), helmet and throw-bag containing 50 feet of rope.
SHAES equipment (ambulances, rescue truck, engines) also contain this equipment, but frequently the paid-on-call members who respond from their home or workplace are the first to arrive on an emergency scene.
“Minutes, if not seconds, count in this type of emergency situation,” said Chief Brandon Hinz. “We are grateful for the continuing support of Albemarle as we strive to protect our community to the best of our ability.”
Hinz also thanked former chief Ron Wise who pursued funding for the acquisition.
In recent weeks SHAES staff has been conducting its annual water rescue drills on Lake Michigan and Lake Arvesta. A recent drill included members of the South Haven Police Department whose officers also have PFDs in their patrol cars.
This is a request that we typically make in the dead of winter when the snow is piled high around the fire hydrants in the SHAES area. Please help us now if there is foliage concealing from the street a hydrant where you live. Time is of the essence when we arrive on a fire scene so being able to locate the fire hydrant quickly is of great help. Thank You.
SHAES staff is currently flushing the water system and fire hydrants in the City of South Haven and Casco and South Haven Townships. This process will continue until the all hydrants have been inspected and flushed.
This is necessary to clean particulates and sediment from the system. If you have discolored water at your residence, run the water until it clears and also run your washing machine through one cycle to clear water from the lines and the machine.