On Saturday, May 15, the staff of South Haven Area Emergency Services (SHAES) will start its annual program of flying safety flags at city beaches for the summer months with a new emphasis.
This year, in wake of the increase in water-related emergencies a year ago, SHAES and the City of South Haven, are implementing initiatives to better inform the public before heading to the beach, especially on red flag days.
The city's IT staff has developed a text-messaging system that will send alerts to mobile phones when flags are flying red.
“We want people to realize when the lake is too rough long before they arrive at our beaches,” said SHAES executive director Brandon Hinz. “Unfortunately, the lake in its fury is so inviting that many people upon arrival at the beaches tend to disregard the red flags which are intended to signal they must to stay out of the water. We hope this messaging system will cause folks to decide not to head to the beach.”
“There are so many other recreational opportunities in the South Haven area that folks don't need to feel homebound on red flag days,” said City Manager Kate Hosier.
For example, the city opened a family-oriented splash pad near the South Beach last year. Among the numerous playgrounds in the city is the popular Kids Corner which overlooks Lake Michigan. The South Haven area has also become well known for its hiking and biking trails.
To subscribe to the free Beach Flag messaging system, send a text message with the word “Beaches” to 888777.
“In a return message you will receive the current beach flag postings and given the opportunity to sign up to receive messages whenever flags change to red,” said Hinz.
The city's IT staff has also created a QR code that when scanned brings people to the Beach Flag Status website. The QR code will be displayed at local businesses and short-term rental houses, according to Hinz.
Lake Michigan conditions as determined by the National Weather Service are monitored by SHAES personnel. Beach warning flags are raised at the city's seven public beaches every day between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. The flags are changed throughout the day if lake conditions change. The flags are either green, yellow or red based on the conditions.
“Our staff will be monitoring lake conditions more frequently than in the past,” said Hinz. “We encourage the public visiting our beaches to keep an eye on the flags, especially when the lake is wavy.”
A numbering system for the nearby beach flag poles and pier safety boxes has been developed to assist during a time of emergency as a point of reference.
Matt Dey has been chosen by his peers as the SHAES Firefighter of the Year. A member of the department’s paid-on-call staff since 2018, Dey exemplifies through his actions the selfless commitment to community by SHAES responders, according to Chief Brandon Hinz.
Three times during the 2020 summer season he was a key responder during water-rescue responses by the department. Read more about this honor and other SHAES recognitions – http://www.shaes.org/dokuwiki/doku.php?id=public:2021_annual_banquet
Coverage by Moody on the Market – https://www.moodyonthemarket.com/matt-dey-named-firefighter-of-the-year-at-south-haven/
The ability to affect water rescues by South Haven Area Emergency Services (SHAES) responders has been enhanced with the acquisition of a specialized drone.
The purchase was made possible through a generous grant of $7,500 from the Albemarle Foundation. Albermarle Corporation has a plant in South Haven. The Albemarle Foundation is employee-driven and seeks through its grants to make a positive, sustainable impact in the communities where its employees live and work.
Pictured above are SHAES Chief Brandon Hinz and Phillip Kenreich, software engineer at Albermarle Corp. of South Haven. Firefighter Zach Kenreich demonstrates drone in photo below.
The drone is equipped with a payload delivery system that is capable of dropping CO2-charged, water activated flotation devices to swimmers struggling in the water. Operated from the shore, the operator is able to view through a camera the distressed swimmer.
“We are excited to add this drone to our arsenal of water rescue tools for the upcoming summer months,” said SHAES executive director Brandon Hinz.
Last summer SHAES responded to 23 incidents involving people in distress on Lake Michigan. There were three drownings.
The drone is also equipped with an infrared camera that can be used to locate distressed swimmers in the dark. It is also capable of detecting heat signatures for search and rescue efforts in rural areas such as woods and cornfields.
The Albemarle Foundation has been generous to SHAES. Grants in recent years have been used to purchase water rescue equipment for paid-on-call staff and to acquire bicycles outfitted with EMS supplies for quick response in congested areas.
See Fox17 Coverage – https://www.fox17online.com/morning-mix/morning-buzz-april-27 / Moody on the Market reports – https://www.moodyonthemarket.com/new-south-haven-rescue-vehicle-keeps-department-tradition-alive/
Steeped in tradition, South Haven Area Emergency Services (SHAES) is continuing one that started with the founding of the department a quarter of a century ago.
An attention-getting depiction of a cartoon character appears on the department's new heavy duty rescue truck which was delivered in recent days.
Handsomely displayed is the character Yosemite Sam from the 1940s Looney Tunes cartoons. This tradition started at the time of the creation of the SHAES Authority from what had been the South Haven and Casco fire departments. Randy Van Wynen, the SHAES chief at the time, and colleagues Keith Bierhalter and Tony Marsala selected Yosemite Sam. The department secured permission from Warner Brothers to display him for non-commercial purposes. “It's a great tradition that brings smiles to not only the public, but our responders as they go about the serious business of protecting the community,” said SHAES Chief Brandon Hinz.
Working with Bierhalter and Firefighter Brian Montgomery, Paul Russell from Spencer Manufacturing of South Haven created the characterture on the new Rescue One.
Each Yosemite Sam depicts the purpose of the truck. Tanker trucks show him carrying buckets of water. On the engines he is wielding a hose and axe. Shovel and axe are in his hands on grass rigs. The new Rescue shows Sam holding the Jaws-of-Life extrication tool and a haligan tool.
See more pictures of new Rescue One – http://www.shaes.org/dokuwiki/doku.php?id=public:new_2271
The transition from winter to spring means there poses an increasing danger for field fires that can endanger structures. Open burning is not allowed within the city limits. There are requirements for open-burning in the townships. Please review before burning – http://www.shaes.org/dokuwiki/doku.php?id=public:permits
Read MLIVE Story – https://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/2021/02/south-haven-area-emergency-services-to-launch-new-cadet-program.html / WSJM Report – https://www.wsjm.com/2021/02/24/south-haven-area-emergency-service-to-offer-cadet-program/ / Fox17 Report – https://www.fox17online.com/news/local-news/lakeshore/south-haven-area-emergency-services-launches-cadet-program / Moody on the Morning Report – https://www.moodyonthemarket.com/south-haven-emergency-team-offering-cadet-drill-training-for-new-prospects/ See WZZM Story – https://www.wzzm13.com/article/life/one-good-thing/one-good-thing-firefighter-cadet-program/69-585b9507-1ecd-45ec-a91a-8299dc78c202.
South Haven Area Emergency Services (SHAES) in the upcoming months will launch a Cadet program that will introduce participants to the fire fighting and emergency medical service professions.
“We are excited about this new opportunity to serve for the young people in our community,” said SHAES Executive Director Brandon Hinz. “and who doesn’t want to be a firefighter…really?!”
The program is intended to grow the number of people entering the emergency services professions. Cadet prospects will be welcome in the coming months to experience the department first-hand by attending training, respond to emergency calls as an observer, and help at events and fundraisers. Beginning in September, SHAES will sponsor Cadets for the state certifications required to become a firefighter.
“Becoming an active Cadet prior to starting classes will help orient students with the department, it’s equipment and personnel,” said Hinz.
Interested cadet prospects may live outside the SHAES service area which includes the City of South Haven, Casco Township, Geneva Township and South Haven Township.
Cadet prospects under 18 years of age must have a valid driver's license and a signed work permit from their school. Minors will also need a signed parent/guardian permission slip allowing SHAES to conduct background check. The number of cadets will be limited.
Interested persons are invited to contact Chief Hinz – firstname.lastname@example.org.
South Haven Area Emergency Services (SHAES) responded to a record number of calls during 2020 according to the department’s Annual Report. Responses totaled 2,358 compared to 2,171 in 20l9. The previous record had been 2,276 in 2016.
“Our call volume showed a significant increase in medical-related responses,” said executive director Brandon Hinz. “Even with the restrictions and hurdles that had to be endured due to the COVID pandemic, our staff remained committed to providing quality service to our residents and visitors.” Read more – http://www.shaes.org/dokuwiki/doku.php?id=public:2021_review#shaes_has_record_year_in_2020