South Haven showed its sweet tooth, both for baked goods and a good cause, by supporting a neighborhood kids bake sale this past Saturday. On Monday the kids delivered $1,450 to SHAES in support of its fire prevention programs. Pictured from left to right are Kaya Durden, Kaelan Johnson, Keatan Durden and Kamdan Johnson with firefighter Steve Gavadas.
The growing popularity of South Haven as a destination community that draws large crowds for special events gives rise to the challenge for responders who need to render care when an emergency occurs. That concern has led to the acquisition of bikes to be used by SHAES personnel, especially during the busy summer weekends when high traffic areas are difficult to navigate.
The idea for acquiring the bikes came about before the current COVID pandemic which this summer has reduced the number of traditional events and the acquisition of the bikes was slowed because of supply-chain issues.
“We'll use them these remaining summer weeks,” said SHAES Chief Brandon Hinz. “People will see our staff along the beaches or in the downtown area and we'll be ready for 2021 when things return to normal.”
The purchase of the bikes and first aid equipment to be used by the responders was made possible by a grant from the Albemarle Corporation Foundation through its employee philanthropic initiative program. The grant also funded the purchase of water rescue equipment for the department's paid-on-call staff.
The bikes were acquired through Rock 'N' Road Cycle of South Haven.
“We are grateful to owner Scott Zoet and his staff for helping identify the right bike and equipment for this purpose,” said Hinz.
The bikes are equipped with a jump kit that contains first aid equipment to be used until SHAES ambulance personnel arrive at the scene of the emergency.
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.