As part of National History Day, Baseline Middle School students Caylin Jones and Mallory May stopped by SHAES to interview Chief Wise and Fire Firefighter/Fire Inspector Keith Bierhalter about the history for fire codes and the growth of the additional codes from disasters. Julie Shepard who heads up the history day club at Baseline middle school wrote about the experience: “Caylin and Mallory are 7th grade students who are part of the South Haven History Club. Recently the pair competed in the regional competition at WMU with a documentary film concerning conflict and compromise surrounding the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory disaster. They were chosen to move forward to the state competition that will be held at the end of April in Saginaw. Their piece, “The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Disaster: Security over Safety”, concentrates on the lack of fire safety standards and codes at that time, the fire, and the changes that took place for fire safety and inspections. The students wanted to do more in depth research into the impacts this disaster had on today's standards and to see how a station works. They were given wonderful interviews and a tour at the fire department.”
This is a dangerous time of the year because open burning can quickly become out-of-control field fires that endanger nearby property. This is reminder that open burning is not allowed in the City of South Haven and a burn permit is required in all the townships (Casco, Geneva and South Haven) that we serve. Open Burn Permit Information
The acquisition of more than a million dollars worth of equipment highlighted calendar year 2017, according to the Annual Report for South Haven Area Emergency Services. SHAES serves the city of South Haven and the townships of Casco, Geneva and South Haven from three stations.
“Our department continues to be blessed by a supportive community that allows us to provide a very high level of service,” said Chief Ronald Wise.
During the year the department put into service a new Spencer 75-foot ladder truck, 73 self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) in partnership with the Bangor Community Fire Department and received delivery of a Road Rescue 4-wheel drive ambulance. It also partnered with Allegan County in the acquisition of new 800mhz radios, purchased a drone for search and rescue operations, replaced an air compressor and cascade bottles for re-filling the new SCBAs and acquired new sophisticated EMS training equipment.
For the fifth consecutive year the department responded to more than 2,000 calls. The 2,169 responses were the fourth highest in department history. The record was 2,276 in 2016.
There were 611 fire alarm responses and 1,558 medical calls in 2017. There were 997 responses in the city of South Haven, followed by 447 in South Haven township, 414 in Geneva township and 251 in Casco township. SHAES provided mutual aid to other departments on 60 occasions and received assistance 25 times.
Property losses from fire totaled $316,500 compared to $187,745 in 2016. Fire loss in the city of South Haven was $166,000, followed by South Haven and Casco townships at $65,000 each and $20,500 in Geneva township.
There were no civilian fire-related injuries or deaths in 2017. There was one incident in which a firefighter was injured in a training exercise.
The department is comprised of 15 fulltime staff and 37 paid-on-call firefighters. During 2017 the department added a fulltime assistant fire inspector to facilitate an expanded community-wide pre-planning and inspection program.
The department continued its active public education programs with safety presentations to nearly 1,900 people at schools, senior living facilities, businesses and to civic groups. More than 500 children and adults attended the annual Fire Safety Fun Night. SHAES also partnered with the Historical Association of South Haven (SHAES) in designing and installing a state-of-the-art fire detection system at the former Hartman School. Read Annual Report