This page highlights in photos the activities of South Haven Area Emergency Services (SHAES) during 2016. At the bottom of this page is a news archive for the current year. When you click on a photo it will enlarge.
South Haven Emergency Services (SHAES) responded to a record number of incidents during calendar year 2016, according to Executive Director Ronald Wise.
SHAES serves the city of South Haven and the townships of Casco, Geneva and South Haven from three stations.
The department responded to 2,276 calls for service during 2016. The previous record was 2,213 calls in 2014. It marked the fourth consecutive year that calls for service surpassed 2,000.
“Our department is blessed to have dedicated women and men who are committed to enhancing community safety and quality of life for our residents and visitors,” said Wise.
There were 556 fire alarm responses and 1,720 medical calls. There were 1,157 in the city of South Haven followed by South Haven township 464, Geneva township 329 and Casco township 269. SHAES provided assistance to departments outside its service area 57 times and received assistance 23 times.
Chief Wise noted that there was not a single structure fire in Geneva township during 2016. Property losses from fire in Casco township totaled $140,500, in South Haven township $45,245 and the city of South Haven $2,000.
There were no civilian fire-related injuries or deaths during 2016. There were three incidents in which a firefighter was injured.
Highlights of the year included an improved ISO rating that will help lower fire insurance costs, the purchase of a 75-foot aerial apparatus that will be delivered in 2017 and the receipt of a $400,853 federal Assistance to Firefighters grant for the replacement of breathing apparatus at both SHAES and the Bangor Community Fire Department. The department also put into service a 2003 engine purchased from the Bangor Community Fire Department, replacing a 1980 engine.
The department continued its active public education programs during the year with safety presentations at schools, senior living facilities and businesses. The annual Fire Safety Night attracted more than 500 adults and children. In cooperation with the American Red Cross, smoke detectors were installed for free in homes throughout the SHAES Authority.
The SHAES response and heroics of passersby to a flaming gas tanker fire on Interstate 196 gained significant media attention the week of Thanksgiving.
South Haven Area Emergency Services would like to thank the Albemarle Foundation, Albemarle Corporation and all of the company's dedicated employees for a very generous donation of $7,000. The money will be used towards a new breathing air compressor that will fill the department's self-contained breathing air bottles. The donation will help assure that our firefighters have safe and dependable breathing air which will benefit our community and firefighter safety for years to come.
A reunion of sorts occurred Wednesday, Oct. 12 when SHAES firefighters visited a classroom at the North Shore Elementary school. They were “welcomed” by Harold the iguana, the very same iguana that SHAES staff rescued from a tree back on August 23. Harold had been on the lamb for seven weeks after escaping from its cage at the home of South Haven school teacher Becky Linstrom. Harold is a regular in Ms. Linstrom's classroom during the school year. He has regained weight and except for a toe lost during the summer ordeal is doing well. Ms. Linstrom is pictured with SHAES firefighters Paul Quinn and Brian Montgomery.
The annual SHAES initiative of bringing a fire safety message to school children and community has concluded. SHAES members were in the classrooms of early elementary children during Fire Prevention Week and the 13th annual Fire Safety Night was a success.
Thank You Sponsors– Rotary Club of South Haven…Mark Sobor MD…Filbrandt Family Funeral Home…Whiteford Wealth Management Inc….1st Choice Marine Inc….South Haven Steelheaders…Cafe Julia…Brix Corner Oven…Slip Slide LLC… Rapa Development, LLC…Carpet One…McFadden Friendly Motors…American Twisting…New Covert Generating…North Shore Pest Control…South Haven Moose Lodge #697…South Haven Insurance Services…Chemical Bank…South Haven Family Physicians…Meijer…Kiwanis Club of South Haven
South Haven Area Emergency Services (SHAES) is proud to report that the Insurance Service Office (ISO) has upgraded its protection rating of the area served by the fire department effective October 1.
ISO, through its Public Protection Classification Program (PPC), issues ratings to fire departments throughout the country based on the effectiveness of their protection services. The ISO rating is a numerical grading system and is one of the primary elements used by the insurance industry to develop premium rates for residential and commercial businesses. It analyzes data using a Fire Suppression Rating Schedule (FSRS) and then assigns a Public Protection Classification from 1 (the best) to 10.
ISO has rated the area protected by SHAES a Class 4/6. The district’s previous rating established in 2004 was 4/7.
“The program provides an objective, countrywide standard that assists fire departments in planning and budgeting for facilities, equipment and training,” said Ronald Wise, SHAES Executive Director. “By securing lower fire insurance premiums for communities with better public protection, the PPC program provides incentives and rewards for communities that choose to improve their firefighting services.”
Many communities like South Haven receive a split classification based on the distance of properties from a fire station and fire hydrants.
Following is the criteria for each category:
Class 4 - Applies to properties within five road miles of a fire station and within 1,000 feet of a fire hydrant. (This includes all of the City of South Haven, parts of South Haven Township, Geneva Township and Casco Township.)
Class 6 - Applies to properties within five road miles of a fire station but beyond 1,000 feet of a fire hydrant. (This includes most of South Haven Township, Geneva Township and Casco Township.
A few properties within the SHAES District in Geneva Township and South Haven Township are a Class 10 because they are beyond five road miles of a fire station.
The ISO rating typically appears on a property owner’s insurance bill. Property owners are encouraged to contact their insurance carrier should this change not be reflected on a future bill.
This isn't your typical cat-in-the-tree rescue story. SHAES firefighters and South Haven police officers, including the chiefs of both departments, on Tuesday, Aug. 23, rescued Harold the iguana from a tree. Harold caught the attention of residents of a house near South Haven Place and Bailey Avenue and called authorities. When police arrived Harold scampered up a tree so SHAES firefighters were summoned with their ladder truck. After several minutes of coaxing they were able to capture the two-foot-long lizard. As all this was going on the owner appeared at the scene to say she had lost her five-year-old iguana Harold about a month ago. The animal's cage had apparently been left unlocked and off Harold went. It was a very emotional reunion between the owner, a South Haven school teacher, and an apparently healthy Harold who didn't divulge where he had been the past month. A happy ending. See More Photos / See WOOD-TV8 Coverage / See MLive.com Coverage
SHAES is pleased to announce that 911 calls now received by the Allegan County 911 Center are being dispatched directly to SHAES. In the past, 911 calls received by the Allegan Center were relayed to the Van Buren 911 Center which then dispatched SHAES to the emergency. This change will expedite the response to emergency calls in Casco Township and to mutual aid responses to other Allegan County departments. SHAES is grateful to the staffs at the Allegan and VanBuren 911 centers and Frontier telephone for facilitating this change that will better serve our citizens.
The South Haven Area Chamber of Commerce recently welcomed SHAES as a new Chamber member. Read More.
South Haven Area Emergency Services (SHAES) along with Bangor Community Fire Department has been awarded $398,182 for 73 new Self-contained Breathing Apparatus through the 2015 Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program.
“The new Self-contained Breathing Apparatus replaces existing units that are 20 years old and do not meet today’s stringent standards for firefighting and hazardous materials,” said SHAES chief Ron Wise.
The AFG program provides federal money directly to local fire departments to help address a wide variety of equipment, training and other firefighter-related needs. SHAES and Bangor firefighters last received an AFG award in fiscal year 2010, through a countywide regional grant which funded mobile radios for fire apparatus along with portable radios and pagers for firefighters throughout Van Buren County.
There is no set geographical formula for the distribution of AFG grants. Rather fire departments throughout the nation apply and award decisions are made by a peer panel based on the merits of the applications and the needs of the communities.
South Haven Area Emergency Services and Bangor Community Fire Department will match 10% of the grant with local funding that has already been set aside in anticipation for the grant award. The total project cost will be $438,000. Which include local match of $39,818.
SHAES and the American Red Cross are collaborating on a program to provide FREE smoke alarms to residents in the fire department's service area. The installation of the alarms by SHAES personnel and representatives from the Red Cross will occur on Friday, June 17th. To schedule an in-home visit call 269-353-6180, ext. 7181.
The Beach Safety Flag Program is underway for the 2016 summer season. The flags are flown at the seven Lake Michigan beaches in the City of South Haven. Lake conditions are monitored seven-days-a-week by SHAES personnel with flags flown from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The flags are now more explanatory than those in the past. The red flag, for example, has a no-swimming symbol on it. The green and yellow flags have the words GREEN and YELLOW on them to better people who are color-blind. SHAES personnel also check the life-rings and throw-ropes on the piers and monitor the swim-zone buoys on the lake. See Lake Michigan Beach Safety Webpage
South Haven Area Emergency Services (SHAES) honored its members during the department's annual banquet on Saturday, May 7. Cesar Garcia, a paid-on-call firefighter, was presented the department's 2015 Leadership Award. Garcia has been a member of the department for 10 years. “This year's leadership award goes to an individual who has demonstrated the qualities of a leader without holding any rank within the department,” noted Chief Ron Wise. “Cesar has led by example, he is always willing to participate, taking classes on his own time. He has shown everyone that training is important no matter how much time you have on the department.” Wise lauded Garcia's true passion to serve his community. “He is a very humble public servant who does not need validation to know that what he is doing is important.” Garcia is pictured with Chief Ron Wise (left) and Deputy Chief Tony Marsala. Click here to see other recognitions and honors
The service of a longtime employee of the South Haven police department and South Haven Area Emergency Services was recognized during the annual dinner of SHAE on Saturday, May 7. Vickii Nichols recently retired after serving 17 years as a clerk-typist and overnight shift office assistant for the two departments. She is pictured receiving a proclamation recognizing her service from Mayor Robert Burr.