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 deaths or injuries 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
Awards and recognitions were presented to members of South Haven Area Emergency Services during the department’s annual dinner on Saturday, May 5.
James A. Quinn has been chosen by his peers as the Firefighter of the Year. A member of the departnment’s paid-on-call staff for 26 years, he is a first responder from the department’s Casco Township station and a member of the Honor Guard.
“Jim has contributed countless hours of dedication and time to the citizens of our coverage area,” said Chief Ron Wise. “He is always willing to lend a hand whether it’s a fire/ems call, the honor guard or special events. Even since retiring from his day job when most would enjoy some down time he’s there to lend a hand. He is truly an asset to our department.”
The department’s Leadership Award has been presented to Shawn Smith. Now in his eighth year as a fulltime member of the department, Smith is being recognized for the job he has done increasing the department’s level of skill, knowledge and patient care.
“Shawn demonstrates the qualities of a leader without holding any rank with the department,” noted Wise. “He is always looking for new ways to help our community by training our staff. He is self-driven with a goal to keep improving himself and this department.”
Wise lauded a team effort in rescuing two 12-year-old girls who were caught-up in rising flood waters during a storm earlier this year. Presented Lifesaving Awards were Anthony Marsala, Shawn Smith, Zach Kenreich, Steve Jones, Brian Montgomery, Keith Bierhalter, Cesar Garcia, Cody Sedlak, Ronald Washegesic, Brian Horan, Sr., James A. Quinn, Patrick Quinn and Timothy Quinn.
Presented a special Compassion Award was Dawn Hinz for the special care given a 10-year-old girl trapped in a vehicle involved in an accident.
“When the little girl was being prepared for transport to Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo, she asked Dawn not to leave her. Dawn did not hesitate and climbed into the ambulance to stay and comfort the child. Dawn received permission from the patient’s mother to follow up on how she was doing after treatment at the hospital. She kept the contact with the family and even bought a gift for the little girl for Christmas. Dawn is a true example of what patient care is and why our staff makes such a difference in our community.”
In 2017 SHAES responded to nearly 1,600 medical emergencies. Many resulted in performing CPR on patients. Presented “I Made CPR Count” pins were Ronald Washegesic, Brian T. Horan, Brian J. Horan, Brad Filbrandt, Dustin Guminski, Zachary Kenreich, David Griessel, James Lindemulder, Cesar Garcia, Matt Russell, Brandon Hinz, Dawn Hinz, Steve Jones, Tim Van Holt, Patrick Quinn, Tim Quinn, Zachary Church, Brian Montgomery, Joahanna Quinn and Paul Quinn.
Years of service awards were presented to Keith Bierhalter, 35 years; James Lindemulder, 15 years; Dawn Hinz, 10 years; Zachary Church and Andrew Grossman, five years.
Welcomed a new paid-on-call members were Daniel Delia, Zachary Mulac, Thomas Kuhn and Daniel Delia. All four have achieved Firefighter 2 and Haz-Mat Operations certification. New fulltime staff member Zachary Kenreich achieved Fire Inspector certification.
A newly created committee has taken training to a new level at SHAES. The committee consists of fulltime and paid-on-call staff. Commended for their work were Shawn Smith, Brian Montgomery, Tim Quinn, Owen Ridley, Ronald Washegesic and Mark Kaput.