Navigating thru the pandemic proved especially challenging for staff at South Haven Area Emergency Services (SHAES), especially during the fire safety programs last fall.
The effort of one particular staff member in successfully achieving this annual initiative put into focus the department’s commitment to community.
Amanda Quinn (pictured left) has been named the 2022 SHAES Fire Fighter of the Year in a vote of members of the department. She was honored during the department’s annual banquet on April 30.
Amazingly, Quinn had been a fulltime member of the department just over seven months when she assumed responsibility for the fire safety outreach. She led the staff in successfully executing a program that respected Covid protocols at the various schools and coordinated the annual community Fire Safety Fun Night that attracted more than 500 people.
“Amanda is dedicated, compassionate and has a desire for learning,” said SHAES executive director Brandon Hinz. “Her positive attitude has been so important with all the hurdles and obstacles public service had to overcome.
Quinn joined SHAES as a fulltime firefighter/paramedic in March, 2021. She had been a paid-on-call EMT since 2019. She is also a registered nurse specializing in emergency care through Bronson Health System. She holds the bachelor of science in nursing degree from Grand Valley State University. Her husband Phillip is a paid-on-call member with SHAES.
“Amanda was actually an unofficial member of SHAES for quite some time, driving along with Phillip to incidents,” observed Hinz.
The department’s 2022 Leadership Award has been presented to Drexal “Rex” Haner. A fulltime assistant inspector, Haner was a paid-on-call member before entering the military. He is the department’s newest fulltime member. He also is responsible for the recruitment program.
“Good leadership does not require a title” said. Hinz. “Rex’s positive attitude is welcome every day.” The department honored members for years of service – James A. Quinn and Owen Ridley, 30 years; James D. Quinn, 20 years; Roseanna Fox and Brian Horan, Jr., five years.
A special recognition was given to JD Quinn and Dawn Hinz for their lifesaving actions when a patient went into full arrest while in a SHAES ambulance enroute to a Kalamazoo Hospital. The patient, Jeff Herrera, attended the banquet to express their appreciation.
Members Ron Ridley, Cody Sedlak and Amanda Quinn were recognized for the successful delivery of a newborn. “When that ‘run of the mill’ EMS or fire call turns into something more than it was originally dispatched, it is such a comfort to know that help is on the way,” said Hinz.
South Haven Area Emergency Services (SHAES) responded to a record number of calls during 2021 according to the department’s Annual Report.
Marking its 25th year, the SHAES Authority serves the city of South Haven and the townships of Casco, Geneva and South Haven from three stations. The department is comprised of 16 fulltime staff and 25 paid-on-call firefighters protecting 97 square miles of land and several miles of Lake Michigan shoreline from three stations.
Responses increased nearly 10 percent to 2,592 compared to the previous record of 2,358 in 2020.
“Our call volume showed a significant increase in all areas,” said executive director Brandon Hinz. “Even with the continued hurdles from the pandemic, our staff remained committed to providing quality service to our residents and visitors.”
There were 1,804 calls on the medical side compared to 1,730 in 2020. Fire alarms increased from 701 to 788. SHAES has responded to more than 2,000 calls in each of the past nine years.
There were 1,100 calls in the city of South Haven followed by South Haven township 543, Geneva township 443 and Casco township 390. SHAES provided mutual aid to other fire departments and EMS agencies on 116 occasions.
Property losses from fire totaled $1,550,800 compared to $422,600 in 2020. The largest property loss occurred in South Haven township ($1,096,200) followed by Geneva township ($273,400), Casco township ($115,700) and the city of South Haven ($65,500).
SHAES continued an active inspection program which made nearly 986 contacts, including 528 short-term rental contacts during the year.
There was one civilian fire-related death in 2021. There were two incidents in which a responder was injured either at an emergency scene or other work-related occurence.
Other Highlights: Matthew Dey was honored as Firefighter of the Year… The department added five paid-on-call firefighters…The department sponsored Fire Safety Week with a full schedule of in-person activities in addition to an expanded social media messaging campaign. The department expanded its water safety awareness initiatives in cooperation with the City of South Haven and Bronson Safe Kids Coalition… Grants from community organizations and businesses made it possible for the department to acquire water rescue gear including an underwater sonar device. The department’s dive team was increased by six new members… The department received delivery of its new Rescue One vehicle and placed an order for a new ambulance… There was an increased emphasis on training with members devoting over 3,800 hours to it. Seven members became certified instructors.