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Lake Michigan Beach Safety Awareness Program Underway for 2023

Summer is here and so are the beach safety flags. They are flying along the Lake Michigan shoreline at 14 locations in the city of South Haven. Visit our beach safety website to learn more about the program –

Signup thru your cell phone to receive text messages giving beach flag status report – Text 888777 BEACHES. When you go to the beach please take time to note the number atop the flag nearest you so that in case of an emergency you can provide accurate information when calling 911.

South Haven Area Emergency Services

The Mission of SHAES
The Mission of the South Haven (Michigan) Area Emergency Services (SHAES) is to preserve life, limb and property through aggressive fire prevention, education and fire suppression. To provide the highest quality of emergency medical care with skill and compassion. To serve our communities with pride, integrity and courage.


SHAES News Updates

Generous Community Helps SHAES Support Family of Fallen Firefighter

Thank you community and visitors to South Haven for supporting the SHAES Pancake Breakfast on Memorial Weekend Sunday. We served approximately 600 breakfasts! We were honored to be able to sponsor this as a fund raiser for the family of Paw Paw volunteer firefighter Lt. Ethan Quillen who died in the line-of-duty this past February. Breakfast proceeds along with donations totaled $3,800 for the family.We are grateful for the support of firefighters from many departments.

SHAES Recognizes Members with Awards


Pictured left to right Chief Brandon Hinz and Zach Kenreich

Zach Kenreich as a high school student decided he wanted a career that would serve his community. While attending South Haven High School he enrolled in the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) course at the Van Buren Tech Center. He was certified by the time he graduated from high school.

He immediately joined South Haven Area Emergency Services (SHAES) as a paid-on-call firefighter. Three years later (2017) he became a career member in the department.

Today the 26-year-old Firefighter/Paramedic is the department’s 2023 Firefighter of the Year. He was recognized at the department’s annual banquet on May 6.

“The idea of graduating from high school with a (EMT) license was very appealing,” admits Kenreich. “More important to me was the idea of serving my community.”

The Firefighter of the Year is determined by a vote of the membership.

“Although our members vote for this nomination, it is not a popularity contest,” notes SHAES Executive Director Brandon Hinz. “Zach is being recognized for his dedication, compassion and desire for learning. He understands that teamwork is a huge part of this organization.”

Kenreich is responsible for much of the management of the department’s technology, including the budget and capital equipment oversight. He has also led an effort to secure equipment for confined space rescues, securing funding from local sources.

The recipient of this year’s Leadership Award is Phillip Quinn (pictured left) , a paid-on-call member since 2010.

“Phillip has been a steady responder who is always there. Even with increased commitments at his regular employment and family, he’s remained an active member that is much appreciated given everyone’s busy schedules outside the fire department. He’s never required a pat on the back, glory or fame, he comes when he’s called, does his job, and goes home with a good attitude.”

Several members were recognized for professional achievements: Corey Capel, Fire Instructor I; Owen Ridley, Shawn Smith and Timothy Forker, Fire Instructor 2; Paul Quinn, Fire Inspector; Jordan Walthall, EMT Basic; Maggie Murrillo, EMR; Brian Horan, Jr., Fire Officer 2; and Jazmin Cortez and Zach Hanners, Rescue Diver. Joining the department as paid-on-call candidates over the past year are Dawn Nyhof, Shelby Forker, Lilly Nyhof and Dalton Wolfe. New career members (Firefighter/Paramedic) are Johanna Quinn and Corey Capel. Shawn Smith was promoted to the newly created position as Training Officer.

The department honored members for years of service – Keith Bierhalter (pictured left), 40 years; Brian Montgomery and Dawn Hinz, 15 years; Zach Church, 10 years. South Haven Mayor Scott Smith was recognized for his five years as a member of the SHAES governing board.

“Throughout the history of SHAES, the former Casco and South Haven fire departments, we have prided ourselves on compassionate care for our EMS patients, quick response and aggressive fire suppression. Our members have always gone the additional step, to do that extra. Our community and residents expect the best and our goal year in and year out is to do just that,” said Hinz.

SHAES Area Receives Improved Insurance Rating for its Area

Coverage by WHTC Radio –

Coverage by WSJM Radio –

South Haven Area Emergency Services (SHAES) is proud to report that the Insurance Service Office (ISO) has upgraded its fire protection rating for the area served by the department became effective March 1, 2023.

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 assigns a Public Protection Classification from 1 (the best) to 10.

ISO has rated the area protected by SHAES a Class 3/5. The previous rating established in 2016 was 4/6. In 2004 it was 5/6.

“This program provides an objective, countrywide standard that assists fire departments in planning and budgeting for facilities, equipment and training,” said Brandon Hinz, 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.

“With the support of the communities we serve, the SHAES Authority Board has been able to increase staffing levels, expand our inspection program and broaden department training. These actions not only lower the risk rating for our communities, but also help SHAES to continue providing professional, comprehensive Fire, EMS and Rescue services for Casco Township, Geneva Township, City of South Haven and South Haven Township.”

Many communities like South Haven receive a split classification based on the distance of properties from a fire station and fire hydrants.

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.

The following is the criteria for each category: Class 3 - 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 5 - 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.

Alarms Up, Losses Down for SHAES in 2022

See 2022 Annual Report –

See WSJM Story –

Read Herald Palladium story –

South Haven Area Emergency Services (SHAES) responded to a record number of calls during 2022 while experiencing a reduction in fire losses, according to the department’s Annual Report.

Marking its 26th 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 17 fulltime staff and 29 paid-on-call firefighters protecting 97 square miles of land and several miles of Lake Michigan shoreline from three stations.

For the fifth consecutive year, the number of calls has increased from the previous year to a record 2,659. The previous record, set in 2021, was 2,592.

“Our call volume showed increases in the medical area,” said executive director Brandon Hinz. “Our staff remained committed to providing quality service to our residents and visitors.”

There were 1,902 calls on the medical side compared to 1,804 in 2021. Fire alarms decreased from 788 to 757. SHAES has responded to more than 2,000 calls in each of the past ten years.

There were 1,119 calls in the city of South Haven followed by South Haven township 685, Geneva township 397 and Casco township 342. SHAES provided mutual aid to other fire departments and EMS agencies on 143 occasions.

SHAES continued an active inspection program which made nearly 1,112 contacts, including 642 short-term rental contacts during the year.

Fire losses totaled $846,016 compared to $1,565,800 in 2021. Losses by governmental unit were Geneva township, $390,846; city of South Haven, $309,850; South Haven township, $77,820; Casco township, $52,500.

There were no civilian fire-related deaths in 2022. There were five incidents in which a responder was injured either at an emergency scene or other work-related occurence.

Amanda Quinn was honored as Firefighter of the Year and the department's Leadership Award was presented to Drexal Haner. The department added four paid-on-call firefighters.

The department sponsored Fire Safety Week and expanded its water safety awareness initiatives in cooperation with the City of South Haven and Bronson Safe Kids Coalition. SHAES was recognized as a Patriotic Employer by the U.S. Department of Defense.

The community benefited from an improvement in the rating given the area by the Insurance Service Office (ISO). This improved rating should be reflected in property fire insurance rates.

“With the support from the communities we serve, the SHAES Authority Board has been able to increase staffing levels, expand our inspection program and broaden department training in recent years,” said Hinz.

The department put into service a new ambulance and placed an order for a new pumper/tanker for delivery in 2024. There was an increased emphasis on training with the designation of a fulltime training officer.

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