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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

Restoration of Firefighter Memorial is Underway Downtown

Work is underway on the restoration of the Firefighters Memorial in downtown South Haven. We are grateful for the craftsman from Lakefront Roofing and Exteriors. Proceeds from our pancake breakfasts are allowing this important work to occur.

This memorial to first responders was placed at the entrance to downtown South Haven in 2000. Contributions from local businesses and fund-raisers by members of SHAES made construction of the monument possible. It stands eight-feet-tall with an 800-pound fire service emblem handcrafted from black granite at the top. The monument was designed by Fire Chief Randy Van Wynen and handcrafted by mason Willy Wildt. St. Joe Monument Works created the etchings on the granite. The etched panels include the Fireman's Prayer and recognitions of the service provided by those in the Fire Service: Challenge, Respect, Honor.

SHAES Seeks Applications for Career Positions

South Haven Area Emergency Services is currently seeking applicants to establish an eligibility list to fill upcoming vacancies.

Click here to learn more and obtain an application –

Rotary Supports Beach Safety Initiatives

The South Haven Rotary Club and City of South Haven are working together to improve beach safety. The Rotarians met with City of South Haven leaders to present checks totaling $13,500 to support our local community’s beach safety programs. The funds will provide additional year round life ring stations located on the piers and three automated external defibrillator AED devices for the city beaches.

Both initiatives are part of the City’s larger beach safety program and are intended to help facilitate rapid response and life-saving assistance to emergencies. The expanded beach safety program was previously managed through SHAES, but is now a City of South Haven responsibility.

Matt Dey, South Haven’s Beach Safety and Facilities Superintendent, thanked the Rotary Club and its members noting that “…the community has asked for year round life rings to be put out on both piers and with the support of our community and this generous grant from the South Haven Rotary Club, I am proud to announce that the six life ring cabinets have been ordered and are on their way to be delivered! The three AEDs funded through this grant will allow us to provide life-saving actions within minutes of a cardia event as we are always at the beaches. Providing that support within five minutes will dramatically increase the survival rate of person experiencing cardiac arrest.”

Rotary President Melinda Gruber presented the checks noting that “Water and beach safety is an important part of Rotary’s mission. We are pleased to be able to do what we can to help ensure the safety of all who visit our beautiful lakefront.”

While most of the funds were raised locally, Rotarian Bill Roberts was instrumental in obtaining matching grants from the Rotary District 6360 that increased the total contribution by over thirty percent. District Distributed Funds (DDF) were instrumental in funding the three AED’s and a Karl Sandelin Grant enabled the acquisition of the life-preserver stations for both piers. The additional Rotary district “multipliers” made it possible for the Rotary Club of South haven to distribute both awards to the City this summer.

Community Leadership is Recognized

A feeling of a positive community environment in South Haven was expressed Friday night at the opening of the decades-long Bobbie Walker Basketball Tournament. Leadership awards were presented by tournament founder Bobbie Walker to organizations and city officials. Pictured from left to right are South Haven Area Emergency Services Chief Brandon Hinz, Mayor Scott Smith, Bobbie Walker and South Haven Police Chief Natalie Thompson. The tournament is held in conjunction with the National Blueberry Festival.

SHAES Participates in National Night Out

SHAES staff joined law enforcement partners and community organizations in celebrating National Night Out on Tuesday, Aug. 1.


National Night Out is an annual community building campaign that promotes community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie. We at SHAES are grateful for the many like-minded organizations who are dedicated to serving our community.

SHAES Welcomes New Career Member Will Cooper

SHAES is pleased to welcome new Firefighter/Paramedic William (Will) Cooper to the career ranks. He joined the department on July 18. Will is from the Kalamazoo area having served most recently as a paramedic with Life-EMS Ambulance. He has also served on the Comstock Township Fire Department. He is a graduate of Gull Lake High School and received his Associate Degree in Fire Science from Kalamazoo Valley Community College.

South Haven Elks Support SHAES Dive Team

South Haven Elks Lodge #1509 recently presented $1,500 to South Haven Area Emergency Services (SHAES) to allow its Dive Team to purchase six new SCUBA air tanks. Keeping up with training and ensuring the team has proper equipment allows the Dive Team to quickly respond to search and rescue missions at local lakes and Lake Michigan. SHAES serves the city of South Haven and townships of Casco, Geneva and South Haven. Its territory includes approximately 10 miles of coast line from the Van Buren State Park to Glenn. The team is also available for mutual aid to other jurisdictions. The team trained year round in Lake Michigan and inland lakes, including Lake Arvesta. The team is in the process of converting a previously used ambulance into a mobile response unit. SHAES previously used a trailer for that purpose. This better equipped unit will allow for a quicker response to emergencies.

Pictured left to right are: Firefighter/diver Zachary Haner, Elks member Spencer Campbell, FF/diver Brad Filbrandt, FF/diver Dawn Nyhof, Elks Exalted Ruler Jim Mishler, FF/Dive Master Owen Ridley, FF/diver Jake Clemons and FF/diver Cody Sedlack.

ISD Career Camp Students Visit SHAES

Students enrolled in the Van Buren Intermediate School District Career Week summer program visited South Haven Area Emergency Services recently. The middle school age students were from schools throughout Van Buren County. SHAES staff explained career opportunities in Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and Firefighting. We're excited to see young people exploring career opportunities in our profession.

Community Foundation Grant Supports SHAES Initiative

SHAES thanks the South Haven Area Community Foundation for its support with a grant that will allow the department to fully fund its purchase of new confined space rescue equipment. SHAES firefighters Zach Kenreich and Corey Capel are pictured with Community Foundation Board member Janice Varney during a grant presentation ceremony. The Foundation grant, along with donations from area businesses, is allowing the department to purchase of seven harnesses sets and 200-foot-long ropes to expand the department's rescue capabilities.

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.

Read more SHAES News –

home.txt · Last modified: 2023/09/26 13:30 by tomrenner