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2023 Year in Review

March 18, 2023 - Firefighters in the Making

Alarms Up, Losses Down for SHAES in 2022

See 2022 Annual Report –

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.

Grant Supports SHAES Rescue Capabilities

A grant from a major South Haven area industry is allowing South Haven Area Emergency Services (SHAES) to upgrade the equipment that would be needed for confined space rescues.

The New Covert Generating Facility grant totaling $5,000 has allowed for the purchase of seven sets of harnesses and seven 200-foot-long ropes for the department, according to SHAES Firefighter/Paramedic Zachary Kenreich (pictured) who spearheaded the effort to replace existing out-dated equipment and expand the department's capabilities.

The New Covert Generating Facility in Covert Township is a natural gas fired, combined-cycle plant. SHAES would be one of the mutual aid responders should an emergency requiring confined space rescues occur.

“These harnesses can be donned much more quickly than the ones we had previously,” said Kenreich. The ropes will also be used in water rescues, according to Kenreich.

SHAES expresses its apprciation to Ken Tomaski, Plant Manager at New Covert for facilitating this grant.

Firefighter/Paramedic Dawn Hinz Retires

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A firefighter who has been a trailblazer for females serving in the emergency services is retiring from South Haven Area Emergency Services (SHAES).

Dawn Hinz served her last shift this week, retiring from her career position. She has served 21 years, the first seven with the Covert Fire Department and the past 14 years with SHAES.

Hinz was hired as South Haven's first career female firefighter. The number of female SHAES firefighters grew to three in the fulltime ranks and another six in the paid-on-call staff.

“There is no doubt the positive impact Dawn has left with our organization,” said Executive Director Brandon Hinz who happens to be her husband. “Firefighting/EMS is a physical job. You have to think on your feet. You have to be knowledgeable in fire, EMS, confined space rescue, water rescue, vehicle operations. In the not too distant past, women weren't considered to be strong and tough enough for a career position in this type of job. Dawn came to SHAES and showed them all wrong. The women we've hired since have continued that attitude/mentality and capability.”

Dawn grew up believing that girls can do anything boys can do. Her favorite memory from elementary school gym class is reaching the ceiling on the climbing rope. A feat only completed by a handful of boys. She was always active; climbing trees, riding her bike, or swimming; both in the local pool and Lake Michigan.

After graduating Valedictorian she continued her natural inclination to fitness; excelling in the challenging atmosphere of career firefighting and EMS. She competed multiple times in the Firefighter Combat Challenge, frequently being the only female to finish the Challenge. She has used her passion for fitness and health to guide multiple firefighters, both male, and female, to complete various Firefighter Physical Agility tests.

While she hadn’t run a formal 5k she joined a friend at her first triathlon and was hooked! Triathlon joined her favorite fitness past times with a supportive yet competitive atmosphere. Dawn has since competed in numerous triathlons from sprint to half distance. As a USAT certified triathlon coach she’s delighted to guide athletes to their own fitness goals and finish lines. The time she spent in the pool and big lake as a kid gave her confidence with swimming, which she loves to impart to children and adults. Studying swimming techniques and coaching her local kid’s swim club gave her the platform to implement efficient swim technique to her athletes.

Continuing her passion for women keeping up with men, she studied with Dr. Stacy Sims, author of “Women are Not Small Men”. The book explores a women’s physiology to unlock an extra 5-10% of their physical ability thru training.

Dawn will continue her affiliation with Athletic Mentors of Kalamazoo, a Corporate Wellness and Coached Gym that inspires healthy living no matter an individual's current fitness ability. Additionally, Athletic Mentors coaches and manages cycling and multi-sport teams with a youth development focus.

In recent years Dawn Hinz's SHAES responsibilities have included supervising the summer beach safety interns for the City of South Haven.

Brandon and Dawn live in Geneva Township with sons, Jake and Cal. They enjoy farming as a way to relax, raising crops and pigs. Dawn will continue on the department as a paid-on-call member.

“We thank Dawn for her service to SHAES and the community, the lessons she has passed along, the path she has paved.,” said Brandon Hinz.

SHAES Puts New Ambulance in Service

South Haven Area Emergency Services (SHAES) has put into service a new Advanced Life Support ambulance. The department's approach to acquiring the ambulance was unique and was accomplished by saving taxpayers thousands of dollars, according to SHAES Executive Director Brandon Hinz. The manufacturer, Emergency Vehicles Plus of Holland, Mich., refurbished the box on the previous 2008 model ambulance and remounted it on a 2022 Ford Chassis. The four-wheel drive unit is state-of-the-art for providing paramedic level service to the community. Supply chain issues delayed delivery of the ambulance for several months, but the level of service by SHAES was maintained during this time thanks to a loaner provided by Emergency Vehicles Plus.


public/2023_review.txt · Last modified: 2023/03/19 12:36 by tomrenner