Public Safety Director Jeff Hawke, Mayor Geri McCaleb and City Manager Pat McGinnis attended recent community meetings to celebrate the collaborative work.
“The mayor and I, and Pat, have kind of been on a road trip recently,” Hawke said. “This started this past spring with a conversation between Pat and I about some really tough, cold, harsh fires we had this past winter and what very good support we had.”
When several serious winter fires occurred, Hawke said the city had immediate assistance from neighboring communities. The city has a mutual aid relationship with all fire authorities in the region.
“Without our mutual aid partners, the service we provide to our citizens would be greatly diminished,” Hawke said. “We all count on each other in times of major emergencies.”
The city is especially connected with the Spring Lake, Ferrysburg and Grand Haven Township fire departments.
At the neighboring community meetings, Hawke and McCaleb presented each of the respective fire chiefs with a ceramic wall hanging for their departments. Local artist Brad Patterson created four hangings with a representation of a traditional fire scramble surrounded by the initials of each fire department.
Grand Haven Township Fire Chief Tom Gerencer said mutual aid agreements have proven beneficial.
“We’re not wasting resources by doing mutual aid and automatic aid,” he explained. “It’s very helpful and it makes our community stronger. I always say ‘safety in numbers’ when it comes to fighting fires.”
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