SOUTH HAVEN, Mich.– A drowning in 2009 is prompting changes at two beaches in Van Buren County, those changes are safety upgrades and comes as part of a proposed settlement in a lawsuit related to the drowning. According to the government, Lake Michigan is the most dangerous Great Lake. 77 people have died in the past ten years and there have been more than 200 rescues. Now South Haven beach is doing what they can now to keep people safe.
Just this month South Haven City Council approved the purchase and installation of two 911 call boxes, one near the South Pier the other on North Beach. Installing them was just one of the terms of a proposed settlement between the city and family of Martin Jordan, who drowned in 2009.
The boxes will provide fast and easy access for first responders who will know exactly where to go, the boxes are made by “Code Blue” in Holland. The company has installed 5 “help” points in Grand Haven already and three in St. Joseph, although those are a bit different. South Haven’s will be a 9 ft. tall pedestal that is weather resistant with an emergency speakerphone.
“They’ll be equipped with camera systems so that in the event we do have an emergency we`ll have cameras streaming video to our first responder`s as well as recording that so we can review how we did, the conditions that were present, a clear understanding of response times” said South Haven City Manager Brian Dissette. They aren’t cheap though, the two units will cost around $48,000 and a couple thousand dollars every year after to keep up the maintenance.
“We feel that is always going to be the best investment for the public safety through those 1st responders” said Dissette. An added sense of comfort, beach goers are already looking forward to.
The call boxes will also be equipped with capturing video that can be streamed on the city’s website so people can check out the waves before they come to the beach. The city manager also says in the coming years they hope to install more on their other beaches and even marinas. The city is hoping to have them installed by July 4th weekend.