Nearly 27 years ago, Tom Gerencer accepted a position as a full-time firefighter at Grand Haven Charter Township Fire/Rescue. In 1995, two years after joining the ranks, Tom was promoted to Lieutenant. Having demonstrated his loyalty to this community and department, Tom accepted the role of Captain in 2001 and finally the honor of serving the citizens of GHT as the Fire Chief in 2007.
During the Chief’s tenure, the call volume has increased from about 250 emergency calls per year to nearly 1,400 calls per year.
Understanding the increase in call volume and need for high quality medical rescue, Chief Gerencer championed the move from Basic Life Support to Advanced Life Support (ALS) medical response. This means that the residents of Grand Haven Township receive the highest level of pre-hospital care available and are the only fire rescue department in West Michigan to be ALS certified. Because of Chief Gerencer’s vision,
the Township currently has one of the highest cardiac arrest survival rates in the country.
Chief Gerencer’s visionary spirit did not stop there. His “Active Assailant Response Initiative” is responsible for bringing multiple agencies together in a collaborative effort to plan and prepare for the possibility of mass shootings. Not only has this program been embraced by local agencies, but it has also been widely accepted and utilized by emergency response agencies throughout the State of Michigan.
It is also important to recognize Chief Gerencer for his compassion for others and enthusiasm for education. For example, the Camp 9-1-1 Academy, started by Chief Gerencer, offers an in-depth look at fire, EMS, and police work for area teens. Whether it was providing CPR training at Grand Haven High School, or sending members of the fire rescue team to various trainings, the Chief understood the value of education.
When it comes to safety, Chief Gerencer stood firm in his commitment to his crew and the community. He spearheaded the purchase of a new ladder truck in 2012. That truck was a key piece of apparatus in saving millions of dollars of property within its first 6 months of arriving at the Township. Most recently, the department replaced its 26-year-old rescue pumper, again, providing up-to-date firefighting equipment for the safety of the crew and the community.
We would like to congratulate Chief Gerencer on a very successful career and wish him the very best in his retirement.
Chief Gerencer, we say thank you!