–by Mary Helen Darah
PUBLICATION DATE: Oct 01, 2019
Lt. Steve Kahan has been serving Sylvania for 21 years. “I took the EMT route,” recalled Kahan. “I worked for a private ambulance service for a few years. I was then hired as a paramedic in the emergency department at St. Vincent. In 1996 and 1997, I was one of six paramedics that were hired to start a nurse/ paramedic flight program in Bluffton, Ohio, for St. Vincent Lifeflight. This was the first time in northwest Ohio that a helicopter was staffed with a paramedic instead of a physician. I was hired as a full-time firefighter in Sylvania in 1999. In 2004, I was promoted to Lieutenant.”
The Sylvania lieutenant has had many memorable moments during his career. One of the most recent was helping to create a new logo for Station #1. “The guys at our station wanted to come up with our own identity,” stated Lt. Kahan. “We solicited the help of the young artist, Brookelyn Duhamel, who painted a mural at Plummer Pool. I coach an elite girls softball team. Brookelyn happened to play on another team. Because she went to Northview, we made that connection. The ideas for the new logo came from ideas from the firefighters at Station #1 about what would best represent us. We are known for responding to calls all night long while most people are sleeping. We are also located right next to a train track and are also close to Northview. We incorporated those elements in a mural on the kitchen wall inside the station. Chief Ramm liked it so much we ended up using the design on our trucks and uniform shirts. I believe it separates our station from the rest. We call it the ‘Night Train.’
Lt. Kahan also finds teaching CPR/ACLS on his days off very rewarding. “It is a passion,” he stated. “We teach in numerous venues including schools, medical offices, and the general public.” In my mind the more people that know CPR, the safer we are as a society. I have been teaching CPR for over 20 years and have seen many changes and technological advancements. Our department is a test sight for new pieces of equipment that we are currently using. We found that the outcomes with this new technology are incredible.”
Like many firefighters, Lt. Kahan faces challenges on the job. “I think one of the greatest challenges is that our scope is huge. We do everything including firefighting, EMS, community service, training, public education, and fire inspections. The most challenging part for me is trying to help the younger firefighters understand what we do is a career and not just a job. We play an important role that is all encompassing. My job is to manage a small group of firefighters on a daily basis and make certain that everyone goes home safe to their families,” he stated.
Lt. Kahan believes one of the best aspects of the job is the camaraderie shared with his “work family while away from my family,” and being an integral part of something larger than himself. “We do things as a team. Being a firefighter is not an individual endeavor. We trust each other and have each other’s backs,” he said.
Lt. Kahan enjoys spending time with his wife of 22 years, Christine, 15-year-old daughter Emily, 18-year-old son R.J., 30-year-old son Cody, and their dog Tonka. He works out on a regular basis to keep himself in shape for the physical demands of his job. “We are busy planning a wedding for my eldest son and visiting colleges for my senior. My summers are jam packed coaching my daughter’s travel softball team and trying to mix in a vacation or two. I’m looking forward to the positive changes the department has in store,” he said. “I have a lot of respect for Chief Ramm. He is not only our chief, but he is also a friend and someone I trust. He has guided the department in the right direction. This community should be extremely proud of its fire department in providing exceptional fire protection and emergency medical services, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, without exception. It is an honor to be called a Sylvania Firefighter!”