Webster Parish District 7 firefighters are moving toward becoming a public service-oriented department, and a $2,500 grant from FM Global is going to help them achieve that goal.
“The public doesn’t see us that often,” said Deputy Chief Brian Williams. “We want to get out there in the public until we get through every house in our fire district.”
The Dixie Inn-based fire district has already begun beefing up equipment purchased with the grant that will aid in public education classes.
“We want to train people in bystander CPR and minimal first aid,” Williams said. “We also plan to have home safety classes where people can come in and hear about things they might not realize are safety hazards in the home.”
Williams said the equipment purchased with the grant will be utilized for the fire and police departments in Dixie Inn.
“We will be working with the police department with public safety classes,” he said.
Shreveport Fire Department, where Williams works, has a fire prevention division that has enjoyed a lot of success with public education.
“In Fire District 7, we’re going to hold our classes in a public setting and then get public feedback,” he said. “We will list in the paper which classes will be held and when. Once we see how well the reception is, we’ll do more and do more things the public is requesting.”
Fire District 7 has 20 active, volunteer firefighters. According to Williams, they are not paid a salary and are paid nothing by the call. Everything they do is volunteer, they rely heavily on grant funding for projects.
“Last year, we were awarded a State Farm grant to purchase smoke detectors,” Williams said. “Then, we got a grant from Wal-Mart for carbon monoxide alarms. So, we’re planning to go door to door taking smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. If we find someone who needs them, we will install it for them and go through a home safety checklist with them.”
FM Global works with other companies to develop risk management solutions to protect their business operations from fire, natural disasters and other types of property perils.
“At FM Global, we strongly believe the majority of property damage is preventable, not inevitable,” said Michael Spaziani, manger of the fire prevention grant program. “Far too often, inadequate budgets prevent those organizations working to prevent fire from being as proactive as they would like to be. With additional financial support, grant recipients are actively helping to improve property risk in the communities they serve.”