Insurance company funding prevention program equipment

Friday, April 1, 2011

When Lewisburg firefighters present fire prevention programs this spring, they'll have new tools to help drive their message home.

That's because the department received a $1,600 from FM Global's Fire Prevention Grant Program. A check was presented Tuesday to Fire Prevention Officer Mike Barron.

The money will be used toward the purchase of a laptop computer, a projector and a movie screen, Barron said on Water Street at the Lewisburg Fire Department's Main Station.

FM Global is also known as Factory Mutual Insurance Co. It has offices around the world. Its closest office is in Alpharetta, Ga. The company provides commercial and industrial property insurance, risk management and loss prevention needs.

"In today's climate, many organizations and agencies working to prevent fire face on-going budget constraints, which can hamper even the most ambitious efforts," Paul Waldo, FM Global's group manager of field engineering, said.

Through FM Global's Fire Prevention Grant Program, other departments - like Lewisburg's - "can apply for funding to help strengthen their efforts to ... prevent fire," Waldo said.

Barron noted that Tennessee is among the top five states in the U.S.A. for fire deaths.

"Hendersonville just had one," Barron said of the two-year-old girl who was killed in an early-morning fire at a Hendersonville duplex. Her mother was hospitalized and two others were treated for injuries as a result of the Monday fire.

"Our county hasn't had a fire death recently," Barron said.

In fact, because of fire safety lessons taught to school children, several Lewisburg children knew to escape their burning house recently by way of the window after checking their bedroom door for heat.

FM Global is concerned about personal safety, but it underwrites property and recognizes grants like the one it awarded to Lewisburg will help reduce claims for loss of property.

"Fire continues to be the leading cause of commercial and industrial property damage," Waldo said. It costs nearly $1 million, on average, per incident at FM Global client locations worldwide. As a result, the company's program focuses on prevention.

"After all," Waldo said, "it is much better to prevent a fire than recover from one."