LONDONDERRY — Members of the Londonderry Fire Department plan to use recent grant money to develop a fire safety and prevention program for some of the town’s most vulnerable residents.
Late last week, Division Chief Brian Johnson announced receipt of a $2,000 fire prevention grant from FM Global, one of the world’s largest commercial property insurers.
Johnson said the money would be used to purchase smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors as part of the department’s new program targeting citizens at higher risk for fires and injuries, including the community’s elderly, low-income and disabled populations.
“Fire continues to be the leading cause of property damage worldwide, and this award will be used to assist with fire prevention activities in this community,” Johnson said. “The goal is to both educate community members and reduce the number of fires.”
Michael Spaziani, manager of FM Global’s fire prevention grant program, said the company awards similar grants to a number of Granite State communities on a quarterly basis.
“We strongly believe the majority of property damage is preventable, not inevitable,” Spaziani said. “Far too often, inadequate budgets prevent those organizations working to prevent fire from being as proactive as they would like to be.”
The topic of the fire department’s budget has been one of much discussion in recent months, with staffing and overtime costs having resulted in overspending in recent years, leaving little left over for community fire prevention programs.
This year the town has spent $750,000 on firefighter overtime. The town also spends more than half of its $28 million operating budget on public safety in general, said John Farrell, Town Council chairman.