EVART – The Evart Area Joint Fire Department will get a technological upgrade after receiving a $2,500 fire prevention grant from FM Global, one of the world’s largest commercial property insurers.

The award will be used for the purchase of tablet computers and software to assist with pre-fire planning and help the department efficiently collect and track data related to local community buildings. Being able to take a tablet with information on the locations of electrical boxes and water and gas shut-off valves to the scene of the fire will help the fire service respond more quickly in an emergency situation.

“All we have currently is on paper – large maps and things like that – which we would have to flip through to find what we were looking for,” said Fire Chief Shane Helmer. “The grant is helping us get computerized to where we have the information on site compared to having someone go back to the station and grab it, or having a truck to haul all the paperwork of all the sites we have.”

FM Global representatives presented the award to Deputy Chief Ralph Carlson, Assistant Chief Dan Kleeves and Captain Jason Ackett at the Evart Fire Station on July 19. They applied for the grant in April.

Because fire continues to be the leading cause of property damage worldwide, during the past 35 years FM Global has contributed millions of dollars in fire prevention grants to fire service organizations around the globe. The company has awarded grants to a number of Michigan-based organizations.

“At FM Global, we strongly believe the majority of property damage is preventable, not inevitable,” said Michael Spaziani, manager of the fire prevention grant program, in a press release. “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.”

The Evart Area Joint Fire Department received the same grant in 2008 when they purchased laptop computers.

Through its Fire Prevention Grant Program, FM Global awards grants quarterly to fire departments as well as national, state, regional, local and community organizations worldwide that best demonstrate a need for funding, where dollars can have the most demonstrable impact on preventing fire or mitigating the damage it can quickly cause.