Local businessman donates fire extinguishers to Parish employees

Staff reports

A local businessman donated more than 300 fire extinguishers to Ascension Parish Department of Public Works employees last week for Christmas, and he plans to donate about 150 more for all parish government employees as his way of saying thanks for their work in public service.

Nicky Prejean, owner of Southland Fire and Safety Equipment in Gonzales, donated the five-pound, class ABC fire extinguishers and gave a five-minute training session on their use. Prejean said he would follow up distributing approximately 450 total extinguishers to parish employees in all departments during the upcoming weeks.

“After speaking with (Parish) President (Tommy) Martinez and getting his permission to do this, I just wanted to show that I’m really appreciative of parish government and all the workers because they help a lot of people and do a lot of good things,” Prejean said. “Plus it’s Christmas time and I thought they could use them at home. A lot of them may not have one at their homes.”

Prejean bought 17,000 of the units from a salvage company that had purchased a bulk supply from FEMA for pennies on the dollar.

“If you bought one of these in Walmart, these things would cost $50.00,” Prejean said.

Prejean said he is doing the same thing for employees with the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office and the City of Gonzales.

Prejean gave a five-minute training session on the use of the fire extinguishers before handing out more than 300 of them out of the back of a truck to the employees at the Department of Public Works building on Churchpoint Road.

“Not only do I want you (employees) to know how to use it, but I encourage you to show your wife and your older children how to use it.” Prejean said to the employees. “With a five-pound fire extinguisher, if your home, boat, lawnmower or automobile catches fire, it’s better than a fire truck with 500 gallons of water if you’re there quickly to extinguish the fire.”

Prejean said the Class ABC fire extinguishers are dry chemical, multi-purpose units.

According to Donaldsonville Fire Chief Chuck Montero, Class A extinguishers are for ordinary combustible materials such as paper, wood, cardboard, and most plastics.Class B fires involve flammable or combustible liquids such as gasoline, kerosene, grease and oil.Class C fires involve electrical equipment, such as appliances, wiring, circuit breakers and outlets.