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September 17, 2012
New program IDs hazards in abandoned buildings

A pilot program to locate and identify hazardous materials left behind or discarded in abandoned urban buildings is now under way. Named Boots on the Ground, the effort by the New Jersey Bureau of Emergency Response seeks to protect firefighters, emergency responders, and residents.

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The program is being rolled out in Camden, where a team of investigators completed inspections of 31 abandoned warehouses, industrial, and commercial buildings over the summer.

Data about the contents of the buildings will be made available to police and emergency personnel. If a fire or emergency occurs at one of the abandoned sites, responders and dispatchers will have digital access to the information.

Police Superintendent Rick Fuentes of the state’s Office of Emergency Management noted, “We believe each of these property profiles will benefit firefighters in terms of safety, while also reducing the risk of larger chemical fires that have occurred in Camden.”

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