Brian Peteritas is a GOVERNING contributor.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
After a rash of fires in abandoned buldings, Camden, N.J., officials have sought ways to prevent future occurences. A pilot program "Boots on the Ground" has been launched with the state's Bureau of Emergency Response that sends teams of investigators into the abandoned structures to map potential hazards such as leftover chemicals, combustible materials, mold, and any structural issues. From these scouting visits property profiles are created that also include information on the construction materials of the building and the nearest fire hydrants, hospitals, and schools. The profiles are then made available through the mobile computer systems of first responders. So far the program has mapped out 31 buildings since its inception earlier this summer and the city is looking to take the collected data one step further by tracking down building owners and forcing them to remove hazards that have been discovered.