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Tuesday, August 02, 2011
Partnership between ACHD and local fire departments creates unique opportunity and saves dollars

Meridian- Thanks to a new partnership between the Ada County Highway District (ACHD) and the Meridian and Boise fire departments, select ACHD-owned structures identified as unusable and unsellable are providing a training ground for fire crews to gain experience working in new and unfamiliar environments.

When an intersection or road needs to be widened to serve growth and its transportation demands, ACHD must sometimes acquire properties with homes or buildings on them for construction. Partnering with the fire departments benefits the Highway District by providing a cost-effective means of removing the surplus structures, which are identified when access has been eliminated by a road project and the house or building cannot be resold or is unsafe for living.

The Meridian and Boise fire departments will burn three houses throughout the next month and fire crews will use them for training exercises.

Already, more than seven hundred training hours have been logged by the Meridian Fire Department in four ACHD-owned structures this summer. "We have been able to do training exercises such as search and rescue for civilian victims, firefighter survival and we’ve also trained new fire fighters—many of these are exercises we cannot do in our fixed training facilities," said Meridian Fire Department Division Chief, Chris Amenn. For ACHD, the partnership reduces the cost of demolition, saving an average of $6,000 per structure. ACHD acquires properties only when mandatory for a road improvement project and does so under specific conditions. When surplus structures cannot be re-sold or are not cost-effective to repair, they are removed.

Visual Opportunity:

Fire crews will continue with training exercises this Wednesday, August 3 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at a house located at 3175 North Ten Mile Road. They will initiate and extinguish multiple fires within the house and will later remove it through a controlled burn. Crews will be on scene throughout the entire process. Any materials remaining on the property will be removed in the following days. The burn is dependent on weather and air-quality; if conditions are not favorable, the burn will be rescheduled.

ACHD will work with the Boise Fire Department on two additional structure burns-- one in August and one in early September.

 
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