By DeVinnia Moore
Living in the Ledge staff reporter
A motion to authorize the Grand Ledge Area Emergency Services Authority to conduct training exercises at the so-called old scout building was approved during a city council meeting on Oct. 12.
“The building was used most recently as a community center, senior center, reception hall and during community festivals,” said Fire Chief Casey Godlewski. “It got its name because it was used as a meeting place for the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts in years past.”
Back in July, the city council approved the decision to demolish the old scout building located in Jaycee Park.
“There were concerns regarding its structural integrity,” City Administrator Adam Smith said.
In a letter of commission, building inspector Michael Mowery suggested the building be demolished for safety and maintenance purposes.
Godlewski said Emergency Services has limited opportunities to train on real structures, this is why they take the opportunity to practice on houses or buildings before they are demolished.
“The DEQ (state Department of Environmental Quality) regulations have pretty much eliminated live burning training, so that portion of real world training isn’t offered as much,” Godlewski said.
“As the fire ground is not a training ground, most fire fighters today have some simulated training on evolution’s necessary to fight fire and not very often on actual structures,” Godlewski said.
Over the summer, Mayor Kalmin Smith sent an email to Grand Ledge residents stating the building is slated to be demolished later this year, Godlewski received that update.
“I received that update and asked if we could use it first for training, and he directed me to the city administrator,” said Godlewski. “I find it a bit mysterious that the Emergency Services had to follow these steps just to use a building that the city intends to remove or demolish, but it has provided us with a training opportunity that doesn’t come around that often, and for that it was worth the ‘extra’ effort.”
Adam Smith said the training start date is yet to be determined, as the city needs to clear building fixtures of value and complete an Asbestos-Containing Materials Inspection prior to commencement of training.
“Anytime we are able to provide training opportunities for municipal employees, especially emergency response, it better prepares them for real life incidents,” Adam Smith said. “So we take advantage of any structures within the jurisdiction that would provide real world training.”
Adam Smith and Godlewski agree that the training benefits the community of Grand Ledge.
“Training benefits everyone living within and visiting the jurisdiction so that alone is a direct benefit to the city,” Godlewski said.
For more information on the city council meeting, visit GrandLedge.com