The Adams and Jefferson County Hazardous Response Authority (AJCHRA) is an autonomous government entity created through an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) between the two counties and run by a Board of Directors. The Board of Directors is selected by member agencies and represents cities and towns, law enforcement, fire departments/districts and others interested in hazardous materials emergency response. The City and County of Broomfield is also included in the AJCHRA through its relationship with the North Metro Fire Rescue Authority. The AJCHRA is funded through yearly contributions controlled by the respective boards of county commissioners as approved within the IGAs. This cooperative approach has led to “A Government Partnership Committed to Service.”
In 1977, a joint Mutual Aid Agreement was developed among the fire departments of Adams County. These agencies recognized the need for hazardous materials response, while recognizing the burden it placed on each agency. In 1991, the Adams County Commissioners adopted a resolution approving an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) for joint hazardous materials response within the county. The resolution launched the joint Adams County Haz-Mat Response system.
Similarly, in 1980 a group of concerned first responders in Jefferson County representing fire department, fire districts, law enforcement and emergency managers met to bring about a countywide response team. With the large costs associated with hazardous materials response, as well as continuing laws governing the requirements and training for responders, it was apparent the most prudent and cost effective mechanism at that time was the formation of a county wide hazardous materials response team.
A significant hazardous materials incident took place in Adams County in August of 1995. Mutual aid was requested and received from the Jefferson County Hazardous Material Response Team. This joint effort was a major factor in the successful mitigation of the incident. After this event, the two County Haz-Mat Boards met to discuss how they each could provide better service to their members as well as the population as a whole, while operating more cost effective and efficiently. There was also a desire to operate in a more dynamic yet safe environment. This lead to a decision to operate the two teams jointly. The success of this program resulted in the signing of the “Intergovernmental Agreement Establishing the Adams and Jefferson County Hazardous Response Authority” in October of 1997. The HazMat team consists of specially trained individuals that are part of the fire departments/districts, law enforcement agencies and other specialized personnel within member agencies of the Authority. While hazardous materials are not new, interest in the subject has greatly increased due to several factors including, training requirements, regulatory environment, and special hazards such as terrorism, drug labs, and environmental crimes.
What We Do
- Respond to assist with Clandestine Drug Labs by providing HazMat support to the North Metro and West Metro Drug Task Forces when requested by the local police or fire jurisdiction. Assist fire departments and highway departments during transportation accidents involving Hazardous Materials.
- Develop preplanning and contingency responses plans at fixed site facilities in the event of leaks and spills.
- Identify and oversee proper handling and disposal of abandoned chemicals
- Train for and exercise for immediate and proper response to WMD/CBRNE terrorism.
- Hazardous Material response training for all level of emergency workers.
- Assist with legislative development of laws and regulations such as the hazardous materials routing, and drug endangered child statutes.
- Review and evaluate new products developed for hazardous materials response.
- Provide technical assistance to member agencies regarding hazardous materials response and disposal.
- Provide multi-county regional response in safe and efficient manner with trained personnel to communities within Adams, Jefferson, Broomfield Counties.
How We Do It
- By consolidating equipment, supplies, and personnel we are able to pool resources for use in an efficient and cost effective manner.
- Eliminate redundant costly instrumentation that is seldom used by any one agency.
- Provide uniform training to over 150 hazardous material technicians.
- Through Mutual Aid Agreements, personnel are provided by member agencies which allow overtime and backfill costs to be reduced to manageable and predicable levels.
- Evolve as a team, to provide safe flexible responses to hazardous material events based on local needs.
- Reduce nuisance calls through training and education.
The needs and expectations of hazardous materials teams have grown exponentially in today’s society. The AJCHRA has been very successful in obtaining modern equipment that would have otherwise been cost prohibitive through the federal homeland security grant programs. This equipment is very technologically advanced and subsequently expensive to use and maintain. It is extremely cost effective for this type of equipment to be used on a regional basis. It is for this very reason, that the AJCHRA has been successful in the grant process.
The Federal Government provides this equipment to local government under the condition that the end users will maintain and sustain that equipment. This type of equipment was not available to hazmat teams during the development of the AJCHRA. At the time of the IGA no provisions were made for the increased cost of such expensive and high tech equipment. The AJCHRA is proud of the estimated 1.2 million dollars worth of assets that have been acquired through the grant process. This equipment is a much needed addition to the AJCHRA to ensure the safety of team members and citizens of Adams, Jefferson and Broomfield Counties.