611 West Main Street
Marshall, MN 56258
C.A.T. is an abbreviation for Chemical Assessment Team. This is the third and newest department within the City of Marshall Public Safety Division, joining the much older Marshall Fire Department and Marshall Police Department.
The C.A.T.'s were formed in 1995 to provide for hazardous materials or "HazMat" responses in Minnesota. They were funded primarily by funds the State received from their 302 sites. There were 10 C.A.T.'s and four larger Emergency Response Team's or E.R.T.'s. The C.A.T.'s were intended to have highly trained response personnel able to give technical advice and to chemical monitoring for the local first responders when a hazardous materials spill occurred. Most of these teams are part of larger Fire Departments throughout Minnesota. The E.R.T.'s have been reduced to one in St. Paul, but in 2002 the City of Marshall received funding to establish the 11th C.A.T. , putting a team in Southwestern Minnesota. Despite all of the industrial/agricultural chemicals used and transported in our region in the past we were covered by the teams in Morris, MN or Mankato, MN. Hazardous materials spills don't happen often, but when they do, time is critical for providing for life-safety because they are by their very nature dangerous.
Our team is unique that we are not a fire department. Marshall has a great fire department, but it is a paid volunteer department. A great deal of training is necessary to build up proficiency for a HazMat response. Our Fire Department's focus is firefighting and rescue. Marshall's local industries, Schwan Food Company, and Archer Daniel's Midland (A.D.M.), formerly Minnesota Corn Processors, deal with hazardous materials in the course of their normal business operations and have formed their own HazMat response teams. The Southwest Minnesota Chemical Assessment Team is like a paid volunteer fire department. Its members have full-time jobs, but are able to leave their jobs when needed to respond for the team. Most of our members are members of the Schwan Food Company or A.D.M. HazMat teams. Team members receive significant training they can use while at their full-time jobs and the team has a unique amount of equipment available for a hazardous materials response. Our C.A.T. is able to respond anywhere as needed within the City of Marshall. When sent outside of the City of Marshall the team is either training or responding as State of Minnesota employees who are dispatched by the Minnesota Duty Officer. The team response is at no cost to local jurisdictions who need their help, but there is usually a cost to the hazardous materials release responsible party. Our local HazMat team is able to help first responders throughout Southwestern Minnesota keep the public safe in instances of hazardous materials spills.