North Metro Chemical Assessment Team (CAT)
Coon Rapids Fire partners with departments from the surrounding areas of Fridley and SBM Fire (Spring Lake Park, Blaine, Moundsview) to form a contracted Chemical Assessment Team (CAT). Minnesota has 11 CAT teams, each responsible for a geographical area. A truck and trailer equipped with sophisticated equipment is housed between Coon Rapids and SBM fire stations.
Primary responsibilities of a CAT include hazard assessment, technical assistance, simple mitigation and basic decontamination. CATs professional responders are trained to exceed OSHA and NFPA competencies and provide technical support and monitoring to incident commanders; specialized equipment and reference materials and additional support to other state agencies as needed.
CATs can also sample for identification of unknown substances, monitor air, plume projection, make evacuation/sheltering recommendations, over pack/containment of a container and sample collection (not evidence).
CATs do not assume overall command of a local incident, clean or transport hazardous materials, mitigate explosive devices or clandestine drug labs or respond to waste abandonment.
Team members are highly trained in chemistry, hazardous materials and monitoring equipment. The team participates in training drills twice a month.
The Coon Rapids Fire Department participates in the Anoka County Fire Training Academy Firefighter I & II Recruit School. This collaboration prepares recruits to meet job performance requirements for career and volunteer firefighters whose duties are primarily structural in nature as described in NFPA 1001 Standard on Fire Fighter Professional Qualification 2008 Edition and NFPA 1500 Fire Department Occupational Safety and Health Program 2007 Edition.
Classroom and training instruction includes firefighter skills, fire behavior, fire control techniques, fire ground operations, salvage, hazardous materials and incident command. Training ground activities allow recruits to use their knowledge and master basic manipulative firefighter skills. The academy is a total of 178 hours, meeting twice a week for six months.
Several Coon Rapids firefighters serve as instructors and director of operations for the academy.