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Skills

Skills Needed for the Rescue Squad

Rescue Squad members are required to certify to at least the Minnesota First Responder level. However, advanced certifications, including EMT, Paramedic, and RN are welcomed.

Squad members must also demonstrate proficiency on squad equipment, including boats, all terrain vehicles (ATV's), radios, GPS receivers, and other gear.

The Rescue Squad has a number of members who are trained in specialized skills. These are tasks which require training above and beyond the basic search and rescue skills such as first aid, cross country navigation, wilderness survival, emergency driving, and small boat handling.

These skills include: 

  • Helicopter Rappel Team
  • Human Trackers
  • K-9 Teams
  • Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV)
Helicopter Rappel Human Trackers K-9 ROV

On the Trail

St. Louis County Rescue Squad uses 3 types of dogs to assist with searching: trailing dogs, air-scenting dogs, and cadaver dogs.

 K-9 Handler and cadaver K-9  Cadaver dog checking the water  Cadaver dog scenting up a tree

Trailing dogs:
 Capable of following the scent of a specific person over long distances (up to several miles).  Depending on conditions, these dogs can often find that person even after several days have passed. To follow an individual, these dogs require a “scent article” to get them started. A scent article is a piece of gauze which has been placed on something which was last touched by the missing party. This can be a piece of clothing, the seat of a vehicle, or even a bed or pillow.

Air-Scenting Dogs: Trained to find and follow human scent, but are not capable of discriminating the specific scent of an individual, like a bloodhound can. These dogs are quite efficient at locating humans within a search area, they are estimated as being approximately 20 times more effective than a human searcher. Unfortunately, their inability to distinguish one individual from another sometimes limits their effectiveness in areas contaminated with lots of human activity. The dog's natural tendency is to follow the freshest human scent, which may or may not be the missing party.

Cadaver Dogs: Specifically trained to locate the scent of humans remains. They are used in situations where the missing subject is known or suspected to be deceased. They are able to detect human remains on land, buried, and underwater and are useful in detecting human remains from very recent deaths to deaths that occurred several decades ago, or possibly longer. K-9 Ike and K-9 Ted currently work with the St. Louis County Rescue Squad.  

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St. Louis County Sheriff Ross Litman

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