LAW & PUBLIC SAFETYRescue SquadWhat We Do   

What We Do

Saving Lives in Emergency Situations

Since the Rescue Squad was founded in 1958, the total call load has been approximately 40 percent wilderness related (searches and rescues), 25 percent public safety (motor vehicle accidents and medical emergencies), and 35 percent split between water and miscellaneous calls.

Wilderness Search Boat and Water Safety - Mustang Suits First Aid and Public Safety - Rappelling photo

The Rescue Squad’s missions and roles can be divided into three broad categories:

  • Wilderness Search and Rescue

  • Boat and Water Safety

  • First Aid and Public Safety

Wilderness Search and Rescue Boat and Water Safety First Aid and Public Safety

Cliffside rescue trainingWilderness Searches: The Rescue squad conducts searches in the wilderness areas of St. Louis County, and in neighboring counties when requested. Subjects include lost or missing hunters, hikers, berry-pickers, campers, canoeists, and downed aircraft. The Rescue Squad also assists sheriff’s deputies in locating evidence such as weapons and stolen property. Their busiest time of the year has, traditionally, been the Minnesota Firearms Deer season.

Wilderness Rescues: The Rescue Squad performs Locate/Access/Stabilize/Transport (LAST) services for victims of snowmobile and ATV accidents, as well as other medical and trauma emergencies that occur in wilderness and backwoods areas.

High-Level/Steep Angle Rescues:  The Rescue Squad is equipped and trained in the use of a variety of rappelling, lowering, and hauling systems. These range from simple one-to-one (1:1) systems for bringing a car accident patient up an embankment, to vertical pick-offs for stranded rock climbers.

Aircraft Crash Rescue/Recovery/Security: The Rescue Squad will locate, access, and if necessary, extricate, treat, and transport victims and patients of aircraft crashes. They also assist deputies in maintaining perimeter security until NTSB and FAA investigators arrive on-scene.

Search and Rescue Instruction: The Rescue Squad offers an excellent competency-based Land Navigation course that is approved by the State of Minnesota for Law Enforcement continuing education. This course is designed to accommodate all skill levels from novice to expert, and has been administered to game wardens, law enforcement officers, and tactical response team members, as well as the general public.

The Rescue Squad also conducts training on Wilderness Search Techniques to EMS agencies throughout Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, and provinces of Canada. They recently began teaching wilderness survival techniques to a variety of groups.

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St. Louis County Sheriff Ross Litman

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