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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

Motor vehicle extrication trainingPatient Extrication: The Rescue Squad is the primary response unit for townships that have no extrication capabilities, and the secondary response unit for those that do. “Extrication” involves the use of hand and power tools to free patients and victims who are trapped by wreckage or other obstacles. The most common application is motor vehicle accidents on the roads and highways of St. Louis County, but has included planes, trains, buildings, and other structures.

Emergency Medical First Response: All Rescue Squad members are trained in emergency medicine to at least the First Responder Level, with many holding Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and Paramedic certifications. The Rescue Squad is the primary response agency for townships with no First Responder network of their own, and is the secondary response unit for those that do. “First Response” is a part of the greater Emergency Medical Services (EMS) network, and involves providing pre-hospital emergency medical care to the sick and injured.

Aircraft Landing Zone Set-up: With the excellent First Responder coverage provided by local townships, and the long distances frequently encountered, Rescue Squad members often arrive on the scene of an emergency to find the medical treatment well in hand. Helicopter evacuation is often needed at these emergencies, and Rescue Squad members are trained in Aircraft Landing Zone (ALZ) set-up, as well as Latitude/Longitude navigation. Additionally, every Rescue Squad member is issued a handheld GPS unit and is trained in its use.

Traffic Control: Rescue Squad members are trained to safely, efficiently, and effectively direct traffic. Besides assisting deputies with traffic control at accident scenes, the Rescue Squad also provides assistance at special events, such as Grandma’s Marathon, the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon and the Duluth Airshow.

First Aid Standbys: The Rescue Squad provides standby first-aid services for several public events every year, such as softball and hockey tournaments, horse shows, fishing contests, and the St. Louis County Fair.

Disaster/MCI Response: When major disasters occur, such as tornadoes or commercial plane crashes, the entire EMS network swings into action. The Rescue Squad is an integral part of this effort, providing emergency medical, triage, and extrication services, as well as command post duties.

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St. Louis County Sheriff Ross Litman

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