ST. LOUIS CO., MN-- In 2020, the St. Louis County Rescue Squad put in more than 26,000 hours during some tragic times.
Last year also marked the fifth consecutive year the rescue squad performed over 400 missions.
"We are not in the life-saving business, I don't like when people say that, we're in the helping people out of a jam business," said Captain Rick Slatten.
Responding to water emergencies, missing persons, or medical calls, those long hours come with thousands of dollars worth of equipment and training.
With that being said, the squad is asking the community for donations, once again.
Residents may have received an envelope in the mail.
"We're our teaching institution for medical certification," said Slatten. "So a lot of medical supplies, medical aide, training simulation, things like that."
After responding to seven fatal water emergencies already this year, more than all of summer 2020, the squad also hopes to increase its water rescue gear with more Swiftwater rigs.
"Everything from rivers, like St. Louis River, when Lake Superior gets angry offshore," Slatten said. "We're slowly trying to ramp up, it costs about 2 thousand dollars to buy a Swiftwater rig."
For the Duluth Fire Department, having community partners like the Rescue Squad is critical especially during water emergencies.
"They have a lot more resources than we do," adds Fire Chief Shawn Krizaj. "As far as boats go, they have quite a few boats and some other specialty water equipment so if we're looking for a possible drowning victim, they're a vital part of that."
The squad also receives funding through state and federal grants.
But, as a completely volunteer-run organization, Slatten says they rely largely on donations from the community.
For more information on how to donate, click here.