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Cook County Adds Ropes Rescue to Emergency Response Roster

Dec 11, 2018 12:50PM ● By Editor
December 11, 2018 – Cook County is pleased to announce the addition of a High Angle/Swift Current Ropes Rescue Team to its emergency response capacity. An initiative of the Lutsen Fire Department, Cook County Emergency Management and Cook County Search & Rescue, eight inaugural members were trained over the course of two full weekends at the end of October.
“We identified a gap in response capacity and were able to work together to fill that void,” said Valerie Marasco, Director Emergency Management & Public Information. “We have some challenging landscapes and terrain here in Cook County and on numerous occasions, have seen the need for trained ropes and swift water rescuers. We now have highly trained responders that can answer that call.”
Eight emergency responders from across the County, volunteered to become trained Ropes team rescuers and serve on the specialty team including:

  • Matt Kartes, Ropes Team Captain – Lutsen Volunteer Fire Department/EMS
  • Ben Belland – Lutsen Volunteer Fire Department/EMS
  • Jim Morrison – Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department/Cook County Search & Rescue
  • Ruth Baumann – Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department
  • Jayne Fragale – Cook County Search & Rescue
  • Ben Seaton – Cook County Search & Rescue
  • Henry Walch – Lutsen Volunteer Fire Department/EMS
  • Bradley Vandoren - Lutsen Volunteer Fire Department/EMS

Thanks to grant funding from the North Shore Health Care Foundation, the team will be outfitted with the necessary rescue equipment and an additional eight to 10 members will be trained in 2019.

“We are extremely grateful to the North Shore Health Care Foundation for their support of this much needed life-saving resource that will benefit citizens and visitors to our County,” said Marasco. “This is a prime example of strategically working together to address response gaps and be better positioned to save lives and provide high level training to our responders.”

Additional swift current water and high angle ropes training will take place in the spring.


Contact:  Valerie Marasco, Director – Office of Emergency Management & Public Information,  218-387-5366 or [email protected]


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