Virginia, MNfire department


ERT (Emergency Response Team)

The Emergency Response Team (ERT) is a team of approximately 40 St. Louis County Sheriff's Deputies and eight Virginia Fire Department Paramedics. The Sheriff's Department approached Virginia Fire back in 1989 and requested medical support on SWAT style operations.

     Eight Virginia Firefighter/Paramedics comprise the medical team. Paramedics are essential not only in the treating of traumatic injuries faced by the ERT element but as a capable resource  in the event of cardiac or medical complications from responders, victims or suspects.  A number of studies have validated the importance in terms of lives saved, by having specialized medics as part of an ERT. Training is  conducted with the entire team monthly, on a very wide range of life-like scenarios. New members are sent through a week long Tactical Emergency Medical Services (TEMS) course at Camp Ripley.  St. Louis County pays the $2,500 fee per member that this training costs. Currently, medics assigned to the team do not carry firearms. A minimum of one armed deputy is assigned to each Medic throughout an actual incident or call out operation.

     In 2015, the team has three call outs or activations. Two were mutual aid calls to respond to Itasca County. The third activation was in Virginia. All involved barricaded subjects armed with rifles, and the number of hostages at the time of activation was unknown. All these incidents ended without injury. A fully equipped ALS ambulance, and a minimum of three Tactical Medics attend all training events as well as respond to all incidents. Team medics are trained in K-9 life saving treatments by local veterinarians. We have designated the Emergency Room at St. Mary's in Duluth as a destination to transport any police K-9 in need of emergent lifesaving care.