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Boreal Emergency Preparedness Portal

A Boreal Exclusive - Meet Beth Ambrosen from the Cook County Search and Rescue Team

Mar 25, 2019 02:40PM ● By Editor

Beth Ambrosen with her Search and Rescue "Go Pack".  Photo:  Boreal Community Media

Exclusive from Boreal Community Media - March 18, 2019

Lisa Bauer from Boreal Community Media recently met with Beth Ambrosen from Hovland.  Beth is one of the unsung heroes who volunteers countless hours as a member of the Cook County Search and Rescue team.  Beth has been involved with the Search and Rescue team for three years and holds the position of Lieutenant. She became interested when she learned that there was a need for responders on the east end of the County.  She also had backwoods experience that she could bring to the table. 

According to Beth, there are three halls within Cook County that fall under the jurisdiction of the Cook County Sheriff:

  • Grand Marais
  • Lutsen/Tofte
  • Gunflint Trail

She stated that Forest Service, Border Patrol, and Cook County Deputies are great agencies to work with when they are doing searches.  One interesting fact that she shared was there are no charges billed to the party who needs assistance from the Search and Rescue teams.  Their services are free of charge.  Search and Rescue team trainings are held each month and cover the following:  Ropes, water rescue, and GPS and navigation training.  

Beth said that she grabs a “Go Pack” whenever she is called out. Items in the pack include:

  • 3 sources of light
  • GPS
  • 1st Aid kit
  • Trail markers
  • Ropes
  • Throw ropes
  • Batteries
Items from Beth's Go Pack.  Photo:  Boreal Community Media

Beth is also a member of the STOP Team in Hovland.  This is a new program that is responsible for traffic control and blocking off scenes, to help keep responding crews safe.  The number of emergency responders that get hit by cars is staggering. The STOP protocols are in the process of being adopted on a national level.

According to Beth, “Finding someone successfully when there is a good outcome in a real emergency” is the best part of her search and rescue role.  For her, the worst parts are body retrievals and suicides. Even first responders are not immune to being traumatized by these situations.

Beth’s advice for anyone venturing out into the wilderness is to “hope for the best but plan for the worst.”  Even a walk can become a huge ordeal if a person gets lost. She highly recommends anyone venturing out to take a small survival kit.  She also suggested that anyone with a medical condition take a satellite phone when going out into the wilderness. She stressed that everyone should know their equipment, especially when it comes to spot beacons.  Hitting the wrong button on those devices can cause false alarms. 

Beth said that the search and rescue teams are busiest in the spring and early summer (May and June) when people start venturing outdoors.  When conditions change in January and February, they also see a spike in calls. 

In her “spare time”, Beth provides accounting services for 12 businesses in Cook County.  She lives in Hovland and is married to Kerry, who is also on the Hovland Fire Department. She enjoys canoeing and the outdoors.

If you have an interest in joining the Search and Rescue team, stop by or call the Sheriff’s Office and ask to speak to Christopher Schrupp, who is the Deputy Liaison.  Meetings are held on the 2nd Wednesday of each month, for anyone wanting to attend. 

Thanks for all that you do, Beth!


Learn how you can volunteer to make a difference in Cook County!

Cook County is always in need of dedicated volunteers for public safety - volunteer fire departments, EMR/EMT units, Search and Rescue, scene safety STOP Teams, even ambulance drivers and many more opportunities to serve the community. 

“There are many different roles that can make a huge difference,” said Valerie Marasco, Director – Emergency Management & Public Information. “It doesn’t take as much time as people would think, offers great opportunities to learn new skills, build camaraderie and be part of something bigger. Although many of our young people aren’t necessarily thinking about this now, but being an active member even offers retirement benefits.”

Learn all the benefits of helping others, working with state-of-the-art equipment in combating structure and wildfires, search and rescue missions, and other life-saving roles. Contact your local volunteer fire department, Search & Rescue or the Emergency Management Office today at 218-387-3059 to get involved.