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Ready for a Chemical Spill on Minnesota Railways

CAT members on top of rail car
​A variety of materials are transported on Minnesota’s railways. From grains and livestock, to crude oil and hazardous materials, first responders need to be ready to keep you safe in the event of railway emergency. That is why members of Minnesota chemical assessment teams (CATs) recently trained with local responders, state agencies and railroads in a unique scenario.

First responders worked in tandem with the railroads to identify safety threats on rail cars carrying anhydrous ammonia and chlorine. Their goal was to contain the spill or leak while preserving the safety of those who live and work around the scene.  The training was facilitated by the Department of Public Safety Homeland Security and Emergency Management division (HSEM), which manages the state’s 11 CATs. The scenarios played out at a Camp Ripley training facility, which will be enhanced with $3.5M in bonding money that was approved in the last legislative session. 


Hurricane Devastation can be Overwhelming: Helping Doesn’t Have to be

How to Help Hurricane Maria SurvivorsDestroyed buildings. Homeless families. Flooded land. The images coming out of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands following Hurricane Maria are devastating. And the recovery efforts will likely last weeks, months and years to come.

Americans are taking action to help the survivors. But the myriad of options can be overwhelming. Here are three ways you can aid survivors in the recovery efforts:

  1. Cash is best! Donate money to trusted voluntary, faith and community-based charitable organizations. They will be able to purchase goods or services that are needed most.
  2. Donate goods responsibly. Unsolicited donations often take valuable resources away from providing services.
  3. Boots on the ground. Volunteers should be affiliated with a known organization and never self-deploy to a disaster area.
Review Gov. Mark Dayton’s news release that details how you can help and how Minnesota is taking action.  

State Disaster Declaration Provides aid to Redwood, Renville Counties

Severe thunderstorms are never scheduled. And that’s where the State Disaster Contingency Account steps in to reimburse local governments for costs incurred during an emergency. Gov. Mark Dayton today authorized state disaster assistance for Redwood and Renville counties following an August 16 storm that washed out roads and overwhelmed drainage systems. A section of a regional railway was also damaged.

HSEM staff conducted damage assessments in both counties and identified $901,000 in eligible expenses. Under the law, the state reimburses 75 percent of eligible costs, with local governments covering 25 percent.

Review Gov. Dayton’s authorization letter.

The Dollars and Cents of Storm Recovery

Toppled tree at Big Stone County Golf CourseWhen a storm causes damage to public infrastructure, it can really throw your life off track. You depend on roads, water and utilities every day, and perhaps parks, schools and other public buildings, too.

So how do your local and county government agencies get things up and running again? It’s a little thing called the State Disaster Contingency Account.

Learn about it in the latest DPS blog.

Featured Video

Video Description: This video shows what happens behind the scenes during an exercise in the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC).