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Blog Archive: June 2018


A lit sparkler in a person's handHow not to spend the Fourth of July in the ER

June 28

When it comes to fireworks, no one’s more careful than you, right? Sure, the ones that fly and explode are illegal, but the kids love them, and you always take precautions. The thing is, that’s what every fireworks burn victim and homeowner looking at fire damage due to fireworks thought, too. There’s a reason fireworks that fly and explode are illegal. Ultimately, it just doesn’t make sense to trust a flaming projectile to land safely away from your roof or car or eye or child. In 2017, 86 people went to the hospital in Minnesota for fireworks injuries...

A couple on a motorcycle

Talking about the elephant in the room

June 25

“Scott, we’ve gotcha.” These three words saved Scott Geiselhart’s life in 2014. Hours before, the volunteer firefighter and father of two had attempted suicide with what he thought was a fail-safe method. But his method failed. Scott believes that happened for a reason. In the 1990s, Scott’s fire department acquired a Jaws of Life. “We trained hard and started going out on calls,” Scott says. “We saw a lot of fatalities right off the bat.” Scott started having nightmares, seeing his kids in the gnarled remains of the cars he pulled apart. He started self-medicating with alcohol, and later, meth...

A couple on a motorcycle

Motorcycle safety: Control what you can

June 21

When you’re riding your motorcycle, there are a lot of things you can’t control. It would be easy to think that your safety is out of your hands entirely. Fortunately, that’s not true. There are specific things you can do to ensure that your next ride – and every one after – is as safe as possible. You can’t control what fellow motorists do. Preliminary numbers show that of the 20 fatal motorcycle crashes so far in 2018, eight included another vehicle. But you can make a crash with another vehicle less likely by wearing brightly colored protective gear. The bright colors will make you more visible...

Minnesota REAL ID graphic

What’s the deal with REAL ID?

June 18

You’ve heard about REAL ID off and on for a while now. You know you will be able to apply for one starting October 1. But a glance at your license tells you it expires this summer. What should you do? The answer is simple: If you have a driver’s license or ID card that expires before October 1, just renew it as you normally would. Because Minnesota is on track to issue REAL ID-compliant cards later this year, you should be able to use your standard driver’s license or identification card for domestic air travel or access to federal facilities until 2020...

A teen behind the wheel of a car

Teen driving practice: It’s not just for summer anymore!

June 14

Now that school is out and your family’s schedule is (hopefully) a little less crazy, it’s a great time to take the car out with your teen for some driving practice. After all, the weather is warm, there’s a lot more daylight, and the roads are dry: perfect conditions under which to learn to drive, right? Right…but there’s more to it than that. Your teen needs practice driving on dry pavement in broad daylight, it’s true. But they also need practice driving on icy pavement in the dark, or on dirt roads at dusk. Which means summer is a great time for driving practice, but it needs to continue all year round...

A handgun in an evidence bag

The life cycle of crime scene evidence

June 11

If you’re like most of us, you learned everything you know about evidence from cop shows. The real thing is not as simple and may or may not be missing the surly but lovable evidence locker guard with the heart of gold. To find out what happens to evidence after intake, let’s follow a gun used in a crime and see what happens to it. A law enforcement officer has two options to get the gun to a BCA Evidence Intake Sections in Bemidji, St. Cloud or St. Paul: They can send it via mail service or hand deliver it. The law enforcement officer also provides specific forms...

A 911 dispatcher responds to a text

Text-to-911 is six months old and going strong

June 7

An estimated 10 to 14 percent of Minnesotans have hearing loss, and when you look at the over-65 crowd, that number jumps to nearly one third. That’s a lot of people who need to be able to contact 911 via nontraditional methods. So when Text-to-911 was launched six months ago, it was a direct benefit to the deaf and hard of hearing community. What’s surprising, though, is how many other groups have benefited from being able to summon emergency services via text. So far, 911 dispatchers have received texts from people unable to speak because of panic attacks, asthma attacks...

A child pins a badge on a new state trooper

Thirty-one ways the State Patrol is even better than before

June 4

You hear them before you see them: The steady beat of dozens of boots on the arena floor, their commander’s voice calling out in time. And then they emerge from either side of the stage: 31 men and women of all different sizes and ages and colors. But their commonalities are more obvious than their differences. Ramrod-straight backs. Solemn expressions that acknowledge the formidable responsibility they are about to accept. And the uniform. They’re all wearing that maroon and gold uniform. They are about to become Minnesota State Troopers...