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Blog Archive: December 2019


Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program graphic with charts and a smartphone

ODMAP: The more you know

Dec. 30

Whether you learned it in school or in life, you probably know that the first step of problem-solving is actually defining what the problem is. And the more complicated the problem, the more information you have to gather to define it. Various organizations and agencies in Minnesota, for example, are working to solve the problem of fatal drug overdoses and the influx of illicit narcotics, and now they have a tool to help them gather the information they need. It’s a software application called Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program (ODMAP), and it can be used on any mobile device...


A Wireless Emergency Alert on the screen of a smartphone

Upgrading Wireless Emergency Alerts

Dec. 27

If you have a cell phone, chances are you’ve received an AMBER Alert or a weather alert. The loud tone and the buzzing likely warned you of flash flooding or another imminent danger in your area. They’re called Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs), and they’re sure to get your attention. WEAs are a part of the Integrated Wireless Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), which is managed by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety division of Emergency Communication Networks. After seven years of service, WEAs are getting a much needed update...


Denice Johnson holds a portable carbon monoxide alarm

How a battery can save your life

Dec. 26

It’s so common to get sick in the winter. Colds and flus are going around, so it may not be surprising if you or your family members experience headaches or fatigue. A flu might bring dizziness and shortness of breath, and other bugs can cause nausea and even confusion. But there’s something else that can cause all of these same symptoms and even death: carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide (CO) is that colorless, odorless gas that can emanate from fuel-burning heating or cooking devices if they’re not working right or aren’t ventilated properly...


Basic necessities like personal hygiene products on a table as volunteers pack Care on the Go bags

You can help provide Care on the Go

Dec. 23

How do you start a typical day? Get up, take a shower, brush your teeth, get dressed? Already, you’ve used several items that you probably don’t give a second thought to: clean socks, a toothbrush, shampoo. But if you were homeless, these basic necessities would be much more elusive. That’s why the Department of Public Safety (DPS) needs your help putting together “Care on the Go” packages. State troopers and staff from other DPS divisions will hand them out to the homeless whenever they encounter them. They’ll be giving the packages away all year long, but will focus on...


A dry Christmas tree and a watered Christmas tree after a fire demonstration. The dry tree is much more burned

Fire safety: The best holiday tradition

Dec. 19

Ah, the holidays: Whether we have a house full of friends and family or we retreat to a little cabin in the woods, many of us do some combination of heating, cooking, and lighting candles. Those three activities happen to be three of the leading causes of fires in Minnesota, especially around the holidays. Fortunately, if you add fire prevention to your holiday traditions, you can drastically lessen the likelihood that a fire truck will show up at your door along with Aunt Mae and her famous tater-tot hot dish. No matter what you’re cooking, there’s an easy way to remember the most important cooking...


Report for Road Test sign with a driver exam station building in the background

Schedule your teen’s spring break road test now

Dec. 16

With snow on the ground and holiday lights twinkling, it seems an odd time to be thinking about spring break. But your teen may be hoping to get their driver’s license at that point – as will many of their peers across the state. That could make the lines longer and the road test appointments harder to come by. Best to start planning now. You can now schedule your teen’s road test online or up to six months in advance. If you schedule it now, you’re much more likely to get a time slot that’s workable for your family...


Packs of seized drugs

Give the gift of help and hope

Dec. 12

Ask any child what they want to be when they grow up, and not one of them will say, “I want to be a drug addict.” It’s just not something anyone thinks they will ever be. And yet people die of overdoses from illicit drugs every day. When addicts are asked whether they ever thought they’d find themselves in such a situation, the answer is a resounding “no.” And that’s exactly the sort of attitude that mid- to upper-level drug dealers prey upon: You’ll keep coming back, despite your better judgment. Your tolerance will build, so you’ll need a bigger dose to achieve the same high...


A smartphone displaying the pre-application tool for driver's licenses and identification cards

Simplify your REAL ID application with our online tool

Dec. 9

We want to help you avoid making multiple trips to your local driver’s license office when applying for a REAL ID driver’s license or ID card as the Oct. 1, 2020 deadline nears. Applying for a REAL ID requires us to bring more documentation than we’re used to, but DPS has a tool to make sure you have everything you need before you ever walk out the door. It’s an online pre-application tool you can access from your computer or phone. You can use it to enter a significant portion of your driver’s license or ID card application – it’s not just for REAL ID – so that your driver’s license office will already...


Two women in a counseling session

How SPIP is helping make homes safe again

Dec. 5

If you’re safe in your own home, it’s probably not something you think about very much. You can go about your business without being threatened, hurt, belittled or even killed by the very person who is supposed to treat you with the most love, dignity and respect. But far too many women and children in Minnesota live with (and sometimes die from) domestic violence. The St. Paul and Ramsey County Domestic Abuse Intervention Project (SPIP) exists to end that state of affairs. Their mission is twofold: They work to eliminate violence against victims and their children, but they also work to eliminate...


A winter car crash scene with a state patrol squad parked on the shoulder of the road

What to do after a crash

Dec. 2

If you’ve never experienced it, count yourself lucky: The sickening thud that accompanies a car crash. The days—and sometimes weeks or months — of dealing with doctors and mechanics and insurance adjusters. The sinking feeling that if only you had left a little earlier or put your phone down or turned your headlights on, this might not have happened. But crashes happen every day in Minnesota — the State Patrol alone has handled over 41,000 so far this year. So it’s important to know what to do immediately after one happens...