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Blog Archive: October 2019


Two children in Halloween costumes running down a sidewalk

Halloween safety isn’t just for kids

Oct. 31

When you think of Halloween, you probably think of kids trick-or-treating in creative costumes, not of adults partying. But Halloween remains one of the top days of the year for DWI arrests in Minnesota, and last year, there were 18 alcohol-related crashes on Halloween night. And considering that more child pedestrians are injured or killed on Oct. 31 than any other day of the year, Halloween is a night when both adults and kids need to keep safety at the top of their transplanted Frankenstein brains...


An inspector looks at a section of pipe at a construction site

How a perfect score in pipeline safety can help keep you safe

Oct. 28

When you go about your daily life, you probably don’t think about the nearly 69,000 miles of pipeline under our feet here in Minnesota. Sure, some of them bring gas to your stove, ensure your home is heated and your car is fueled up, but that’s about as interesting as those thousands of miles of pipeline get for the general public. And that’s OK. Because the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Office of Pipeline Safety (MNOPS) is very interested, and their interest keeps you safe. MNOPS regulates natural gas, propane and hazardous liquid pipeline operators in our state...


Minnesota Sports Squares card

There’s a wrong way to make football season more exciting

Oct. 24

The snacks. The beer. The camaraderie. And that unmatchable boost of adrenaline when your team scores a touchdown. Yes, there are so many reasons to love football. And if you choose to make it a little more interesting by betting on the outcome, well, what’s the problem with that? The problem is that sports betting is illegal in any business establishment in Minnesota – think bars and restaurants where you would watch the game. Any bar owner in Minnesota who runs or allows illegal gambling operations on their premises can face regulatory sanctions and fines...


A map background with overlaid dots displaying GIS terms like address points, street names and edge matching

Faster help is better help

Oct. 21

During an emergency, it’s hard to think straight. When you call or text for help, the 911 dispatcher will want to know where you are, but unless you happen to be at home, your hurt and frightened brain may not be able to pull that information out of thin air. And what if you’re at a vacation rental? What if you’re on a county highway in the dark and you didn’t take note of the last mile marker you saw? Unlike land lines, cell phones aren’t associated with any one place. But in 2018, wireless devices were used to make over 80 percent of 911 calls in Minnesota. Which means that our 102 public safety...


#OneThing graphic with a box of old pictures

Domestic violence is an equal-opportunity destroyer

Oct. 17

You could call domestic violence an equal-opportunity destroyer. It doesn’t discriminate. Victims and their abusers can be male or female, young or old, gay or straight. They can be any race, any religion. Rich or poor; any level of education; married, living together or dating: Anyone can have their lives altered and even destroyed by domestic violence. When you hear the term “domestic violence” or “relationship violence,” you might think of the classic story of the woman coming to work with unexplained bruises, saying she “walked into a door” or ...


A firefighter walking in front of a burning home

Fire in Minnesota: The people behind the numbers

Oct. 14

Teresa was an artist. Todd was a computer analyst. Tom retired from the U.S. Postal Service after 35 years and played in a rock band, and Carter couldn’t wait to graduate from high school. Louise was an elementary teacher in St. Paul for 40 years, and Thomas was an iron worker. Rebecca managed a liquor store and loved softball. These seven people came from such diverse backgrounds, families and places. Different ages, different jobs and hobbies. But they, along with 30 other people, died in fires in Minnesota in 2018. It’s a tragic thing to have in common...


A motorcyclist on a curvy road

Fall riding hazards and how to avoid them

Oct. 10

There are still a few beautiful days here and there, and if you’re a motorcyclist, you’re probably squeezing out those last few rides before the snow flies. So it’s a good time to remember that you share the road with not only motorcyclists and other drivers, but sometimes with animals. Eight motorcyclists died as a result of a crash with an animal last year (most were deer, but there were other animals, too, including a moose). That ties the all-time record for fatal motorcycle crashes involving an animal. To date in 2019, three riders have died in collisions with animals...


A family looking over their escape plan diagram

Practice makes safety

Oct. 7

Remember playing baseball in the backyard, when the dog ran through the game and grabbed the ball? You and your friends could just call a do-over and try again. Or what about the first time you tried to make your grandma’s bread recipe? It came out inedible. But you called a do-over and tried again. There are some things in life where you’ll never get a do-over, though. Escaping a fire is great example. If you don’t carry out your fire escape plan correctly (or worse, if you don’t have an escape plan at all), you may not get another chance to do it right—you have to do it right the first time...


Hands on a steering wheel and a phone in a dash mount

Break the habit: Drive with a hands-free device

Oct. 3

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past two months, you know that Minnesota now has a hands-free cell phone law. But habits are hard to break, whether it’s stopping smoking, cutting down on screen time, or just going to bed earlier. And if your habit is talking on your phone while driving without a hands-free device, you’ll need to break it right away. It may help to know that there’s a precedent for breaking such habits, though. For example, up until the 1980s, most people were in the habit of leaving their seat belt off in the car...