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Blog Archive: September 2019

An enlarged Minnesota REAL ID driver's license displayed at MSP airport

REAL ID: The countdown continues

Sept. 30

It’s hard to believe, but Oct. 1, 2020, is one short year away. That means Minnesotans have just one year until the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s full REAL ID enforcement date. That’s a fancy way of saying that, as of Oct. 1, 2020, a standard Minnesota driver’s license or ID will no longer get you on a domestic U.S. flight or into a federal facility. Instead, you’ll need a REAL ID, passport, or enhanced driver’s license or ID...

View of trees through large windows at the school

A new, safer Minnehaha Academy

Sept. 26

The huge windows let in lots of light. You can gaze out to green spaces with beautiful trees, contemplating a fact you’ve just learned or letting your brain work out a math problem. The new Minnehaha Academy Upper School manages to be both a peaceful, safe place to learn and thrive and a memorial of the natural gas explosion that destroyed the old building and killed two people on Aug. 2, 2017. The Minnesota School Safety Center (MnSSC) has been with the academy every step of the way—even before the explosion occurred. MnSSC worked with administration on emergency...

Firefighters hand a folded flag to a man during a ceremony

The sacrifices that keep us safe

Sept. 23

It’s hard to know what makes someone enter a situation that could kill them. Some do it for glory. Some do it for money. Some just do it for the thrill. But some do it for the noblest reason: To save others’ lives and property. Firefighters fall into that last category, and sometimes the risks they take every day on behalf of others end in the ultimate sacrifice. That’s why we observe Fallen Firefighter Memorial Day every year. This Sunday, Sept. 29, a memorial service will take place on the Minnesota State Capitol Grounds to honor those Minnesota firefighters who have given their lives...

Minnesota Motor Vehicle Crash Facts 2018 report cover

Learning from tragedy

Sept. 19

Pick a day in 2018. Not an important day – not a birthday or vacation or celebration. Just pick an ordinary, even boring, day. You got up, maybe had some coffee, went to work, spent time with family or friends, had dinner, went to bed. And while you and the rest of us were going about our routine business on that random 2018 day, on average, there were 217 traffic crashes on Minnesota roads, 76 people were injured, and one person died. To reiterate: On average, one person died every single day in a crash in 2018. And as if the human cost weren’t enough, those crashes racked up an average daily...

Havana and her mother walk into the DPS Media Room during a news conference about child restraint and seat belt use

How extra seconds can buy you a lifetime

Sept. 16

Havana just started first grade. She likes M&Ms. She’s pretty quiet around grownups, but the slow, sweet smile that spreads across her face is contagious. She may sound like a typical kid, but her mom, Erica, describes her as “a miracle.” That’s because, in November 2015, doctors told Erica that Havana may never walk again. Her spine was broken when Erica’s vehicle – in which Havana and her two brothers were riding – was hit head-on by a drunk driver. The fact that, despite the odds, Havana now walks on her own is indeed a miracle, but she wouldn’t even be alive if not for Erica’s actions...

Minnesota Amber Alert Fundraiser Chairman Ronnie Trejo fingerprints a boy at a recent Night to Unite event

Putting the 'public' in public safety

Sept. 12

Public safety is not a one-way street. We can put out public safety messaging all day long, but unless someone hears it and acts on it, it’s ineffective. It’s not our words that keep the public safe; it’s the public’s actions. So every time you replace the batteries in your smoke alarms or encourage someone to buckle their seatbelt, you’re helping us do our job – and we’re very grateful. People all over Minnesota do things every day to keep themselves and others safe, but two Minnesotans have recently captured our attention in the way they’ve helped others...

A car stopped behind a school bus with its stop arm extended

Back to school means back to school bus safety

Sept. 9

Here’s an interesting fact: Children are safer in a school bus than in any other vehicle. Which is good, because school buses in Minnesota make about 10,000 trips a day. It’s nice to know we don’t have to worry too much about them when they’re on the bus. It’s the transition on or off the bus that has had parents worried for as long as there have been school buses. That’s of course why school bus stop arms were invented – and yet, tragically, sometimes they still don’t keep children safe. They can’t unless drivers obey them...

Snap photos of important belongings and documents for filing insurance claims

Time for a (literal) rainy day fund

Sept. 6

You’ve heard that expression, “Expect the unexpected,” haven’t you? But it’s much more easily said than done. Unless you have a crystal ball, how can you possibly predict what misfortunes or disasters are coming down the pike? The short answer is, you can’t. But many emergencies have similar characteristics in terms of what you need to survive them. Money is an excellent example of this. You and your family would have different needs during, say, a tornado versus a flood, but after the dust settles (or the water dries), money is one thing you’ll need to get back to normal in both situations...