Blog Archive: February 2020

Homes surrounded by floodwater

Spring flooding: Hoping for perfect won’t prepare you

Feb. 27

Last weekend, throughout most of Minnesota, temperatures got to the 40s during the day. Wasn’t it wonderful to feel the sun on your face? That melting snow is one of the first signs of spring, and it will be here before we know it. But melting snow – especially coupled with even a normal amount of spring precipitation – can bring flooding with it. And we’ve had an awful lot of precipitation lately. In fact, in over the past five years, Minnesota has had an extra year’s worth of rain. The soil is saturated. That means that as the snow melts and more precipitation comes, the ground doesn’t have...

Brandon Rausch (left) shakes Trooper Deanna Wayne’s hand while receiving a Meritorious Citizenship Award.

The superhero next door

Feb. 24

Saving a woman and her dog from a burning car; applying a tourniquet to keep a crashed motorcyclist from bleeding to death; interrupting dinner to perform CPR on a fellow restaurant patron. They read like something out of a superhero comic book, but they’re actually all things that state troopers, Minnesota first responders and citizens did last year. These heroes and more were honored last week at the Minnesota State Patrol’s annual awards ceremony to recognize citizens, troopers and other public servants who put the needs of others above their own in an effort save lives...

A state trooper talking with a man during a traffic stop

DWIs: What does 'impaired' actually mean?

Feb. 20

Imagine the pain and discomfort of a sprained joint or, say, a recurring back injury. Thank goodness there are legal medications you can take (as directed, of course!) to ease the pain. Imagine dosing up to power through your day and driving to work when you see lights flashing in your rearview mirror. Are you getting pulled over for a DWI? How is that even possible? It turns out the nature and number of DWIs are changing. While alcohol-related DWI incidents have dropped over the past 10 years in Minnesota, controlled substance-related DWI incidents have skyrocketed...

A firefighter at the scene of a structure fire

Your local fire department needs your help

Feb. 13

We’re lucky to have a robust, professional fire service here in Minnesota. It means that when there’s a fire, we can take for granted that our local fire department will show up and do its best to prevent loss of life and property. But the number of firefighters is dwindling. Firefighters are retiring or otherwise leaving the fire service, and there aren’t enough people stepping up to take their places. In fact, firefighter recruitment and retention is one of the biggest issues facing Minnesota fire departments. And did you know that most Minnesota firefighters are volunteers?

A driving simulator with a car appearing to drive along a road

Get lots of sleep – but not behind the wheel

Feb. 10

Many of us would never drive after drinking, but we’re not as hesitant about getting behind the wheel after being awake for too long or not getting enough sleep. It turns out that can be just as dangerous as driving while impaired. Part of the issue is that we tend not to count drowsy driving among the “big four” problem behaviors: driving impaired, speeding, distracted driving and not wearing a seat belt. But researchers claim that drowsy driving actually belongs in that first category; it’s just that the impairment comes from fatigue, not alcohol or drugs...

Photo showing a vent on a gas meter and a photo of a gas meter buried in snow

Keep your gas meter clear so it can keep you warm

Feb. 6

If you’ve lived in Minnesota for at least one winter, you know that snow and ice affect pretty much every aspect of our lives in the winter months. If you’re not scraping it off your car, you’re shoveling it off your sidewalks or making a snowman from it or simply hiding from it indoors where it’s warm and cozy. But there’s one more thing affected by snow and ice that you may not think of: your natural gas meter. If gas is what keeps your home warm in the winter (or at least runs some of your appliances), you’ll need to give it a little love when it snows...

10 digit 911 dispatch numbers graphic

What to do during a 911 service disruption

Feb. 3

Emergencies can be scary and overwhelming. Fortunately, you’ve probably had the numbers “911” drilled into you from a very young age. That way, even if your brain can do nothing else, it can remember to dial those three numbers. But what happens when there’s a temporary service disruption and those three numbers don’t work? As the managers of the 911 system in Minnesota, the Department of Public Safety division of Emergency Communication Networks (DPS-ECN) expects it to be reliable and dependable, just like you do...