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Rail Exercise Evaluates Emergency Planning

When an emergency happens along any one of Minnesota’s railways, it takes a collaborative effort to keep the surrounding communities safe. That’s why more than 100 emergency management personnel came together in Freeborn County during the first week of December.

The “Back on Track” railroad exercise put those emergency plans into practice. It involved a fictional ethanol train derailment that prompted participants to walk through the various steps of responding to such an incident. Representatives from multiple city, county and state agencies worked together with the railroad companies to run through emergency plans and response scenarios.

Learn more about rail safety in Minnesota.

State Disaster Declaration for September Severe Weather Outbreak

It was the third largest  tornado outbreak in Minnesota history. And now, the eight counties and one tribal nation that were hit by a severe weather outbreak in late September will receive state disaster assistance.

Gov. Mark Dayton approved the request for aid after a preliminary damage assessment identified more than $4.8 million in eligible damages to public property and infrastructure. The deluge rains and 24 tornadoes knocked down trees and power lines and caused significant damage to public buildings. The following locations will be reimbursed for response, repair and recovery costs:

  • Faribault, Goodhue, Le Sueur, Martin, Renville, Rice, Steele, Waseca counties
  • Prairie Island Indian Community
Read Gov. Dayton’s authorization letter here.  

Gov. Dayton Requests Presidential Disaster Declaration

October 10 Windstorm in Duluth

When gale force winds whipped up 10 foot waves and sent them crashing into cities along Lake Superior in October, the damage left behind was devastating.
  • Two feet of water inundated Duluth’s Canal Park and its surrounding businesses.
  • Debris severely battered the boardwalk.
  • Water and sewer systems became overwhelmed by the storm surge.
  • Giant and wind gusts equivalent to that of a Category one hurricane destroyed popular tourist areas.  
A state-local joint preliminary damage assessment determined Saint Louis County sustained more than $11.5 million dollars in damages to public property and infrastructure during the historic storm. That’s why Gov. Mark Dayton is now requesting the president to issue a federal disaster declaration. If granted, the declaration would provide disaster assistance to the county to pay for response, recovery and repair costs.

If approved, FEMA would reimburse 75 percent of the associated costs. The State of Minnesota would pay the 25 percent non-federal share. Read more about the FEMA’s disaster declaration process.

Minnesota Recovery Specialist to Help Displaced Wildfire Residents in California

Woolsey Fire in Southern CaliforniaWhen fast-moving wildfires torch thousands of acres in mere hours, homeowners are often left with the clothes on their back and whatever belongings they could throw into their vehicle at the last minute. That was the reality for many Californians earlier this month as wildfires raged in both the northern and southern parts of the state. Those people will now spend months and years recovering what they lost to the flames.

That’s where one of Minnesota’s Individual Assistance Program Specialists comes in. Brian Curtice from HSEM will be in California for 25 days to assist California’s Office of Emergency Services and FEMA in helping wildfire survivors apply for disaster assistance. Help includes valuable resources such as shelter, unemployment, crisis counseling and legal services.

The Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) mission was approved by Governor Mark Dayton. HSEM coordinates EMAC requests. Read about other EMAC deployments fulfilled by Minnesota in 2018.

Featured Video

Video Description: This video shows what happens behind the scenes during an exercise in the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC).