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A first time for everything: WEA used for terror suspect search

​Many Minnesotans have received Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) for severe weather threats or maybe an Amber Alert. But earlier this month, that messaging system was used in a whole new way in New York. Authorities there sent out several WEAs to warn people of a bomb as well as the suspect who’s accused of planting the device. It’s believed to be the first time the nationwide WEA system was used as a “wanted poster” of sorts. The decision grabbed the attention of New York cell phone users along with public safety personnel nationwide.

Review how Minnesota uses WEAs as part of the Integrated Public Alert Warning System on our new DPS blog.

 

Partial Activation of the State Emergency Operations Center

New Richland Care Center Flooding

Minnesota’s State Emergency Operations Center has been partially activated following the thunderstorms that dropped nearly ten inches of rain in parts of the state. Homeland Security and Emergency Management staff are in contact with local emergency managers to monitor flooding and storm damage reports. HSEM will respond to any requests for state assistance.

As of Thursday afternoon, some rivers in Southeastern Minnesota have risen six feet within the past 24 hours. There have been no reports of injuries or deaths, but the following counties have reported storm damages:

  • Anoka: Street flooding in Fridley, Spring Lake Park High School grounds flooded.
  • Blue Earth: 13 county roads closed, St. Clair protecting lift stations with pumps and sandbags.
  • Freeborn: Six county roads closed due to flooding.
  • Goodhue: State Highway 58 is closed as are other roadways in the county, Wanamingo is protecting its water treatment plant with pumps and sandbags.
  • Hennepin: Street flooding was reported.
  • Le Sueur: Elysian and Waterville authorities are sandbagging around critical infrastructure, two roads closed, Xcel Energy has sandbagged its Waterville facility.
  • Ramsey: Street flooding was reported.
  • Rice: Faribault has declared a local state of emergency and is sandbagging its water treatment facility, the dam near 2nd Avenue has crested, the Northfield Fire Department is using sandbags to protect its building, authorities have closed the bridge over the Cannon River, numerous roads are closed due to flooding.  
  • Waseca: New Richland has evacuated 44 residents from a long-term care facility due to flooding, floodwaters also damaged the Community Ice Arena, parks and school property, township roads have been washed-out.
  • Washington: Street flooding and isolated wind damage was reported.

 

The Minnesota Department of Transportation encourages drivers to check for road closures and detours due to flooding. Additional storm damage reports are expected in the coming hours and days.  

New school year & fall season signal planning & preparation efforts

Build an emergency preparedness kit

The Minnesota State Fair is winding down and a new school year is upon us. The new beginning for many families provides a good opportunity to start talking about new ideas as well. September is National Preparedness Month—dedicated to helping you and your loved ones be prepared for any emergency. Do you have a plan of action in case there’s an emergency? How about a kit with the essential items you’d need during an evacuation?

On a basic level, every family should create a plan and have a kit. Emergencies are never planned, but you can be ready. Don’t wait. Communicate. #NatlPrep

Access Emergency Preparedness tips.

State Aid Approved for Storm Damaged Minnesota Counties

Pine County storm damage at Willow Creek dam

Ten more Minnesota counties will receive State Disaster Assistance following severe thunderstorms in July. Numerous counties reported flood damage to roads, bridges and wastewater treatment plants. Others reported tornado and wind damages to other public infrastructure.  

Governor Mark Dayton authorized more than $5.4 million in relief to reimburse Aitkin, Benton, Carlton, Crow Wing, Kanabec, Meeker, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Pine and Traverse counties for damage repairs.  

Under Minnesota law, the state reimburses 75 percent of the total eligible damage costs for each county. Each county is responsible for covering the remaining 25 percent of costs. Governor Dayton has also approved State Disaster Assistance for  Blue Earth, Itasca and Nicollet counties along with the Leech Lake Reservation   Access Governor Dayton’s authorization letter here.

 

Featured Video


Video Description: This video shows what happens behind the scenes during an exercise in the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC). It’s the first in series of videos, taking viewers inside the different divisions of the Department of Public Safety. Legislators are currently considering a bonding request for a new $33 million dollar SEOC in Arden Hills.