ST. PAUL — Whether this winter is mild or miserable, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) wants to make sure Minnesotans are prepared for both outdoor and indoor hazards. HSEM sponsors an annual photo contest as part of their effort to provide Minnesotans with the information they need to prepare for winter.
Amateur photographers, adult and youth, are encouraged to take good-quality digital photos of winter nature scenes, holiday gatherings, outdoor sports and kids enjoying winter. The contest runs from December 1, 2012 to March 1, 2013. Prizes, which promote winter safety, will be given away in each category at the end of the contest.
The contest is a great way for families to talk about winter safety. “Getting ready for winter doesn’t have to take a lot of time but it can make a big difference if your car slides off an icy road or carbon monoxide builds up in your home,” says HSEM Director Kris Eide. “We partner with the National Weather Service and other state agencies to make sure all Minnesotans have access to simple steps they can take all winter long.”
The HSEM website http://hsem.dps.mn.gov contains must-read information on the following Winter Hazard Awareness topics.
- Winter Storms and Weather
• Outdoor Winter Safety
• Winter Fire Safety
• Indoor Winter Safety
• Winter Driving
Minnesotans must remember to assemble a winter weather survival kit. It should include: a blanket, hat, boots, gloves, flashlight, snacks, matches, a tin cup to melt snow for drinking water and a bright ribbon to tie on the vehicle’s antenna to alert authorities help is needed.
Staying safe indoors is also important during the winter months. One of the hazards is radon, the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. The Department of Public Safety and the Minnesota Health Department partnered to produce an instructional video which shows step- by-step how to test a home for radon.
“We are all busy, but it is very important to take the time to prepare for winter,” says Eide. “We hope the What’s Your Winter? photo contest encourages families to prepare for and safely enjoy winter.”
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) comprises 11 divisions where 2,100 employees operate programs in law enforcement, crime victim assistance, traffic safety, alcohol and gambling enforcement, emergency communications, fire safety, pipeline safety, driver licensing, vehicle registration and emergency management.
The Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division is helping Minnesota communities recover from seven federally declared disasters from 2010 to2012.