As COVID-19 case numbers continue to rise in the Northland, some have wondered what impacts that could have on essential emergency services.  The answer as to how that would apply to fire departments has come from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

According to details released by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, the agency's State Fire Marshal Division (DPS-SFMD), they've put plans in place for coverage in the event that the need arises.  The DPS-SFMD has established a Fire Department Mutual Aid Map that monitors service levels at each of the 776 departments across the State of Minnesota.  Information is updated daily.  If COVID-related absence rates rise and a department needs assistance, this system would coordinate additional help through the Intrastate Mutual Aid Plan.

The Intrastate Mutual Aid Plan has been used twice in 2020.  The first instance was during the Northern Metal Recycling fire in Becker; the second situation was in St. Paul following the civil unrest that stemmed from George Floyd's Death.

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Citizens in the Northland and across Minnesota can rest easy about how they would receive emergency services should COVID-numbers continue to rise.  State Fire Marshal Jim Smith shared that "[w]e are prepared for situations like this.  There are robust plans in place to continue the delivery of emergency services promptly and safely".

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety comprises ten divisions where 2,200 employees operate programs in the areas of law enforcement, crime victim assistance, traffic safety, alcohol and gambling, emergency communications, fire safety, pipeline safety, driver licensing, vehicle registration, and emergency management.  According to their agency, DPS activity is "anchored by three core principles: education, enforcement, and prevention".

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