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Wednesday, January 30, 2019

2019 Safety and Loss Control Workshops

It is a sure sign of spring when registration opens for the annual Safety and Loss Control Workshops! This year’s police track will feature presentations in the morning, as well as a back-by-popular-demand afternoon session. It is a Police HR Bootcamp entitled “Keeping Zombies and Vampires from Sucking the Life Out of Your Workplace.” 

The morning police track sessions have some pretty interesting titles as well. Leading off with the “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” (on police property room management), “Same, Same, But Different” (a look at emerging trends for police), and “Three Critical Insurance Issues for Police Departments” (filing workers’ compensation claims, PTSD, and joint powers agreements).

All courses will be certified for POST continuing education credit, and lunch is included. We look forward to connecting and reconnecting with our members as we move around the state. Here is the schedule:

March 27—Mahnomen
March 28—Alexandria
April 3—Redwood Falls
April 4—Mankato
April 9—Rochester
April 11—Biwabik
April 16—St. Paul
April 23—St. Cloud
April 25—Brooklyn Park

Visit our website for more information and to register.

Reminder—the Opioid Information Session is scheduled for February 7 in Bloomington. It is free, sponsored by the League, and open to the entire public safety community. It is a chance to hear from the Minnesota Department of Health on the latest statistics and prevention efforts, from Minneapolis PD, to learn about the current litigation efforts, and—most importantly—to be part of an open discussion on the impacts of opioids in Minnesota.

Up next: Workplace Fatalities Are On the Rise in Minnesota

Stay safe,

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Opioid Resources

The opioid epidemic continues to expand in Minnesota. There are news stories almost daily about the number of fatal overdoses—including a recent article about the increasing number of children in emergency foster care due to their parents’ addiction, and another about the number of fatal overdoses in one metro county. This is not existing in a vacuum and it is not static. 

Meth overdoses and seizures are also at an all-time level and—while we are seeing improvement in the prescription side of the opioid problem—heroin and illegal fentanyl overdoses and fatalities continue to rise. We know that some of you are in the middle of this crisis and others are on the edge. Here are some resources to share with your staff:

  • The League has a new webpage to assist cities and public safety responders in getting more information about the opioid epidemic in Minnesota. The site will be updated with new information and resources as they become available. 
  • The Minnesota Department of Health, (MDH), has made their Opioid Dashboard the source to visit for what is happening with the Minnesota opioid epidemic. It is full of current information and training resources.
  • “Fentanyl: The Real Deal” is a training video that I highly recommend for all first responders. It runs about six minutes and is endorsed by nearly all of the national public safety associations.
  • The video is paired with written guidance entitled Fentanyl Safety Recommendations for First Responders by the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).
  • An Opioid Information Session is scheduled for February 7 in Bloomington. It is free, sponsored by the League, and open to the entire public safety community. 

Up next: An Early Look at the 2019 Safety and Loss Control Workshops

Stay safe,

Monday, December 17, 2018

Report: U.S. Firefighting Injuries in 2017

Firefighters are more likely to be injured
on the fire ground, according to NFPA data.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has released their report on U.S. firefighting injuries in 2017. The report looks at all firefighter injuries based on the type of duty the firefighter was performing when the injury occurred.

Overall injuries were down 5 percent from the previous year and at the lowest number since 1981 when NFPA first began analyzing this data.

The report states, “firefighters were more likely to be injured at fire ground operations than at other types of duties.” The League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust, (LMCIT) data has a few more categories for fire ground injuries, but it continues to be where most of our firefighter injuries occur as well, and it is also where most of our work comp cost is incurred. The report cites overexertion or strain and “falls, jumps and slips” as the leading nature of fire ground injuries. Again, the LMCIT has a few different categories but this aligns with our trends.

Eighteen firefighters died in vehicle-related incidents in 2017 according to the national data, including 10 who were struck by vehicles and eight who died in vehicle crashes. Ten fatalities due to being struck is unusually high, as the average for the past 30 years is four per year. While the numbers are small it speaks to the increasing dangers of responding to incidents on the roads and highways.

The discussion of the correlation of fire ground injuries with the number of fires the department responded to made sense. However I did not expect the rate of fire ground injuries to change so dramatically based on the population size protected. From the report, “the difference in risk of injury per firefighter is 8 to 1 between communities of 1,000,000 and communities of 2,500 to 4,999.” One of the factors impacting this is larger departments attend 572 times as many fires as small departments.

The report concludes with this challenge: “A risk management system and the application of existing technology, however, can offer options to reduce present injury levels and bring about corresponding reductions that are recommended by NFPA that could be taken at the local level.”

Read the NFPA report: United States Firefighter Injuries 2017

Up Next: Opioid information.

Stay Safe,