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Wildfire season is here. Are you prepared to leave at a moment’s notice? Do you have ample emergency supplies on hand to withstand a prolonged planned power outage due to heightened fire risk? Now is the time to review these important highlights from the Ready, Set, Go! Handbook. Consider how you, your loved ones, your neighbors would respond to an emergency. Check in with your 5 Emergency Allies often and adjust your plans to “Go” to reflect life changes like a recent move, a new job or pet, a health concern or shifting family schedules. The time you take to prepare now cuts down confusion and stress in the event of an emergency. If you have not already done so, pick up Ready, Set, Go! materials at the Rood Center, libraries, or fire stations and put preparedness planning on your schedule. Should wildfire strike, you will be glad you did.
Prepare for Power Outages
Certain weather conditions, such as strong winds, high temperatures, the possibility of dry lightning strikes, and low humidity levels, can produce extreme fire behavior. When this happens, the National Weather Service will issue a Red Flag Warning. These conditions may prompt energy providers to turn off power to protect communities from the threat of equipment-related wildfires. These planned outages are called Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) or Public Safety Outage Management (PSOM) events. These measures may result in public health and safety threats, especially to those who rely on power for life-sustaining equipment, treatments and mobility, as well as those with chronic medical conditions.
Planning ahead for planned power outages that could last for multiple days is critical. Consider what you will need on hand to keep food and medications cold, such as ice. Ensure flashlights or headlamps, along with fresh batteries are available for light. Keep a battery-powered radio around for regular updates on current events. Make sure to check on friends, family, and neighbors who may need extra help without power. If you decide to use a generator, make sure you do so carefully. Improper use of a generator itself could lead to an ignition, or carbon monoxide poisoning if used in a space without proper ventilation.
Take Precautions During Red Flag Warnings
• Park your vehicle towards the roadway and load your Go Bag.
• Know how to open your garage if power is unavailable.
• Be sure you have a full tank of gas.
• Keep pets nearby and have a plan to transport large animals.
• Always check towing equipment and eliminate dragging hazards.
• Do not use equipment outdoors that may create a spark.
• Never burn.
• Have enough medication, water, and food to last at least one week.
• Have lighting, a phone, radio, and batteries.
• Stay in touch with your 5 Emergency Allies.
• If you do not have access to backup power, consider keeping your food in a cooler.
Know When to Go!
Stay situationally aware and use all available resources to keep your household safe and informed. A phone call from a friend, the Hi-Lo siren, a news update, a social media post, an emergency alert or even a honk from a concerned neighbor are all ways you might learn of a wildfire in the area. “There are many ways to be notified, but when you get the message to evacuate, have a plan and be ready to go,” says the Office of Emergency Services (OES) Program Manager, Paul Cummings. “We often see people know there’s a threat but hesitate to leave. They sit around and wait for more information when they really should leave. Don’t squander precious time, it could cost you your life.” he adds.
In the event of a wildfire or an emergency, law enforcement will issue evacuation warnings or evacuation orders for impacted areas. These notices are issued by evacuation zone, and each will have an evacuation status. Zones and emergency alerts work together to save time when minutes count.
In order to understand whether your residence is under an evacuation warning or order, you need to know your zone name.
1. Go to community.zonehaven.com
2. Enter your address into the search bar
3. Find your zone in the pop-up window and write it down
CodeRED and Nixle are opt-in emergency alert systems. CodeRED is used countywide by the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office and the Office of Emergency Services, while Nixle is used by the Truckee Police Department and the Truckee Fire Protection District east of Donner Summit. Residents may register to receive emergency alerts by text, email, landline, cell phone, and TTY at ReadyNevadaCounty.org/emergencyalerts. (Please note, not every incident will require an alert.)
Add CodeRED emergency alerts as a contact in your phone, so you don’t accidentally ignore the call as spam. CodeRED calls will originate from (866) 419-5000 or (855) 969-4636.
Local officials will conduct a countywide emergency alert test on August 16. Register today to make sure you receive the test alert next month.
Evacuation Status Levels:
Evacuation Order: An immediate threat to life. This is a lawful order to leave now. The area is lawfully closed to public access.
Evacuation Warning: A potential threat to life and/or property. Those who require additional time to evacuate, and those with pets and livestock should leave now.
Hi-Lo Evacuation Siren:
Law enforcement has installed Hi-Lo sirens on patrol cars and will use them when evacuations have been ordered. The siren means one thing only, evacuate.
Tags are available at fire and police stations, the Sheriff’s Office, and libraries throughout the county. If evacuating, place a tag someplace visible from the roadway. These tags will help first responders quickly see who has already evacuated which will provide more time to assist those who have not.
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For more resources, tools, and information please visit ReadyNevadaCounty.org.