As fires like the Dixie and Tamarack burn nearby, a community conversation around wildfire, evacuation, and emergency alert notifications has resurfaced. Residents are asking, ‘how will I know if I need to evacuate?’
A critical tool for staying informed of official evacuation warnings or orders that are issued by the Sheriff’s Office, or the Office of Emergency Services (OES), is the County’s opt-in emergency alert system CodeRED. This tool requires registration and will be used countywide, including in the Town of Truckee and the Cities of Grass Valley and Nevada City, to warn residents of an evacuation warning or evacuation order. A test of the system is scheduled for August 16, 2021. Residents and visitors spending time in the area are urged to register to receive the test alert and any critical emergency notifications this wildfire season.
All household members with access to a cell phone, landline, or computer are encouraged to register to receive CodeRED emergency alert notifications. To sign up, visit ReadyNevadaCounty.org/EmergencyAlerts or call 211 Connecting Point for assistance by dialing 2-1-1 or 1-833-DIAL211
CodeRED emergency alerts will not be used for every fire in Nevada County. They are used judiciously and only when it is deemed a serious potential threat to life and property or an immediate threat to life. The Nevada County Sheriff’s Office is charged with carrying out evacuations countywide. During an active incident, they are in close communication with fire personnel who are on scene. Many factors are considered when determining whether an evacuation warning or order is issued. Nevada County Sheriff Moon states, “We are in direct contact with firefighters in the field. Together we assess the size of the fire, rate of spread, number of available suppression resources, wind, temperature, topography, and proximity to residences as we determine whether to send an emergency alert.”
When an evacuation warning or order is necessary, these emergency alerts are issued by evacuation zones. In early 2021, the law enforcement, fire, and emergency services community carved Nevada County into 250 different evacuation zones to expedite evacuation response and to increase community awareness during active evacuations. To understand whether a residence is under an evacuation warning or order, it is crucial to know the zone name. Authorities will use zone names in emergency alerts, media releases, and social media to notify residents which areas are under an evacuation warning or order. Residents are encouraged to be familiar with the evacuation zones they live and work. Find your evacuation zones at community.zonehaven.com by entering a home or work address into the search bar.
Pro-tip! Do not accidentally ignore an emergency alert as spam. Add CodeRED emergency alerts to your phone’s contacts.
- CodeRED emergency alerts will originate from (866) 419-5000 or (855) 969-4636
Understand Evacuation Status Definitions
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.
Do not Wait for an Official Alert to Evacuate Early if You Feel Unsafe
Officials will use several methods to help communicate evacuation warnings or orders. Law enforcement will drive through neighborhoods under evacuation using the Hi-Lo siren to communicate an evacuation order. Deputies will also make door-to-door contact when possible. In addition to sending a CodeRED emergency alert, officials will use social media and connect with local news outlets to share critical evacuation information online and over the radio. OES Program Manager Paul Cummings states, “We’ve learned from past wildfires like the 2018 Camp Fire in Paradise. We have many tools, but one of the very best tools we all have is our instincts. If you see flames or smell smoke and feel unsafe, do not wait for an official message to evacuate early.”
Nixle Everbridge Emergency Alerts East of Donner Summit
If you live, work, visit, or recreate east of Donner Summit, be sure to register for Nixle Everbridge emergency alerts as well. These notifications are used in eastern Nevada County by the Truckee Police Department and the Truckee Fire Protection District. From a mobile device send “APP” to 888-777 to receive a link to download the Everbridge Mobile App. Download, install and open the app. Type in 96161 in the search bar to find and subscribe to Truckee Police Department and Truckee Fire Protection District. The Town of Truckee will test the Nixle Everbridge emergency alert system on August 16 as well.
Stay Informed on Social Media
- Office of Emergency Services: Twitter @NevCoOES and Facebook @NevadaCountyOES for updates and tips on how to prepare for wildfire.
- Nevada County Sheriff’s Office: Twitter @NevCoSheriff and Facebook @NevadaCountySheriffsOffice
- County of Nevada: Twitter @NevadaCountyCA and Facebook @NevadaCountyCA