Preparing for Wildfire Season in Nevada County – Week 2: Emergency notification systems

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NEVADA CITY, Calif. December 17, 2018 – In case of an emergency, the first step is to be aware of the situation. Nevada County uses CodeRED to notify residents of an emergency in their neighborhood via phone, email and text alerts.

Situational awareness is part of your personal responsibility

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This mass notification system is opt-in, meaning you have to sign up to receive the alerts, with the exception of AT&T landlines which are automatically added to the system.

Two sign up options are available, either a managed account or as simple notification account.

A managed account allows you to update your information, i.e. add or remove phone numbers or email addresses. The managed account is preferable if you have an evacuation plan set up and you have friends or family out of the area that will be your contact point. After consulting with them, add their phone numbers so they will be aware of an emergency in your area. Both types of accounts are based on the address you enter, not on the phone number or email address. Enter your home address, then add your landline and/or cell phone numbers (select your wireless provider from the drop-down list) and/or email addresses. Managed accounts will receive a confirmation email verifying your email address and activating it to receive alerts if you opted to receive email notifications. You can set up as many managed or unmanaged accounts as needed.

Add an alert for your workplace, schools, your parents, other family members or friends. Registering for CodeRED is free and your contact information accessed through CodeRED will only be used by Public Safety Officials for emergency notification.

Sign up for Nevada County CodeRED alerts now.

If you use the ‘Do not Disturb’ nighttime settings on your cell phone, make sure you add the two CodeRED phone numbers to the list of ‘Allow calls from’ – otherwise you might miss a nighttime alert.

How does it work?

In case of a fire, the firefighters on scene will make the determination that evacuations should be initiated. The decision to call for evacuations is based on a fire’s growth potential, rate of spread, weather conditions, direction of the fire, threat to structures and access. The Incident Commander in charge of the fire will contact Nevada County Sheriff’s Office (NCSO) and request the notifications be sent in a specific radius around the fire. By drawing a polygon on a GIS map,  NCSO activates the CodeRED system for the area and records a voice and text message that is sent to registered devices within the polygon.

Cell phones will receive a voice or text message, depending on the preference you selected during sign up. If your landline is connected to a cordless phone and you lose electrical power you will not receive the alert! Make sure you have at least one phone connected to the landline that does not require power to operate.

Sign-up help and a tip

211 Connecting Point is helping Nevada County residents with sign-up assistance. Residents with 530 area codes can dial 2-1-1 (dial 1-844-319-4119 with an outside area code) to talk to someone over the phone who can help you sign up for CodeRED Emergency Alerts. However, accounts set up over the phone will not be managed accounts where information can be modified later. If 211 is not able to answer your question, they will refer you to Nevada County’s Office of Emergency Services (OES).

Add CodeRED’s two phone numbers 1(866) 419-5000 and 1(855) 969-4636 to your cell phone and/or landline contacts as “CodeRED Emergency Alerts.” Then, when you receive a phone call from either of these phone numbers you won’t mistake the 1-866 or 1-855 number as yet another telemarketing nuisance call.

Other systems

Wireless Emergency Alerts like Amber Alerts are based on your location. If you are in the vicinity of a cell tower, you will receive these alerts. CodeRED also offers a free app for emergency alerts, but please note the app and your account are NOT connected.

Your own personal alarm

An emergency notification unique to your home is your smoke alarm. Test your smoke alarms once a month, replace the batteries at least once a year and replace your smoke alarms every ten years.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing should use alarms with strobe (flashing) lights that have been tested by an independent testing laboratory. The alarms for sleeping areas with strobe lights are required to be of a special high intensity that can wake a sleeping person.

This concludes Week 2 of 25, check back next Monday for “Roof, gutter and screens” – why simple actions have a great effect on home safety.

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Nevada County: 25 weeks to prepare for the next peak fire season

Preparing for Wildfire Season in Nevada County – Week 1: Take an inventory