Where to Find Emergency Information in Placer County

Keep these online resources handy in case of floods, fires, quakes and other disasters.

PUBLISHED OCT 1, 2023 5:54 P.M.
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Placer Couty recently grappled with the Mosquito Fire, California’s largest wildfire in 2022.

Placer Couty recently grappled with the Mosquito Fire, California‚Äôs largest wildfire in 2022.   Chris Allan   Shutterstock

Last year, Placer County residents had a close acquaintance with disaster response, from the Mosquito Fire in September of 2022 to the heavy snows that began not long after the fire and lingered into the spring of 2023. Be prepared for whatever comes next. In addition to having a “go bag” packed and ready, it’s just as important to load up your smartphone with all the digital resources you’ll need to stay informed.

1. Placer Alert

Public safety agencies in Placer, Sacramento, and Yolo counties all share the same community notification system to alert residents about emergency events and other public safety information. The Placer Alert system is powered by Everbridge. The system allows local governments to share critical information quickly in a variety of emergencies, such as severe weather, unexpected road closures, missing persons and evacuations of buildings or neighborhoods. But residents must sign up to receive these vital alerts. Information that is provided through the Placer Alert system will be used only by participating public safety agencies for notification purposes. See Everbridge’s Privacy Policy for more information.

2. Nixle

Launched in 2007, Nixle provides an “open communication forum” that connects more than 8,000 public safety agencies, municipalities, schools and other entities with members of the public. The notification service delivers texts, email and voice messages, as well as information through social media and the Nixle mobile app. Receive emails and text messages from local fire and law enforcement agencies that include public safety messages as well as emergency information. Text your zip code to 888777 to opt in for text messages or sign up online to receive email or text messages with alerts and advisories. And if you work in a different county, have a second home, or just want to stay apprised of emergency situations that may affect friends and relatives, you can sign up for alerts in other areas.

3. Wireless Emergency Alerts

The Warning, Alert and Response Network (WARN) Act established Wireless Emergency Alerts in 2008 and it became operational in 2012. WEA is a national public safety system that allows customers with mobile devices to receive geographically targeted messages about imminent local threats. To activate WEA, make sure your cell phone is set up to accept emergency and public safety alerts. (According to the FCC, “Wireless service customers should check with their wireless service provider to find out if their cell phone or mobile device is WEA-capable. Not all wireless service providers offer WEA.”)

4. Roadmaps to Safety

When it comes to getting around in a disaster, California Local offers real-time assistance with our Placer County Traffic & Transportation overview page. In addition to a highway map marked with incidents and alerts, the page features links to information on Caltrans roadwork, road closures, and transportation services.

Our Placer County Weather page also has a map that shows locations of fire cameras and water level monitors. And when you click on “Resources,” you get quick links to more than a dozen sites that will provide information on a variety of hazardous situations.

    5. Keeping Up on Social Media

    In an emergency, there’s no such thing as too much information. The following government agencies will be pumping out tweets and posts, so follow along.
    El Dorado County on Facebook and X (Twitter).
    Auburn Police Department on Facebook.
    City of Colfax on Facebook.
    Lincoln Police Department on Facebook.
    Rocklin Police Department on Facebook and X (Twitter).
    Roseville Police Department on Facebook.
    Town of Loomis on Facebook.

    6. NOAA Weather Radio

    Another source of data is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Weather Radio alert system. When the radio is properly programmed, the National Weather Service can remotely turn it on and send basic alerts for floods and wildfires. NOAA Weather Radio receivers come in a variety of sizes and styles in electronics stores or online; the cost ranges from $25 to $100. To learn more, watch this NOAA Weather Radio Set-Up Video on YouTube. El Dorado County residents can tune their radio to Northern California NOAA Radio, broadcasting from Wolf Mountain in Nevada County at KEC57 and WWF67 (Frequency 162.550Mhz) and covering Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, El Dorado, Glenn, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Solano, Stanislaus, Yolo, and Yuba counties.

    7. Radio and Television Broadcasts

    Old-fashioned terrestrial radio and television stations also have an important role to play. The Emergency Alert System is a national public warning system that sends messages through broadcasters, satellite digital audio services, direct broadcast satellite providers, cable television systems, and   cable systems, typically accompanied by a special warning tone. Radio station KEBR 88.1 FM will carry these notifications in Placer County.

    8. Know Your Zone

    Alerts can help you stay safe, but if evacuation orders are issued, you need to know where your house or workplace is located. Find your zone by viewing this map. And bookmark Aware.Zonehaven.com on your phone and computer so you can monitor conditions when you are traveling.

    9. Roadmaps to Safety

    When it comes to getting around in a disaster, California Local offers real-time assistance with our Placer County Traffic & Transportation overview page. In addition to a highway map marked with incidents and alerts, the page features links to information on Caltrans roadwork, road closures, and transportation services.

    Our Placer County Weather page also has a map that shows locations of fire cameras and water level monitors. And when you click on “Resources,” you get quick links to more than a dozen sites that will provide information on a variety of hazardous situations.

    10. Be Fire Aware

    Cal Fire, the statewide agency responsible for fighting California’s wildfires, offers tools that can be used via smartphone. Sign up for text alerts at Incidents.ReadyForWildfire.org. And if you’re on the move, bookmark Cal Fire’s statewide map of current fires at Fire.ca.gov/Incidents.

    11. Power Outage Maps

    Fire and rain often come with another unwelcome side effect: power outages. To find out where the power is out and and how long it will be before the lights come back on, visit PG&E’s alerts page, which provides a map of current outage and future Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) incidents. The site PrepareForPowerDown.com also offers information. If you are a medically vulnerable Californian, during a power shutoff you can call (833) 284-3473 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. to find resources in your area.

    12. American Red Cross Emergency App

    The Red Cross is a familiar player in disaster response, so it’s fitting that the organization has developed a free American Red Cross Emergency app that will show you which buildings are being used as shelters during a disaster along with other useful emergency info.

    13. The Shake of Things to Come

    Not too long ago, earthquakes came without any warning. Now, it is possible to get a little notice, thanks to a couple of apps. The QuakeAlertUSA app, from Early Warning Labs—available for free on the Apple App and Google Play stores—works in California and Oregon. Data detected by sensors managed by the United States Geological Survey determine the location and size of a quake, and the Early Warning Labs cloud server calculates individual alerts. Learn more: EarlyWarningLabs.com/mobile-app.

    From UC Berkeley, the MyShake app is a citizen science project to build a global earthquake early warning network. The app, which monitors sensors on participants’ smartphones, is free in the Apple App and Google Play stores. Alerts are only available in California, Oregon and Washington at present, but folks around the world can participate. Learn more: MyShake.berkeley.edu.

     

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