Media, Nevada County officials meet to discuss emergency preparedness | TheUnion.com

Media, Nevada County officials meet to discuss emergency preparedness

Public officials and members of local media gathered Wednesday for an Emergency Event/Fire Season preparation meeting.

The purpose was to provide insight as to how Nevada County's Public Information Officers operate when the Emergency Operations Center is activated. Events such as wildfire would set the team into motion in an attempt to relay the most reliable and accurate information to the public.

A prevalent topic at the meeting was that of the challenges presented during a time of emergency caused by the spread of misinformation. The group agreed that social media sites such as Facebook can be extremely helpful in times of distress, but only when posted by a reputable source.

Taylor Wolfe, administrative analyst for the County Executive Office, said trustworthy social media updates include those from Nevada County Office of Emergency Services, Nevada County Sheriff's Office, and County of Nevada, CA. Updates will also be posted to Twitter accounts of Nevada County OES and County of Nevada, CA.

In the past, misinformation has proven detrimental and can draw focus away from the distribution of accurate information.

Pascale Fusshoeller of Yubanet cited reported looting during the Lowell fire as a distraction from the information being disseminated by trustworthy sources.

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"There was no real looting," she said. "False information takes away from the important facts."

The public is being advised to know the difference between the evacuation notification categories issued by law enforcement and government agencies.

An Immediate Evacuation Order requires immediate movement of people out of an affected area due to an imminent threat to life. An evacuation warning alerts people in affected areas of potential threat to life and property. A shelter-in-place advises people to stay secure at their current location by remaining in place as evacuation will cause higher risk for loss of life.

Sheriff's lieutenant Sam Brown noted evacuation during recent fires could have been more efficient had people obeyed the initial order.

"If people just get up and go (at the time the evacuation order is issued), it will be a lot quicker and a lot smoother," Brown said.

Law enforcement in attendance of the meeting, including Sheriff's Captain Shannan Moon, agreed that residents should have a "go" bag ready at all times, especially during fire season. It was also noted that residents should create a number of potential evacuation routes, as emergency situations are often unpredictable.

In times of emergency, citizens are reminded that outlets such as The Union, KNCO radio, Yubanet, and KVMR radio will be working diligently to provide the community with the most accurate, up-to-the-minute coverage.

Jennifer Nobles is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at jnobles@theunion.com or 530-477-4231.