Hello, friends. I dearly hope we will be able to look back on September and say that it was less smoky and there were fewer moments of having our hearts in our throats due to a nearby fire. And most of all, I hope it shakes out as a kinder, gentler, and more community-feeling month. We will always disagree on things. But I ask that we practice – day by day – acknowledging our differences and still treating each other with respect. Let’s focus our energy on the things we have control over, like how we treat one another, and move past the things we can’t.
Preparing for Fires and PSPS Shutoffs
As we move into fall, we anticipate stronger wind events, even drier conditions, and, often, continued high temperatures. When this combination of conditions arises, PG&E will de-energize their power lines to prevent any damaged equipment from sparking a wildfire. These events could last up to several days, so these are the steps you should take to get prepared:
•Sign up to receive PSPS outage alerts: https://www.pge.com/en_US/residential/outages/public-safety-power-shuttoff/prepare-for-psps.page
•Take inventory of items you need that rely on electricity. Fully charge items such as your mobile phone and electric vehicle. Consider adding a battery-powered portable charger to your emergency kit.
•Create a storage plan for medications that require refrigeration. If you are unsure about what this may mean, please contact your pharmacist.
•Develop a plan for essential life-saving medical equipment. Temporarily relocate to a location that still has power, have a safe backup power source, or plan to use a PG&E-provided Community Resource Center, which are typically open during the day.
•Stock up on batteries, flashlights, and nonperishable foods.
•Plan for water needs. If you are on a well, store plenty of water for drinking, cleaning, and flushing.
•Keep your car fueled with gas or electricity.
•Practice opening your garage door manually, or park in the driveway.
•Develop a plan for entry for locations that require electronic entry, such as workplaces, apartment complexes, etc.
•Keep cash, especially small bills, on hand as ATMs may be unavailable.
•Reach out to family, friends, and neighbors who may need additional information or support.
I’m sure many of you already have a generator to help you get by during these events. Please make sure to follow basic generator safety so you don’t start a fire or poison yourself with carbon monoxide. Find generator safety tips here: https://www.mynevadacounty.com/DocumentCenter/View/39174/Copy-of-Generator-safety-1?bidId=
There have been several recent fires in Penn Valley, Lake Wildwood, and North San Juan. Thanks again to our local fire agencies for their aggressive attack on those incidents.
While it’s never too late to do fire safe clearing around your home, we all need to avoid creating sparks with power tools, as well as setting hot power tools down in combustible material. Fire officials advise against the use of any power tools after 10 a.m. The mornings are getting cooler and moister, so that’s the time to get outside and work (but never on a Red Flag Warning day!).
Know your evacuation zone, sign up for CodeRED Emergency Alerts to your home and work address, and have supplies ready if the power goes out. Find more preparedness information at ReadyNevadaCounty.org.
COVID transmission in Nevada County continues to be at record highs, with the second-highest number of new cases added to our dashboard on the last day of August. Recent data shows that more than 90% of new cases are the Delta variant, and there has been a big uptick in cases in children zero to seventeen. In the last full week of August, we saw record numbers of hospitalizations in Nevada County.
COVID testing services are still available, now on Saturdays, as well. If you are experiencing COVID-like symptoms or have had a COVID exposure, book an appointment at LHI.care/COVIDtesting. There are now home-based COVID test kits available online and at some local pharmacies. (You may have to inquire at the cash register – they don’t seem to be stocked on shelves.) While their results tend not to be accepted by schools and employers, they can help provide peace of mind if you’re wondering if your sniffles are just allergies or COVID. That said, please stay home if you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been exposed to someone with COVID. Schools, in particular, are really suffering right now with staff shortages and whole classrooms being quarantined. Let’s do our part to help them get back to some sense of normalcy.
In late August, the FDA formally approved Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. This formal approval replaces the emergency use authorization granted by the agency last December. The FDA may grant full approval for the other COVID-19 vaccines in the future. If you are interested in getting vaccinated, you can book an appointment or find walk-in clinics at MyTurn.CA.Gov.
Outside of the current statewide election, you can now vote for your favorite artist bus wrap for our transit system, Nevada County Connects! Vote for your favorite design this September at MyNevadaCounty.com/BusArt.
Stay safe, find time to enjoy blue skies while we have them, and reach out if you have questions, concerns, or ideas you’d like to share with me: 530-265-1480 or Sue.Hoek@co.nevada.ca.us.
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