Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS)

Prepare for a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS)

Stay Informed RNCWhile it is understood that PG&E’s Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) measures are intended to protect communities from the threat of equipment-related wildfires, Nevada County recognizes that these measures may cause other negative public health and safety threats, especially to those who rely on power for life-sustaining equipment, treatments and mobility, as well as those with chronic medical conditions.

Stay Informed during PSPS events by following information from the Office of Emergency Services. Updates can be accessed from:

A PSPS could lead to the following:

  • Inability to use medical devices such as oxygen concentrators, nebulizers, ventilators, and other devices
  • Medication and/or food spoilage
  • Disrupted communications, water access, and heating and air conditioning
  • Closed businesses such as grocery stores, gas stations and banks
  • Inability to use electronic gates or garage doors

Please consider the following prior to the PSPS if the circumstance applies to you:

  • Take inventory of items you need that rely on electricity.
  • If you have medication that requires refrigeration, have a plan for appropriate storage in the event of a PSPS. If you are unsure about what this may mean, please contact your pharmacist.
  • If you have essential medical equipment that requires electricity, either have a plan to relocate temporarily to a location that still has power, have a safe backup power source, or plan to use one of PG&E’s Community Resource Centers, which are open during daylight hours.
  • Stock up on batteries, flashlights, and nonperishable foods.
  • Have a back-up charging device if you are able.
  • If you are on a well and you lose water when you lose power, then store plenty of water for drinking, cleaning and flushing.
  • Keep your car fueled up, and if you have an electronic garage door opener, don’t park in your garage unless you can easily open your garage door manually.
  • Be sure to use generators, camp stoves or charcoal grills outdoors only. Do not use a gas stove for heat.
  • Lastly, we encourage everyone to watch out for your family, friends and neighbors. Reach out to friends and family who you think may need additional information or support.

Additional resources:

Medical Preparedness and Access & Functional Needs

If you have essential medical equipment that requires electricity, either have a plan to relocate temporarily to a location that still has power, have a safe backup power source, or plan to use one of PG&E’s Community Resource Centers, which are open during daylight hours.

FREED also has access to limited resources to assist individuals who rely on medical equipment that requires electricity. Call 2-1-1 or 1-833-DIAL-211 if you have these specific needs.

Generator Safety

Generator Safety Opens in new windowIf you don't understand how to use your generator or battery, you risk damaging your property, endangering your life and endangering the lives of PG&E employees who may be working on power lines in your community. PG&E has provided tips on how to properly operate portable generators, permanent-standby generators, portable batteries, and home batteries.  Find more information at

Food Safety Tips

Food SafetyWith potential electricity shortages facing Nevada County, the County Department of Environmental Health offers the following food safety tips to prevent food-borne illness in the event of power outages:

  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. Keep potentially hazardous foods, such as meat or poultry, chilled to 41°F or less.
  • Do not place hot or unrefrigerated foods in the refrigerator once the power has gone out. It will raise the temperature inside the unit. Chill food with ice baths as needed. Any foods that were prepared prior to the power outage that were not rapidly cooled should be discarded.
  • If the freezer is not full, group packages together so they will retain the cold more effectively. Without power, a full freezer will keep everything frozen for about 2 days. A half-full freezer will keep food frozen 1 day.
  • If you have advance warning of a power outage and if the outage is anticipated to last more than 4 hours move foods that must be refrigerated to the freezer as space will allow.
  • If necessary, use block ice or bagged ice for supplemental cooling.
  • Keep meat and poultry items separated from other foods so if they begin to thaw, their juices will not drip on to other foods.
  • Discard any thawed food that has risen to room temperature and remained there for two (2) hours or more.
  • Some facilities may need to arrange for temporary refrigerated storage units during a prolonged power outage. (e.g. mobile units/trailers).
  • Kitchen ventilation units will shut off during power outages. Be advised that there have been reports of smoke, heat and grease emissions setting off alarm and fire suppression systems.

Find more information on residential food safety at

Restaurants are approved to open if:

  • You are approved to go ahead and open if you were on a generator.
  • You do not need to throw out any of the animal proteins as long as your refrigerator unit was 41° or below the entire time you were without power if you did not have a generator.
  • Please discard all walk in refrigeration and reach-in refrigeration dairy animal proteins and cut vegetables and fruits.
  • The Environmental Health Department asks that you sanitize all food contact surfaces before you begin food prep.

Environmental Health has provided a Re-Opening Checklist after Loss of Power (PSPS Event) for food facilities and restaurants at

Traffic Signals

Traffic LightsBe aware and use caution when driving during PG&E PSPS events. Remember, if a traffic signal is out, treat it as a stop sign and be safe. Watch CalTrans’ Power Outage Stoplight Safety Video.

Caltrans has been planning for PSPS events for months knowing that power outages would affect traffic signals on rural highways and on- and off-ramp signals in some of the more populated areas. Based on estimated outage area maps, CalTrans is roughly able to determine which signals will be impacted and ordered needed stop signs with barricades or generators for deployment. The Caltrans Maintenance and Electrical teams have been essential in staging signs or generators before PG&E cuts power so that everything is deployed and can be easily implemented when power is cut. The generators are also manned 24/7 by Caltrans staff so they can be refueled without any impacts to signal operation.

In addition, when PG&E announces planned PSPS events, CalTrans staffs additional employees to work shifts, etc. so they always have coverage to keep motorists safe on the roadway.

Prepare for Fire Weather and Red Flag Warning DaysWhat is a Red Flag Warning

  • Be prepared for the possibility of a public utility power shut off. Have food, lighting, water, and charged batteries that will last for several days.
  • Prepare for quick evacuation.
  • Park your vehicle towards the roadway and load your Go Bag.
  • Know how to open your garage if power is unavailable.
  • Be sure you have a full tank of gas.
  • Keep pets nearby.
  • Have a plan to transport large animals and livestock.
  • Always check towing equipment and eliminate dragging hazards.
  • Do not mow or trim dry grass.
  • Do not use equipment outdoors that may create a spark.
  • Never park on dry grass.
  • Never burn on a Red Flag Warning day.

CodeRED Emergency Alerts

CodeRED Subscribe Opens in new windowSign up for CodeRED Emergency Alerts to be notified of an emergency event. Code Red is a high-speed mass notification system designed to notify residents in the event of an emergency. We recommend you register to receive all possible alert notifications including: SMS/text, email, landline, cell phone, and TTY.

Code Red alerts will display as originating from 866-419-5000 or 855-969-4636 on your caller ID. Please add these numbers to your contacts. If you missed any of the message details, you can also dial the number back to hear the complete message. Encourage everyone in your household to register and make sure these numbers are excluded from your do not disturb settings by adding them to your favorites group (iOS) or with exceptions (Android). 

Sign up for CodeRED Emergency Alerts at If you need help signing up with CodeRED Emergency Alerts, please dial 2-1-1 or 1-844-319-4119 to speak with a local 211 call specialist who can help you register.

Hi-Lo Evacuation Sirens

Be familiar with the sound of the HiLo evacuation sirens. If you hear them, they only mean one thing: evacuate. Watch and listen to the sirens at on YouTube.

Go Bag

Emergency-preparedness-natural-disaster-supplies.-Water,-flashlight,-lantern,-batteries.-487398352_5Be ready to evacuate if needed. Find a checklist for assembling your Go Bag on page 15 of Nevada County's 2019 Ready, Set, Go! Guide at

  • Three-day supply of non-perishable food and three gallons of water per person
  • Map marked with evacuation routes List of important numbers in case your cell phone is lost
  • Prescriptions, special medications. Make sure you have at least a week-long supply of prescription medicines, along with a list of all medications, dosages, and any allergies.
  • Assistive devices or durable medical equipment
  • Battery-powered radio Extra batteries Pet & service animal supplies (food, water, carrier, leashes)
  • Change of clothing.
  • Sturdy shoes for walking
  • Extra eyeglasses or contact lenses N95 mask
  • An extra set of car keys
  • Credit cards, cash, or checks
  • Flashlight
  • Sanitation supplies
  • Copies of important documents (birth certificates, passports, etc.)
  • Cell phone charging cord and extra battery
  • Diaper bag
  • First aid kit

Find a checklist for assembling your Go Bag on page 15 of Nevada County's 2019 Ready, Set, Go! Guide at