Prepare for Power Outages (PSPS) and (PSOM)

Prepare for a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) and Public Safety Outage Management (PSOM)

Energy providers may implement measures intended to protect communities from the threat of equipment-related wildfires during extreme fire weather. 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. Call 2-1-1 or 1-833-DIAL-211 to be connected to specific resources and updates. Dial 911 if you experiencing a life-threatening emergency. 

Customers served by PG&E in Western Nevada County should stay informed and watch for PSPS information. Learn more here.  

Customers served by Truckee Donner Public Utility District in Eastern Nevada County should stay informed and watch for PSOM information. Truckee Donner Public Utility District does not generate power locally and is dependent on NV Energy for transmission of electricity. NV Energy has announced an expansion of their wildfire safety de-energization program Public Safety Outage Management (PSOM) where, based on catastrophic wildfire risk, NV Energy will de-energize transmission lines that deliver power to Truckee. Learn more here.

A PSPS and PSOM could lead to the following for multiple days at a time

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

Prepare Prior to a Power Outage

  • Update your contact information with your utility company to be alerted prior to a power outage. 
  • 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 Community Resource Center, which are typically open during the day.
  • Stock up on batteries, flashlights, and nonperishable foods.
  • Have a backup charging device if you are able.
  • 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 drive way.
  • 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.

Protect Yourself During a Power Outage

  • Turn off or disconnect appliances, equipment, or electronics to avoid damage. 
  • Eat non-perishable foods that do not require refrigeration. 
  • Implement your plan for refrigerating medicines or powering medical devices.
  • Visit a Community Resource Center with power when heat or cold is extreme
  • Be sure to use generators, camp stoves, or charcoal grills outdoors only. Do not use a gas stove for heat.

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 own and the lives of employees who may be working on power lines in your community. Download this printable .pdf on generator safety. 

Backup Power and Generator Safety from PG&E:

Food Safety Tips

With 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 for 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 onto 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 and reference Refrigerated Food and Power Outages: When to Save It and When to Throw it Out.

Stay Informed by following the Office of Emergency Services' updates:

Additional resources:

Traffic Signals

Traffic LightsBe aware and use caution when driving during PSPS and PSOM 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 these events 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.

During PSPS and PSOM events there is a higher risk of wildfire. Be prepared with a Go Bag, know the Hi-Lo Siren, and your Evacuation Zone