For most Nevada County residents being fire safe is just a daily necessity, but now staying Nevada County Ready can make you a star.
The Nevada County Office of Emergency Services, Sheriff’s Office and FREED Center for Independent Living are looking for three residents to share their experience with fire preparedness and feature in a short film about the county’s “Ready, Set, Go!” guidelines.
People over 18 years old can answer a questionnaire to volunteer and should have some availability between today and Oct. 15. Potential participants aren’t expected to be experts in the county’s fire defense programs and efforts. In fact, they are encouraged to bring their own questions and concerns to the process.
“Especially after the Jones Fire we’ve found people really want to talk through their experience, about how things worked for them. We want to make it more personal for people to understand how these small things you can do in advance can really make a difference when you get that evacuation order,” said Sheila Cameron, communications contractor for the Ready Nevada County campaign. “The person doesn’t have to know all the answers, we want it to really feel human, like you’re talking to your neighbor.”
Cameron said residents will be paired with experts so they can share their experience and not worry about providing answers.
The county is also looking for people to show off their fire-hardened homes and defensible space to be featured in a drone shot as an example in the film.
READY, SET, GO
The campaign emphasizes, being “Ready” through defensible space and home hardening measures, staying “Set” by preparing an evacuation bag, and planning multiple evacuation routes in case people have to “Go.”
It also encourages residents to “find their five,” selecting a handful of trusted neighbors and friends to look out for each other in an emergency.
After the county’s initial plans for fire safety outreach were thwarted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Cameron said the goal was to distill the Ready Nevada County handbook into a watchable format, recognizing people may be tired of PowerPoint presentations and Zoom calls.
“A lot of the outreach that was so successful for us last year really involved one-on-one communication,” Cameron said. “We had an aggressive schedule over the spring and summer into the fall of meeting with people, being available to answer their questions, and we quickly realized that wasn’t going to work.”
The Ready Nevada County campaign recently won a County Government Experience Award from the Center for Digital Government, which recognizes achievements and best practices for how government serves its citizenry.
“It is an honor to be recognized nationally for our efforts. It truly was a team effort and we want to share our success with the rest of the community,” Office of Emergency Services Program Manager Paul Cummings said in a press release. “Everyone who did their part to become Ready Nevada County and share the message should be proud.”
While grateful for the award, Cameron said seeing how calmly and safely county residents responded to recent fire danger is what makes her work worth it.
“We’re just really grateful for how our community is becoming part of the solution,” she said. “That’s the best reward.”
To contact Staff Writer John Orona, email [email protected] or call 530-477-4229.
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