Eclipse Countdown: Is Your Department and Community Prepared for the 2024 Solar Eclipse?
We are months away fro the once in a lifetime eclipse on April 8, 2024. This eclipse will travel across Ohio from the southwest to the northeast. Event totality will begin in Greenville, Ohio at approximately 3:00 pm and will exit near Avon Lake, Ohio at approximately 3:10 pm. The duration of totality of the eclipse is between 2-4 minutes. In Ohio there are 9 counties that intersect with the centerline of totality. There are 26 counties that are entirely within the area of totality. 20 counties have part of the county in the area of totality.
Why is this important? Since Ohio is within a one-day drive of 70% of the U.S. population, those communities within the centerline could see their local population triple to quadruple. Local population in other totality communities could double. Hotels, motels, and campsites are already booking, some at capacity. There is a concern for extreme traffic and stresses to the local infrastructure. With local eclipse festivals and viewing parties, Ohio is encouraging people to “Arrive Early, Stay Late”. The fire service in Ohio must plan accordingly to work with all our partners to ensure safe operations during the eclipse event.
TWO MONTHS BEFORE THE ECLIPSE
- Contact your County EMA to gain access to additional resources if needed. An example is requesting additional Marcs radios for interagency communication, as EMA’s typically have access to a cache for use during an event like the eclipse.
- If you provide patient transport, reach out to your area hospitals to plan for surge in patients in the days leading up to, during, and immediately after eclipse.
ONE MONTH BEFORE THE ECLIPSE
- Discuss among your department the availability of each member during the days before, during, and after the eclipse. Talk about concerns and impacts that this may have on your department’s response.
- If your department is active in inspections and education, will you continue with scheduled activities on the day of the event or postpone them.
- Find out what other events are scheduled during the eclipse. Several viewing parties and scheduled events are occurring throughout the state. Ensure your communities impacts from these will be accounted for.
- Make a plan with neighboring departments to ensure coverage needs are met.
TWO WEEKS BEFORE THE ECLIPSE
- Consider having an exercise with staff to go over potential concerns/impacts to services provided.
- Preplan if equipment needs to be moved/prepositioned ahead of the eclipse.
- Share your awareness and planning with your community. If you feel an impact on services will be made, express it now so it is understood ahead of time.
ONE WEEK BEFORE THE ECLIPSE
- Staffing decisions should be made by this time.
- Check in with local County EMA to see if they plan to activate fully for the eclipse.
- Prepare equipment that needs pre-staged, deploy accordingly to your department’s needs.
DAY OF ECLIPSE
- Monitor weather conditions. If a cloudy day is expected in your county, individuals may attempt travel to an area more favorable for viewing. This may impact traffic, local emergency operational support, and communications.
Click here for a flyer with this information.