State and local emergency managers are planning for an influx of about one million visitors into Oregon for several days on either side of the Aug. 21 eclipse. With this many visitors, concerns include driving times or gridlock, availability of gasoline, bandwidth for cell service, and timely availability of just about anything you might usually be able to buy.
In an abundance of caution, the Red Cross and other agencies are recommending that people plan ahead, and make sure your emergency kit is stocked with everything you need for at least 24 hours.
Here are some tips to help you enjoy this once in a lifetime event, while being safe and prepared.
Maintain a positive attitude & stay flexible
Planning ahead with some realistic expectations is a responsible thing to do for yourself, your family and your neighbors. Make plans that will have opportunities for flexible schedules and activities, and include ways to reduce stress for individuals and families.
Have a communications plan
Meet with your family and discuss the importance of preparing for an emergency. Where will you meet if you get separated? How will you check-in with each other? There may be some bandwidth issues for cell phone users, so one helpful tip is to set up and practice texting codes with the family that may still get through, like IMOK (I am okay) or IMATH (I’m at Tyler’s House). FEMA has great Family Communication Plan resources for emergencies. Go to www.ready.gov/kids to find check sheets, worksheets and some interactive games. The American Red Cross site is full of helpful information, too.
If you must drive, plan ahead
Expect that Aug. 21, as well as the days before and after the Eclipse could have significant traffic congestion. Keep a 24-hour emergency kit in your car including water and some food in case you are stuck for a few hours while trying to get to your destination. Fill up your tank in advance and drive only when necessary.
Plan for medical needs
In any emergency, first responders and medical personnel will be stretched pretty thin. Plan ahead to be sure you have an adequate supply of necessary medications and personal hygiene supplies. Now is a good time to brush up on basic first aid, too.
Stock up on food and water
Resources such as food, water and basic daily living supplies will be in high demand with a surge of people coming from all around. Plan ahead to avoid long lines and shortages. Also, keep some cash on hand in case of a power outage or other credit/debit card system issues.
Protect your eyes
Many stores are offering inexpensive, special eclipse-viewing glasses that block harmful light that can damage your vision. Regular sunglasses will not protect your eyes from permanent damage. Look for the ISO 12312-2 international standard on eclipse glasses (https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/safety).
Enjoy and be safe!