The countdown is on to this once in a lifetime event. On Monday, August 21st, 2017, a Total Solar Eclipse (TSE) will occur in the United States. The TSE will run through Oregon from Lincoln City to Ontario, with Wasco County only experiencing the TSE in the southern portion of our County. To see what the eclipse will look like where you live, click on this link, solar eclipse in your zip code.
While exact numbers (and even solid estimates) are very difficult to obtain, emergency managers are planning for an influx of about one million visitors into Oregon for several days on either side of the eclipse. Since August is already prime vacation season in many areas of the state, expect nearly everything to be above capacity for nearly a week total.
Suggestions for RESIDENTS and VISITORS:
- RESIDENTS - Sign up for Wasco County's Citizen Alert. This is Wasco County's mass notification system for residents that would like to receive emergency messages like severe weather, wildfires, floods, street and road closures, missing persons, law enforcement activities and evacuation notices by telephone, text and e-mail
- FOOD/SUPPLIES - Travelers that did not plan, may arrive with little or no food, bottled water, and other supplies. Especially in smaller rural communities, you should consider stocking up with groceries and other needed supplies in the weeks leading up to the event.
- FUEL - With all the added vehicles in our State, fuel supplies may be taxed. Be sure to fuel up your vehicles prior to their arrival.
- CASH - Keep some cash on hand, just in case the ATM’s get overwhelmed.
- TRAFFIC - Traffic will likely be a real problem. To help reduce congestion, consider not traveling several days before and several days after August 21st, 2017. If you do travel, be prepared for the likelihood of prolonged travel time. Have a supply of non-perishable food, water, medications, etc. in your car.
- COMMUNICATION - Does your family have a back-up communication plan, in case the cell towers are overwhelmed?
- FIRE - This event is happening during fire season. Help prevent human-caused wildfires by reminding guests of basic wildfire safety, such as; no parking or driving on dry grass, no campfires or other open flames, etc. And, as always, take steps to be sure your home/property is prepared with adequate defensible space.
- HOSPITALS & EMS - Rural hospitals, clinics, and EMS, have limited ability to respond to the large increase of people expected. Please be as prepared as possible to take care of minor injuries/incidents by having a first-aid kit and being aware that if you need help, you may have a longer wait than normal.
- 911 - Dispatch centers may be overwhelmed with calls. Please only call 911 for a true emergency. Check social media and/or call the info hotline at 541-506-2792 for general information and updates.
- IMMUNIZATIONS - Many visitors will arrive from all over the country and other nations. This is a good time to be sure you and your family are up-to-date on your immunizations.
- TRESPASSING - Hotels & campsites have been booked for months . Visitors that arrive without a plan, may find themselves without a place to stay. Land owners should post “No Trespassing” signs to avoid uninvited visitors camping on their property. Please include a phone number, where law enforcement can reach you, if needed.
- ECLIPSE GLASSES - To watch the eclipse safely, you will need eclipse-viewing glasses to block harmful light from damaging your vision. Regular sunglasses will NOT work. Be sure your eclipse glasses meet the ISO 12312-2 international standard.
Suggestions for EMPLOYERS:
- Prepare for a big jump in customers. Grocery stores, gas stations, hotels, restaurants, transportation services, coffee shops, retail stores, urgent care clinics and many other establishments will experience a jump in business. We encourage them to order goods and schedule staff accordingly.
- Be aware that many visitors will be camping in both authorized and unauthorized locations; expect customers who may be primarily interested in using rest rooms.
- Encourage employees to have a full tank of gas prior to the time visitors begin to arrive in the area. Lines for fuel may occur and you’ll want staff to be able to get to work.
- Be prepared for more cash transactions and potential challenges with credit/debit card transactions taking longer than usual because of increased volumes. Consider having tills set up to accommodate more cash transactions.
- Be prepared for cell service overloads; there may be service disruptions due to the increase in visitors using networks. Visitors may have urgent requests to use your business telephone line if they are having trouble with cell service. Decide how you want to handle these requests and make sure employees know what to do.
- Talk to suppliers. Some suppliers may be considering delivery schedule changes due to the event(s). Suppliers may also be looking at how the increased traffic on rural roads may impact delivery times.
Travel Oregon has printed 50,000 “2017 Total Solar Eclipse” travel guides to place in Oregon’s Welcome Centers. The guide will also be available for lodging operators and their guests online at traveloregon.com.
- Travel Oregon Eclipse web page
- Viewing safety
- Two Weeks Ready personal preparedness
- Oregon Hazards Reporter
- Oregon Geologic Hazards Viewer
- Keep Oregon Green fire prevention
- Eastern Oregon Visitor Association
- Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
- Eclipse Safety for the Fire Service--State Fire Marshal's Office
- Oregon Eclipse Weather--National Weather Service Portland Office