How will the solar eclipse affect emergency responses?

OSWEGO, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — In preparation for the solar eclipse Monday April 8, the Oswego Police and Fire Departments want people to be prepared for delays in emergency responses.

Due to the traffic and congestion that will take place during the eclipse, residents and visitors are urged to prioritize safety while experiencing this unique event.

“We are looking forward to hosting thousands of visitors in the Oswego community to experience the 2024 Solar Eclipse. We are anticipating traffic delays, cell phone service disruptions, and an increase in emergency call volume due to the increase in population. The Oswego Fire Department has adjusted staffing levels accordingly and will strategically place resources in all quadrants of the city to ensure the most efficient all-hazards emergency coverage. We hope our residents and visitors have a safe experience on Monday, and if by chance they do need emergency services, we’ll be there to help,” said Oswego Fire Chief Paul Conzone.

With the City of Oswego situated in the path of totality, safety precautions must be taken during this unique experience.

To ensure a safe and enjoyable experience during the solar eclipse, the Oswego Police and Fire Departments advise you to do the following:

  • Plan ahead:
    • Expect increased traffic on the day of the eclipse and plan travel accordingly. Arrive early at your desired viewing location and make sure that you have enough fuel/charge to return home if you are not staying in the area. Be aware of the potential for traffic congestion, gas shortages, and other disruptions to the transportation system. Consider carpooling or utilizing public transportation, when possible.
  • Utilize designated viewing sites and free shuttle service:
    • Breitbeck Park, Fort Ontario, the Lake Ontario Event & Conference Center, and SUNY Oswego are all designated viewing sites for the eclipse. Find out more about the free shuttle service offered before and during the eclipse.
  • Be prepared:
    • Make sure to pack for success and ensure that you have enough water and food to remain hydrated and nourished not only during the event, but also on your return trip. Shop a day before or earlier to avoid congestion. Remember that you may be in direct sunlight for hours and being so, hats, sunscreen, and other protective clothing are suggested to protect your skin. Pack a first aid kit in case of unforeseen circumstances.
  • Protect your eyes:
    • Use approved eclipse glasses to view the eclipse and prevent serious damage to your eyes.
  • Charge your phone:
    • Make sure that your cellphone is charged and that you bring a phone charger with you. Be aware that there could be cellphone service disruptions.
  • Respect your surroundings:
    • Please respect private property and do not trespass. Do not obstruct roads, driveways, or sidewalks. Do not park or stand in the roadway. Be cognizant of the need for emergency personnel to be able to travel.
  • Reduce unnecessary travel:
    • Especially after the event, it is anticipated that traffic will be congested. Those without a need for travel are suggested to avoid roadways until traffic is cleared.
  • Emergency services:
    • Be aware of the potential for delays in emergency services. Increased call volume and congestion may result in longer response times. Do your part, make pathways and roadways clear for emergency personnel.

Oswego Police and Fire Departments also advise those leaving the area after the eclipse to be aware of traffic that’s likely to occur and to be mindful of others and cautious on the roadways.

“While we hope that the city’s event is well attended, there’s a level of uncertainty on the number of guests that will travel here. We’ve been working diligently with the Oswego County Emergency Management Office and have a wide-ranging response plan in place. If there’s an influx of traffic, we ask for everyone’s patience and understanding. Please don’t expect to come late and leave quickly, there could be traffic delays,” said Oswego Police Chief Phil Cady.

For more information on enjoying the eclipse in the City of Oswego, visit their website, and for any updates on safety measures, check the Oswego Police and Fire Department’s Facebook or Instagram.

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