County Helps Residents Prepare For Eclipse

Lincoln County continues its planning activities for the August Total Solar Eclipse which takes place on Monday, August 21, 2017. The path of totality extends between Waldport and Pacific City beginning at 9 a.m. and ending at 10:30 a.m.. Anticipated community impact due to increased traffic and congestion is expected to begin Thursday, August 17, 2017 through Tuesday, August 22, 2017.

In anticipation of the event, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, Board of Commissioners and Health and Human Services have created a “Lincoln County Eclipse Information Guide.”

The guide is intended to provide a public safety and preparedness resource for residents, visitors, business and property owners specific to Lincoln County. Lincoln County’s Public Information Officer, Casey Miller, emphasized, “We want the eclipse to be a safe, enjoyable and educational event. While there is a lot of great information online, we wanted to provide our community with valued, timely and essential information that is unique to the Lincoln County experience”.

Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office – Emergency Management continues its coordination efforts with local jurisdictions and emergency responders. A recent exercise convened local fire, law enforcement, dispatch, hospitals, public health, state forestry, National Weather Service and the American Red Cross to simulate response to a wildfire scenario during the eclipse weekend. County Emergency Manager, Jenny Demaris commented, “We designed our annual wildfire tabletop exercise to occur hypothetically during the eclipse weekend using the actual 2016 Depoe Bay 2500 Road Fire as our scenario but changed the conditions warranting an evacuation of surrounding communities. In terms of realistic preparation this is about as good as it gets. In fact, last year’s 2500 Road Fire occurred on the same weekend in August as the eclipse event this year.”

The recent tabletop is one of four exercises we have planned prior to the eclipse event: wildland fire, hazardous materials transportation accident, distant tsunami and public health outbreak. Demaris continued, “Each of these exercises is an effort to bring together public safety and other partners to practice coordinated responses with the eclipse in mind. Lincoln County public safety, community partners, volunteer and government agencies are to be commended for their time and effort designated for the preparation and eventual response to the eclipse event.”

In addition to reviewing the eclipse guide, the community is encouraged to sign-up or update their information in the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office emergency notification system, Lincoln Alerts. A keyword has been created specifically for the eclipse event, “LINC4ECLIPSE”. Any individual with text feature on their mobile phone can sign up to receive pre-event information and most importantly, response information during the anticipated impact days. The County website will also be kept up to date with changing information and shared with the local newspaper and radio stations to help get the word out.

Lincoln County Eclipse Information Guide (excerpt):
A Message from your Elected Officials:

If you were to stay in one place all your life, the chances of seeing a total solar eclipse would be quite slim. This fact is one aspect of why August 21st, 2017, will be a very special day in the history of Lincoln County. First contact will happen here, in our county. The eclipse chasers are coming and they want to be the first people to experience totality in the continental U.S.

As residents, we are fortunate to know why visitors from all walks of life are drawn to our beautiful community, especially in the summer. Lincoln County is a spectacular place. In all probability, if the weather cooperates, we will all be in for a special treat when sun’s shadow crosses our state.

Increased tourism is part of our seasonal experience. It is our opportunity every year to experience a much needed boost in the economy. Locals are well aware that during peak summer months, going to our favorite restaurants may mean longer waits; and traveling throughout our county simply takes more time.

We encourage everyone to take a few moments to review the county’s Eclipse Information Guide. You will discover best practices that should be familiar. These tips for health and safety, we hope, have become more commonplace in our dialogue with friends and family. The principles that apply to emergency preparation are much the same as they apply to mass gatherings, tsunamis, and other natural hazards.

Preparation is about planning for the known and unknown. The county has worked with our local cities, tribe, public safety and our state and federal partners to assess our community needs during the impact days and develop staffing and resource plans to include contingency plans. In particular, public safety and partners will have exercised the following scenarios prior to the eclipse event: a wildland fire with community evacuation, a hazardous material transportation accident with multiple critical injuries, a distant tsunami from the Gulf of Alaska, and a public health outbreak response.

The eclipse represents both increased opportunity and challenges. As thousands of additional individuals and families arrive for a once in a lifetime celestial event, we encourage residents & visitors alike to be ready; to be patient; to be safe; and most of all, to enjoy this unique experience at the coast!

During the days leading up to and during the eclipse event, we encourage you to read our local newspapers and listen to our local public radio stations as they, too, are committed to bringing you preparedness information and current information during the eclipse event. In addition to local news media, residents, visitors and businesses can refresh their information or sign-up for our Lincoln County emergency notification system, Lincoln Alerts. We specifically have a text keyword for the eclipse event “LINC4ELCIPSE” and “LINC4ROADS” that we will use to keep our community up to date on current situations as well as our county website.

Information provided by Lincoln County