Resident Urged to be Prepared in Advance of the Eclipse

With Orleans County falling within the 120 Mile wide path of the Total Solar Eclipse on April 8, the Emergency Management Office is reminding residents to take time to prepare in advance.

“Orleans County is a travel destination as we have a once in a lifetime event happening in our backyard,” said Legislature Chairman Lynne Johnson. “For some, it mayOrleans County Total Eclipse - Public seem like we are preparing for a Y2K type event, but honestly, there are a lot of variables to consider when trying to plan for something like this and we aren’t sure what to fully expect.  Our Emergency Management team is following the credo ‘plan for the worst and hope for the best’, proper planning is essential to a successful experience for everyone.”

Justin Niederhofer, Director of the Emergency Management Office (EMO), said that, although the eclipse will not occur until Monday April 8th, it is expected that visitors will begin to trickle through the area beginning Friday, April 5th or sooner.  

“With numerous planned events drawing thousands of travelers along the path of totality, it is expected that the New York State Thruway and other interstates will experience a high volume of traffic causing significant delays following the eclipse,” said Niederhofer.  “Previous areas of the U.S. that have been in the path of totality experienced traffic delays for up to 12 hours following the eclipse.  Many travelers will begin to seek alternative routes, leading them down various Orleans County roadways.”

Niederhofer stressed that, with the influx of visitor and travelers, residents should prepare for any travel to be impacted. 

“If you’re going to travel to the area events, expect traffic delays and be prepared,” said Niederhofer.  Have a plan, water, blankets, non-perishable foods.  Be sure you have a full tank of fuel and a fully charged cell phone.  If you’re involved in a minor vehicle accident, take pictures if safe to do so, and pull off the roadway as much as possible and turn on your hazard lights.  

The EMO also offered some other tips, including:  

  • Do not park on the shoulder of the road or trespass on private property to observe the eclipse
  • Dress for the weather that day, there could be up to a 20 degree temperature drop
  • Ensure that you have any needed medications and groceries in advance, and consider rescheduling appoints that fall on April 8th
  • Cell service may become an issue due to exceeding network capacity, have an alternative plan for communication or meeting locations established with your family

Residents can still obtain their FREE eclipse glasses at local libraries, Kendall Town Hall or Orleans County Office Building, but supplies are going quickly. Residents are also encouraged to download the FREE Orleans Aware App to receive important notification. 

Niederhofer also said people should check in on your elderly and homebound family and neighbors to ensure that medications, including oxygen, is refilled prior to April 4th, and that they have ample food and water for the duration of the event.   

The EMO has been diligently planning with public safety partners and said there will be extra law enforcement staffing; additional ambulances are being put into service; some volunteer fire stations will be staffed; and DOT and Highway Departments will be available to assist.  Additionally, the state and federal government are moving additional law enforcement, rescue and ems response resources into the region that will be also be available if needed.

“As we progress through next week and into next weekend, we will have a better handle on the volume of traffic coming through and continue to update the public right through the eclipse event,” said Niederhofer.  “We are not sure what to expect, but the one thing we all can control is being prepared, which is key to ensuring everyone can enjoy the eclipse”

Click here to view a full PowerPoint presentation put together by EMO.