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City officials urge people to plan ahead and be patient for upcoming total solar eclipse

DAYTON — Dayton’s first responders are doing emergency planning for the upcoming total solar eclipse.

The Dayton Fire Department is heading up the work of all city departments planning for this unheard-of influx of visitors. One of the big impacts could be on traffic patterns and driving on freeways and other city roads.

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Officials said we all need to be aware of what could, and likely will, happen.

“People have to realize that April 8 is not going to be just like any other day. Significant increase in traffic to the area is anticipated,” Assistant Chief Brad French, public information officer for the Dayton Fire Department, said.

French said information and education will help Eclipse Day stay smooth and safe. The fire department will be increasing staffing, making it easier to handle potential emergencies in all four corners of the city, even if there are traffic tie-ups.

The fire department put together a presentation for city commissioners about the eclipse and why it will impact Dayton so heavily. They said the last total eclipse in Ohio was in 1806 and the next one is scheduled for 2099, making this truly a once-in-a-lifetime event.

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Seventy percent of the United States population is within eight hours or one-day driving distance of Dayton – it’s why they expect a potential of one million visitors in the Greater Dayton Region. It’ll cause big problems for traffic and for communication.

“If you’ve ever been in a really crowded situation and everybody tries to make a phone call at the same time, or something like that – or send a message, sometimes that can get a little bogged down,” French said.

The city is urging people to plan their viewing spots. All three city recreation centers are holding watch events. They’re also urging everyone to not park alongside or on any roadways.

“Have a whole lot of patience that day,” French said.

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