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‘We’re thinking differently;’ City governments, EMS looking ahead to ensure safety during eclipse

DAYTON — There are only six weeks to go until the total solar eclipse in April, and local emergency services workers and governments are already starting to consider safety during the big day.

The upside of the eclipse could be huge benefits to the economy, with room rentals at hotels and higher traffic at restaurants.

However, a lot of emergency services workers and governments are looking at traffic safety standpoints as roads could be overwhelmed with the increase of people coming in for the eclipse.

“We’re treating it as an emergency that we would plan for,” Dayton Deputy City Manager Joe Parlette said.

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Parlette told News Center 7′s Mike Campbell that even with Interstate 75 and 7-0, plus Route 35 and Route 4, our roads could still be swamped.

“Traffic is really what we are most concerned about and being able to provide the basic services we provide,” Parlette said.

Dayton is studying the best way to provide Fire, EMS, and Police services because the typical routes for emergency calls might not be available.

“Hopefully everyone gets to see it and it is all good and safe and peaceful,” Amber Heiser said.

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Heiser is planning to camp out in her in-law’s backyard in Warren County and watch the eclipse, but her mother. Laura Thornhill is worried. She has friends who are Eclipse veterans and told her horror stories.

“[They] traveled out west to see it, they said where they planned to go, it was just crazy, people were just pulling off the road and parking along the highway and just stopping and getting out of their cars,” Thornhill said.

Parlette said he believes months of planning will pay off.

“Common sense isn’t so common sometimes. We’re thinking differently about how to deploy resources so that when someone is experiencing an emergency we are not delayed substantially by traffic,” Parlette said.

The Eclipse is set to occur on April 8th, and the Dayton area is one of the 3 large Ohio cities expected to be in the path for the best viewing.


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