Law enforcement, emergency services preparing for eclipse

By ALLEN MINCEY Staff Writer
Posted 8/12/17

Law enforcement and emergency personnel are preparing for the Aug. 21 solar eclipse and what might take place that day in the local area.

In fact, they are readying personnel for at least the …

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Law enforcement, emergency services preparing for eclipse

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Law enforcement and emergency personnel are preparing for the Aug. 21 solar eclipse and what might take place that day in the local area.

In fact, they are readying personnel for at least the day before and after, when they expect heavier traffic numbers than normal.

Several of the local emergency response agencies attended an informational session last week. The session was to let these agencies know what they might have to deal with due to the historic event.

“Right now, traffic is going to be the biggest issue,” said Troy Spence, director of the Cleveland-Bradley Emergency Management Agency. Those who will have to be ready for increases in traffic, such as the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office, Cleveland Police Department, Charleston Police Department and Tennessee Highway Patrol, are making plans for that period of time.

In the cases of the local enforcement, with school being out, School Resource Officers will be available to patrol the streets and roadways in the area.

Spence said it is possible there could be coverage issues with cellphones during the eclipse as well.

Motorists are being warned not to stop and get out of their vehicles to view the eclipse, especially on Interstate 75, U.S. 11 and U.S. 64, all three normally heavy traffic areas.

Emergency medical services, such as the local ambulance service and area hospitals, along with doctor’s offices, are preparing for those who do not follow safety measures such as wearing approved protective eyewear.

Spence told the agencies an issue that hasn’t received much attention is the possibility of sonic booms being heard during the eclipse.

He noted there would be jets following the eclipse across the country. The jets will have to rapidly be traveling east along as the sun is being covered, and the speed that will be necessary could lead to these sonic booms.

“We don’t know what all will happen, so what we and do is make people aware they need to be as cautious as they can. Don’t be stupid. Be safe,” Spence said.

There will be daily new briefings from the National Weather Service starting Aug. 15 at 5 p.m. for emergency responders to keep them informed of the approaching eclipse.

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