Wednesday, August 16, 2017
With the solar eclipse on the horizon, it’s time to get prepared by stocking up on glasses, food, water, gas and patience.
“The number of people expected in Oregon for the Aug. 21 eclipse, especially in the path of totality, will really stretch our resources and infrastructures,” said Glenda Hyde, a family and community health educator with Oregon State University Extension Service. “There could be double or triple the population in some areas.”
Predictions may fall short, but people should be ready for large crowds, possibly gridlocked traffic, and runs on grocery stores and gas stations. To help, Extension prepared a Solar Eclipse Preparedness webpage and a flyer called Solar Eclipse: Be Responsible, Resourceful and Resilient, which was co-authored by Hyde.
In case stores close or run out of essentials, start now to stock up on food for a week, concentrating on canned and boxed goods, including shelf-stable milk alternatives. Frozen food is an option, too, but if power goes out temporarily keep the freezer closed. It’s important to plan for healthy meals rather than just high-fat, high-sugar snacks.
“Part of being resilient is eating healthy,” she said. “And don’t eat the same thing over and over. You can get through with red beans and rice in an emergency, but your nutrition will be lacking.”
For tips on food and water storage and meal planning options, refer to Food Storage for Emergencies and Water Storage for Emergencies online.
If you do nothing else, don’t skimp on the special glasses needed for viewing the eclipse.
“It’s essential to wear eclipse glasses whether you’re in the path of totality or on the fringe,” Hyde said. “It’s not a myth that staring into the sun can cause permanent eye damage.”
To avoid getting counterfeits, look for ISO 12312-2 stamped on the glasses, she said, as well as one of the following companies certified by NASA: Rainbow Symphony, American Paper Optics, Thousand Oaks Optical, TSE 17, and Baader Planetarium.
Fire hazard will be extremely high so don’t park or drive on dry grass. Water plants and lawn near the house and clean up debris to create a defensible space around homes. Don’t use open flame or start campfires.
Hyde also recommends:
Withdraw cash as ATMs may not work or be depleted.
Fill up the gas tank and keep it filled
Have water on hand for three days — a gallon per person per day is a good goal.
If traveling, even for short distances, keep some water, food and a first aid kit in the car. A backpack will come in handy if you have to walk somewhere.
Don’t forget pets when stocking up on food.
Keep a week’s worth of medications on hand.
Cellphone towers may become overwhelmed. Make sure you can locate family members with alternative methods.
“Planning and preparing will give you alternatives for situations that may arise,” Hyde said. “Try not to stress out. Take a deep breath, relax and enjoy this special event.”