Emergency services across Oregon gear up for eclipse

Emergency services gear up for eclipse

PORTLAND, Ore. -- In anticipation of the coming solar eclipse rush, Oregon is getting its reinforcements in place.

That's everything from emergency services to power companies.

Inside Portland General Electric's solar control center on Thursday, it was business as usual. But crews there know that come Monday morning, a chunk of solar power will be lost when the moon totally blocks the sun.

But, the power company said it is prepared with plenty of backup.

"What we're expecting is that everything will go smoothly," said Steve Corson, a spokesperson for PGE.

Still, the company is deploying crews across the path of totality to be in place in case there is a power outage. They'll be spending the night at line centers and power plants.

And at a hydro-project near Madras, crews will be ditching their utility trucks altogether.

"The roads may be a problem so we're actually staging boats on the reservoir between the dams so that crews can travel by boat if they need to to get from point A to point B," explained Corson.

Across the area, agencies are bringing in reinforcement.

American Medical Response brought in 23 extra ambulances from elsewhere around the state as well as Washington and California to cover what it anticipates will be a big increase in emergency calls.

The ambulances and crews will set up in some of the more remote areas within the path of totality.

"Some of them are rest areas, some are fire departments, one's a hospital, so there are a variety of locations where they'll be responding from," explained AMR's public information officer Lucie Drum.

Starting Friday, Life Flight will be stationing three additional helicopters, for a total of 11, across Oregon.

Justin Dillingham with the Life Flight Network said with roads and highways clogged with visitors, helicopters may be the only way to get patients and supplies to hospitals.

"We may be the only responders in some situations," he said.

© 2017 KGW-TV


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