Governor Activates Emergency Operations Center For Eclipse

(From the Office of the Ohio Governor)

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced that he is activating the Ohio Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to support local communities before, during, and after Monday’s solar eclipse, which could draw hundreds of thousands of visitors to Ohio.

“There is no better place to experience the eclipse than in Ohio, the Birthplace of Aviation and the heart of aerospace,” said Governor DeWine. “While we are confident that our local communities have fully prepared for the influx of spectators, having our Emergency Operations Center at the ready will allow us to immediately respond if any unexpected needs arise.”

Beginning on Sunday, staff members from the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Ohio Emergency Management Agency, Ohio Adjutant General’s Department, Ohio Fire Marshal’s Office, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, and the departments of transportation, natural resources, administrative services, and job and family services will assemble at the EOC in Columbus to organize resources for local partners who request support.

The EOC activation follows the executive order issued by Governor DeWine last month that directed all state departments and agencies to be prepared to support local communities during the eclipse. Ohio EMA has been coordinating with state, local, and private partners to prepare for increased demands on gas, food, shelter, traffic, and cell phone service since 2021.

“We usually don’t have this much notice for a large-scale event, but the eclipse has been hundreds of years in the making, so that helped make our jobs a little easier,” said Sima Merick, director of the Ohio Emergency Management Agency. “Our EOC teams will be watching traffic cameras, weather radar, and monitoring local needs through contact with our county partners, and we stand ready to provide resources as needed.”

In addition to the EOC activation, the Ohio State Highway Patrol will increase staffing levels and activate its aviation unit to enhance traffic safety services and emergency response on Ohio’s highways. Troopers will be available to support local law enforcement agencies on request and will be ready to assist motorists in the days leading up to and after the eclipse. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources will also increase its law enforcement staffing levels at its 23 state parks and five wildlife areas that are in or near the path of totality. 

The Ohio Department of Transportation will be fully staffed on the day of the eclipse to assist with traffic control and adjust traffic signal timing near popular viewing areas as needed. The Ohio Turnpike’s toll booths, service plazas, and maintenance buildings will also be fully staffed, and the turnpike will be monitored by tow truck operators to provide roadside assistance to stranded motorists. Portable message signs will be placed at various locations to keep travelers informed about traffic incidents and driving conditions.