Here in Georgia, American Medical Response (AMR) services the 9-1-1 zones for North Fulton, South Fulton, Dekalb and Troup Counties. We’re fortunate in the sense that the highly-populated metro Atlanta area is just outside of the totality path. We’ll witness a 97% partial eclipse. The totality of the eclipse in Georgia will be generalized in the extreme northeast of the state, and most people in the metro Atlanta area will be traveling to that region for the best views.
We started our preparations at the end of July. Our main concern has been the excessive vehicle traffic we foresee as visitors from Atlanta travel to northeast Georgia and back for the viewing.
The AMR North Fulton market is where Georgia State Route 400 is located. This is a major artery that feeds into Northeast Georgia from the Metro Atlanta area, and we expect heavy traffic. We don’t have the best infrastructure when it comes to handling daily traffic, so any increase can be monumental.
We anticipate the increase to begin August 20th, the day before the eclipse, as well as the three to four hours before and after the eclipse on the 21st. We’re also anticipating a slight increase in motor vehicle accidents as people try to watch or film the eclipse while driving.
Altered School Schedules
Schools in the area will be delaying student dismissal until after the eclipse has taken place. This will have all the local schools letting students out at or around the same time, which will increase traffic congestion.
To address this, we’ll be increasing our staffing the day before as well the afternoon of the eclipse to ensure that we’re able to handle any increase in call volume. We’re also strategically posting units around the metro Atlanta area to ensure that we don’t have an increase in response times due to traffic congestion.
Solar Powered Residences and Facilities
In Georgia, solar power can provide up to 31% of the electricity that’s used by its residents. With that in mind, we have concerns about the impact this will have on solar-powered homes and facilities.
To prepare for this, we’ve partnered with our local Fire Departments to ensure that there’s an action plan in place if solar powered homes or facilities experience issues. We’re preparing to assist them as necessary if transports to other facilities or from residences are required.
Train, Train, Train!
Lastly, and importantly, we want our field crews prepared for the event as well. The best way to accomplish that is through education. We also look to them for ideas about how best we can prepare and what they will need from us.
The field crews are on the frontlines and we take their concerns and ideas into our planning processes. Along with our action plan for the day before and the day of the eclipse, we’ve sent out informational handouts on the eclipse and what to expect.
This is a very exciting time for us and we’re looking forward to it. I’m sure there will be lessons learned once that day is upon us, since we can’t possibly prepare for everything that might happen.