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County leaders suggest buying groceries, fuel and medication in advance and canceling appointments

CENTRAL OREGONIAN FILE PHOTO - The solar eclipse will occur on Aug. 21.

Prineville leaders continue to prepare for the solar eclipse, holding frequent meetings with emergency personnel to discuss plans for the Aug. 21 event.

In addition, members of the local business community have begun meeting to look at ways to prepare for the thousands of people expected in Crook County and find ways to benefit economically.

However, emergency managers plan to target another group of people and provide them ideas and suggestions for when the community becomes an eclipse-viewing mecca — the citizens.

Vicky Ryan, who is the emergency preparedness manager with the Crook County Health Department, offers several tips to people who will try to not only enjoy the eclipse like everybody else, but try to conduct everyday living on the days immediately before and after the event.

Thousands of people are expected to flood the Crook County area for several days before and after the eclipse and make traffic considerably more congested and businesses far busier. Therefore, some of the things Ryan suggests revolve around storing up necessary supplies to eliminate the need to venture into town and complete routine errands.

"Fill your prescriptions early," she said. "One of the things I do regularly for preparedness — you are able to call in your prescriptions seven days before they run out. You have to be prompt about picking them up. In four months, you could actually have a month's worth of prescriptions in the event that something should happen."

Ryan points out that even with less than two months until the eclipse, people could still save up to one to two weeks of medication and avoid having to venture out into town and fight extra traffic and extra lines at the pharmacy.

The same goes for grocery shopping and purchasing fuel for vehicles. Ryan urges people to do so about two weeks before eclipse if financially feasible — or one week at minimum.

"Because we are looking at the potential for pricing to go up," she said. "The price of gas could go up. We are subject to our challenges with the quantity of fuel that we can have refilled in Central Oregon."

Another suggestion Ryan makes is canceling any non-essential appointments that occur near the time of the eclipse. She suggests that people who are not attending an organized event stay home on the day of the eclipse if at all possible.

For those who do stay home and plan to have guests visit them, it is suggested that people not wait until the last minute to travel.

"People should not plan to try to get over here on Saturday or Sunday," Ryan said, noting the traffic will become significant by that time. Instead, she recommends locals encourage their visitors to come by Thursday or Friday at the latest. Similarly, they should plan to stay a couple days after the event.

"Don't expect to be able to leave on Monday," she said. "It would be easier for people to try to get out of town Tuesday or Wednesday."

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