Charleston County officials announce plans for total eclipse

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Charleston County officials held a noon news conference Thursday to announce their plans for this month's total eclipse.

The eclipse will happen on Aug. 21 and the Charleston area is in the path of totality, meaning the area will be among the best places to see the rare event.

Representatives from the sheriff's office, EMS, emergency management divisions and other agencies were on hand to discuss preparations they are taking ahead of the eclipse.

Charleston traffic can get heavy, but for the total solar eclipse you can expect more.

Charleston area resident Andrew Shumpert is working on the day of the eclipse.

"I think it's going to make things a little hectic for me, I'm a service technician so I travel a lot," Shumpert said."It could cause a little chaos I hope it doesn't cause a lot of chaos."

The Charleston County Emergency Officials announced they would have increased patrols, EMS crews and 911 operators.

Major Eric Watson with the Charleston County Sheriff's Office says they will have an aviation unit on standby to monitor traffic.

"We expect traffic to be a major problem after the event we have an influx of people coming the day of the event the day before the event," Watson said. "You can imagine after the event is over we are going to have a influx leave from Charleston County."

Officials also say you should expect congestion on the cellphone network. It might be difficult to make calls or upload photos. Your best option is sending a text. If you need to call 911, that call will go through.

Jim Lake is the Director of the Charleston County Consolidated 911 Center.

"What we would like to remind the public to call 911 to save a life, stop a crime, report a fire, know where you are," Lake said. "Do not call 911 to test your phone."

Public safety is a priority.

The walkway on the Cooper River Bridge will be closed during the eclipse, and tow trucks will be on standby to readily clear stopped vehicles on the bridge.

For Charleston area resident, Herold Smith, watching it from home is the safest way to go.

"It's a nice little phenomena we get to be a part of and witness in our lifetime here," Smith said.

Though Shumpert is concerned about the traffic he is looking forward to the day.

"It's a pretty exciting event to witness," Shumpert said.

EMS officials also want to remind you to stay hydrated and bring medication you might need with you while watching the eclipse.

The Charleston County Emergency Operations Center will be open the day of the eclipse where emergency officials will gather and be prepared to respond as needed. Some parks and recreation centers will have emergency officials on location.

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