GC Health Department issues tips and reminders for upcoming eclipse event

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

The Greene County Health Department has released a list of tips and reminders regarding the April 8 solar eclipse to all Greene County residents.

The Health Department wants to make sure Greene County stays safe and residents are prepared for this once-in-a-lifetime event and the weekend of festivities preceding it.

“We are expecting a surge of visitors flocking to witness this extraordinary sight,” the release states. “It is important to prepare for the crowds and possible resource limitations.”

Important reminders for the community

• Prepare for heavy traffic and waiting in long lines - There will be a large increase in traffic congestion and wait times will be longer at local services. Be prepared to be patient.

• Stock up. Make sure you and your family shop for groceries ahead of time, and see that your vehicles are filled with fuel.

• Have needed medications filled and ready. Pick up prescriptions or needed medications before April 5, you may not be able to refill your supply once the crowds arrive.

• Have communication plans in place. With the influx of visitors possibly straining our cell phone towers and our internet connections, prepare a communication plan early with family and friends. Coordinate where you will be, if and where you will meet and plan for extra travel time.

• Cash. Have cash on hand for purchases, in case internet access becomes limited or card readers are down.

• School plans. Local schools have set up e-learning for April 8. Have paper worksheets, games and other activities at the ready for your kids, to keep them engaged if there are internet outages.

• Be emergency-aware. Have a fully-stocked first aid kit nearby, and expect potential delays in response times from emergency services.

Community-friendly tips for local businesses

• Be ready for guests in service industries. Consider scheduling a full staff and having extras in to accommodate extra visitors.

• Cash. If your business relies on card-readers, be ready if they slow down or fail. Have extra cash on hand in a secure spot to handle transactions.

• Manage your property with a prepared plan. Have a plan in place ahead of the weekend for managing your parking lot and property, even if you plan to be closed Monday. If your business will be open, hang visitor-friendly signs and clearly designate employee-only parking spaces.

• Keep it clean. Please provide extra trash receptacles inside and out to prevent litter.

• Be aware of logistics and make sure employees are aware of and understand the potential problems, including traffic congestion. If possible, consider flexible hours or remote work options that avoid travel completely.

• Create a plan for deliveries and appointments. Try to avoid scheduling deliveries during the weekend, if you can. Arrange for early deliveries and schedule appointments before of after the weekend.

• Stay safe. If you can, encourage working from home during the weekend and on Monday. Essential workers should anticipate and plan ahead for travel and parking challenges and should consider packing an overnight bag in the event of long bouts of traffic congestion.

• Enroll in Greene County Reverse 911 to be informed of severe weather conditions as well as other emergency situations. Reverse 911 is a free service offered by the Greene County Emergency Management Agency, the Greene County Sheriff’s Department, the Greene County Health Department and the Greene County Local Emergency Planning Committee. Enroll for free at http://bit.ly/3zQtA2r.

For temporary campsites and parking lots

• If you are renting out temporary campsites and/or a large area for parking, consider hiring private security to assist with parking management and traffic flow.

• Prepare for waste management. Have a plan in plave for handling waste. Consider renting Porta-Potties and provide plenty of trash receptacles.

• RV services - Provide RV patrons with information on wastewater disposal locations open to the public, as well as IDEM-approved local pump and haulers.

• Sanitation and safety - Visit the Greene County Health Department’s 2024 Total Solar Eclipse webpage at co.greene.in.us/health for IDOH Temporary Campground Sanitation and Safety Guidance or contact the GCHD at 812-384-4496.

The partial eclipse begins at 1:48 p.m. and the total eclipse will occur between 3:04 and 3:08 p.m. with an ending time of 4:21 p,m,

Eclipse glasses and eye protection

• Protect your eyes. Never look directly at the sun without proper eye protection. Always use ISO-certified 12312-2:2015 eclipse glasses when viewing the eclipse. It’s okay to share eclipse glasses if you are not staring at the sun the entire time.

• Regular sunglasses will not sufficiently protect your eyes. For more information on safe eclipse viewing, visit https://science.nasa.gov/eclipses/safety/.

• You can find official eclipse glasses at the GC Health Department while supplies last. The GCHD is located at 217 E. Spring Street in Bloomfield. For tips on making solar viewers and a family safety checklist, visit co.greene.in.us/health.

Important safety tips for driving during the eclipse

• Avoid stopping on roadways to view the eclipse and use headlights while driving.

• Make sure your vehicle is prepared. Start every journey with a full tank of gas and ensure you have essentials such as water, medications, food, blankets and extra clothing in your vehicle.

• Remember to be patient. After the eclipse, there may be long wait times due to bottlenecks, roadblocks and traffic jams. Stay calm and be prepared with your favorite playlist or podcast to make the wait more enjoyable.

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