Idaho Falls will be a major site for the 2017 total eclipse. Are you prepared?
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Due to Idaho Falls’ prime location and promising weather conditions, the city is expecting visitors from across the nation and abroad when the total solar eclipse happens on Aug. 21.
NASA has listed Idaho Falls as one of the best places to watch this spectacular sight.
City officials are estimating up to 500,000 people could be in eastern Idaho during the event, so it’s important to be prepared for the possibility of a large influx of people.
The city is holding an Eclipse Community Meeting on Wednesday, July 26, at 7 p.m. at the Civic Auditorium to help get residents prepared and to answer questions.
But in the meantime, here are a few helpful tips to get visitors and residents prepared so everyone can enjoy this rare event.
The entire solar eclipse takes about 90 minutes to occur, beginning in Idaho Falls at 10:15 am and ending at 12:58 pm. If you wish to watch the eclipse from beginning to end, you must wear specialized, protective eyewear.
Only during the totality of the eclipse, which is estimated to last a little over 2 minutes in Idaho Falls, can you view what’s left of the sun with no protective eyewear or filters.
Viewing glasses can be purchased from the Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce here or at several other local businesses around town or online.
A little planning can save you time and frustration.
Allow plenty of time to travel if you want to get a good view of the eclipse. With heavier than usual traffic, you won’t want to be stuck in your car while this event is occurring.
Should you need to travel on Interstate 15, downloading the Idaho Transportation Department I-15 mobile app can help you see real-time traffic updates and help plan detours around areas of congestion.
Along with crowds of people, be aware internet and cell service could experience disruptions and delays.
To avoid issues, print maps of where you wish to go ahead of time as your phone may fail to produce directions quickly, if at all should lines go down.
Also visit ATMs and banks early in case you need to use cash and to avoid machines running out of money if visitation surges occur.
A little planning can save you time and frustration ahead of the eclipse.
Be sure to gas up cars, get prescriptions or other medical supplies filled the week before, stock up on water, and shop for food before the busy weekend.
If large numbers of visitors arrive, you won’t be stuck in long lines or be out of luck at the store should things go out of stock.
And be prepared to pack up or dispose of anything you may bring with you to watch the eclipse to keep the city clean.
It should go without saying, but if you aren’t experiencing an emergency, please don’t dial 911. Any calls to emergency responders must be followed up on, even if they were accidentally made, delaying help for those who truly are in need.
In the event of an emergency occurring while cell service may be disrupted, find a landline at a nearby gas station, restaurant or store to call 911.
Due to the possibility of more calls, anticipate longer response times from emergency services, especially for quality-of-life issues like animal control, parking, and nuisance reports.
While on the road, remember to clear a way for all emergency service vehicles and also to be courteous of increased foot and bicycle traffic.
Lastly, August is prime fire season in Idaho. Be extremely careful with cigarettes, campfires, recreational burns and parking a vehicle on dry grass. It only takes a small spark to make a blazing fire.
These few tips can help everyone have the best experience with the eclipse, keeping everyone safe and prepared for this amazing event.