With the total solar eclipse just weeks away, KPVI wanted to find out what hospitals are doing to get ready for the big day.
KPVI spoke to both Portneuf Medical Center and Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, who say they are ramping up everything from staffing to air ambulances.
In three weeks, two of Eastern Idaho’s biggest medical facilities will be tested by hundreds of thousands of visitors to our area for the solar eclipse.
Portneuf Medical Center in Pocatello and Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls are focusing on three areas of concern.
Resources, staffing, and communications.
“So all of the departments will just increase staffing levels to accommodate volume, so anyone, patients that come into the area and then with people staying in town, then we’ll have the opportunity to call in additional resources if needed,” says Todd Blackinton, Portneuf Medical Center.
Officials say they are not only ramping up staffing for more medical emergencies and possible mass casualties, but they are also stocking up on medical supplies and nutritional needs.
Both hospitals agree, communication is one of their biggest concerns.
Cell phone service will likely be limited, so they’re asking employees to make arrangements to have access to a land line phone.
PMC is even dusting off around 100 of their old pagers for key staff members.
Hospital officials tell KPVI that there will be four additional medical helicopters throughout the region on the day of the solar eclipse.
“So we can’t control what comes to the hospital, but we can control how we prepare, so we are preparing for the worst and certainly hoping for the best. We want it to be a good experience for everybody,” says Blackinton.
Portneuf Medical Center is supplying 15 hundred eclipse viewing glasses for their patients and their families and the staff at the hospital.