Red Cross reminds Solar Eclipse viewers to prepare for travel delays and follow safe viewing protocols

Portions of Southern Illinois could see an influx of over 300,000 visitors for the event

 

April 1, 2024 — On April 8, some 31 million people living in a 100+ mile path stretching from Texas to Maine will be able to witness a rare total solar eclipse, while people in all contiguous U.S. states will be able to see at least a partial eclipse. The path of totality will pass through the state as much of Southern Illinois will be able to experience a total eclipse.

 

Compared to the most recent solar eclipse, in August 2017, the viewing path for the 2024 total eclipse is wider and passes over more cities and densely populated areas. The upcoming eclipse is also expected to last almost twice as long, at about 4.5 minutes.

 

During the eclipse, it’s estimated that portions of Southern Illinois could see an influx of over 300,000 people into the area to view the event in its totality. A large number of people estimated to travel to view the eclipse could lead to major traffic issues and potential fuel shortages. Communication systems may also experience disruptions due to heightened demand.

 

Areas of Illinois that could receive the largest number of travelers include Carbondale, Mt. Vernon, Effingham and much of the southern tip of the state.

 

Leading up to the eclipse, the Red Cross has coordinated with local emergency agencies along the viewing path to ensure we are collectively prepared. This planning is a standard part of our regular collaboration with local emergency management officials regarding large-scale public events.

 

If requested by local authorities, the Red Cross is prepared to shelter and feed those who might be displaced by disasters, residential fires or other events.

 

The Red Cross and emergency officials are urging those planning to travel for the eclipse to be prepared by doing the following:


 

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  • Pack an emergency kit in case you get stuck in traffic or can’t find a place to stay. This kit should include water, nonperishable food, a flashlight, battery-powered radio, first aid kit, medications, supplies for an infant if applicable, a multi-purpose tool, personal hygiene items including toilet paper, cell phone chargers, extra cash, blankets, maps of the area and emergency contact information.
  • Check the weather forecast ahead of time and plan accordingly.
  • Keep your gas tank full so you don’t run out while stuck in traffic.
  • Let family or friends know where you are going and the route you plan to take to get there.
  • Pick an easy to remember meeting location if someone gets separated from your group.
  • Make a plan for where you’ll stay overnight, if needed.
  • Remember that looking directly at the sun is unsafe. NASA recommends eclipse eyewear with an IOS compliance label, or standard, of 12312-2.
  • Download the free Red Cross First Aid app so you’ll know what to do if emergency help is delayed and the free Emergency app for weather alerts, open Red Cross shelter locations and safety steps for different emergencies. Find these apps in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.

 

For more on how to safely view the total solar eclipse, information has been provided by NASA here.



 

**Editor’s Note: If you find the story here of value, consider clicking one of the Google ads embedded in the story. It costs you nothing but Google will give the website owner a few cents. This is a way to help support local news at no cost to the reader.

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