Solar Eclipse Preparedness for Stanley Residents & Visitors

Thursday, August 10th, 2017

Eclipse Preparedness for Stanley Residents

  • Expect congestion. Be prepared for crowds, lines and traffic. The eclipse is on a Monday, so the Sawtooth Valley will likely see a surge of visitors starting Friday, August 18th.
  • Visit the grocery store, bank for cash, and top off the gas tank on Wednesday or Thursday to avoid crowds.
  • Drivers are urged to plan ahead and expect delays, keep a full tank of gas, and make sure to have extra food, drinking water and first-aid supplies in their vehicles. Traffic may become overwhelming and make it difficult to travel to and from work.
  • On eclipse day, try to view from home or work as travel will be difficult.
  • You will need eclipse glasses in order to actually view the eclipse. (Sorry, sunglasses aren’t enough.) See the section on Eclipse Glasses below.
  • If you do plan to view the eclipse from a remote place, check the local weather forecast for eclipse day and make sure you have sufficient sunscreen, drinking water, food, a hat, toilet paper, and first-aid supplies. Be prepared to take care of yourself in the August heat and if a thunderstorm should develop. Don’t overexert yourself.
  • The Idaho Transportation Department is asking drivers not to stop in the roadway, emergency turnouts, or the shoulder of the highways. Do not park your car on any tall grass, as you may start a wild fire.
  • 9-1-1 and Dispatch will likely be overwhelmed on eclipse day. Only call 9-1-1 if it is an emergency. Expect increased response times due to traffic congestion and limited resources. The non-emergency phone number to Dispatch is 208-774-3327.
  • People will be on the internet and their cellphones – Networks may go down. If you can’t make a cellular call, try using a landline or send a text message.
  • Have an Emergency Preparedness Kit and a Personal Emergency Plan; make sure family members or friends know your schedule, when you are expected to return and your plan if something happens.
  • Here’s important information from the Sawtooth National Forest related to the eclipse.

Eclipse Preparedness for Visitors

  • Expect congestion. Be prepared for crowds, lines and traffic. The eclipse is on a Monday, so the Sawtooth Valley will likely see a surge of visitors starting Friday, August 18th. Be patient. Bring books, games, etc., to keep busy. Take the time in long lines to get to know Idaho and other visitors.
  • Drivers are urged to plan ahead and expect delays, keep a full tank of gas, and make sure to have extra food, drinking water and first-aid supplies in their vehicles. Stanley is located 60 miles from the nearest hospital and pharmacy, so bring all needed medications and medical supplies with you.
  • Become aware of the beauty, splendor and hazards that are all part of Custer County, Idaho. Know what to do and where to go in the event of severe heat, wildfires, earthquakes and other natural disasters.
  • You will need eclipse glasses in order to actually view the eclipse. (Sorry, sunglasses aren’t enough.) See the section on Eclipse Glasses below.
  • If you do plan to view the eclipse from a remote place, check the local weather forecast for eclipse day and make sure you have sufficient sunscreen, drinking water, food, a hat, toilet paper, and first-aid supplies. Be prepared to take care of yourself in the August heat and if a thunderstorm should develop. Don’t overexert yourself.
  • The Idaho Transportation Department is asking drivers not to stop in the roadway, emergency turnouts, or the shoulder of the highways. Do not park your car on any tall grass, as you may start a wild fire. Park only in designated parking areas. Please respect “No Parking” and “No Trespassing” signs.
  • 9-1-1 and Dispatch will likely be overwhelmed on eclipse day. Only call 9-1-1 if it is an emergency. Expect increased response times due to traffic congestion and limited resources. The non-emergency phone number to Dispatch is 208-774-3327.
  • People will be on the internet and their cellphones – Networks may go down. If you can’t make a cellular call, try using a landline or send a text message.
  • Have an Emergency Preparedness Kit and a Personal Emergency Plan; make sure family members or friends know your schedule, when you are expected to return and your plan if something happens. See our links below to help you prepare these.
  • Here’s important information from the Sawtooth National Forest related to the eclipse.

Eclipse Safety Glasses – A Necessity

Wearing eclipse safety glasses are the only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed Sun. Looking directly at the Sun, even during an eclipse, can cause permanent eye damage or even blindness. Sunglasses, even very dark ones and homemade filters are not safe for looking at the Sun, either. Use certified solar eclipse viewing glasses that meet ISO 12312-2 international standard for such products. The NASA chart below will help you spot the certification on safe viewing glasses.

Do not look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed Sun through unfiltered binoculars, telescopes, cameras, or other optical devices.

If you are within the path of totality you can remove your eclipse safety glasses only when the Moon completely covers the Sun’s bright surface and it suddenly becomes dark. That is the moment to experience totality. When any part of the Sun begins to reappear, immediately replace your eclipse safety glasses to view the remaining partial phases. If you’re not located in the path of totality, there is never a time when it’s safe to look at the eclipse with unprotected eyes.

Additional eye safety information from NASA: “How to View the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse Safely”

Listen to this excellent NPR story “Planning To Watch The Eclipse? What You Need To Protect Your Eyes”:

The above info was provided by Blaine County Emergency Services/Salmon River Clinic and Stanley Ambulance

_____________________________________________________________________

Deborah G Robertson MD, MHA
Medical Director
St. Luke’s Wood River Emergency Dept.

On Monday, August 21, 2017 people in the path of totality will see a rare phenomenon – a total solar eclipse. 

Given the rarity of this event and the generally clear skies our area typically enjoys, it is estimated Ketchum, Sun Valley and the Stanley area will experience a large influx of visitors, perhaps as many as 35,000 in each area!  Residents and visitors are encouraged to prepare ahead of time and to take measures to stay safe and healthy.  Here are some basic steps to prepare:

  • Stock up on essential provisions such as water, ice, food, prescription medications and fuel. Traffic volumes might be quite heavy and these items may become scarce.
  • Have a first aid kit and keep it ready. Here are links to some suggested items to include:

http://www.cleverhiker.com/lightweight-gear-basics/episode-5-essential-items-first-aid-kit

or

https://www.thehikinglife.com/2015/11/backpacking-first-aid-kit/

  • Do not rely on cell service, the network may not be able to handle the increased volumes.
  • Have a plan in case of emergencies such as fire or if separated, where to meet.
  • Be patient, stay calm and take a deep breath!
  • 9-1-1 and Dispatch will likely be overwhelmed on eclipse day. Only call 9-1-1 if it is an emergency. Expect increased response times due to traffic congestion and limited resources. The non-emergency phone number to Dispatch is 208-578-3831.
  • Sign up for Air St. Luke’s Membership! At $60/year, it is a bargain compared to the cost without membership.   There’s a 72 hour waiting period so sign up today.   https://sites.slhs.org/specialties_and_services/ASL/membership.php

Taking precautions for any outing in the backcountry and having a basic emergency plan is a good idea for spending time in rural Idaho and elsewhere.  Planning ahead will enhance your enjoyment of the eclipse and beyond!

Safety in the Backcountry

As Director of Emergency Medicine for St. Luke’s Wood River, I and my colleagues have treated a number of injuries related to activities in the backcountry.  While some are minor, others have been serious, and several have required a back country rescue.

Given the anticipated influx of visitors around the total solar eclipse on August 21st, resources may be stretched, possibly delaying backcountry rescues.  Those venturing into the backcountry should plan for the unanticipated, including overnight shelter and provisions.

Before you go out for a hike, bike or activity on one of our areas magnificent trails or back county locations, ASSUME YOU WILL HAVE NO CELL SERVICE, even just a few minutes away from town.  The following are true any time of year:

  • Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back regardless if you’re going solo or going with others.
  • Bring a map and a compass and keep track of your location. Many trails can be confusing. Do not rely solely on your cell phone for maps or communication.
  • Stay Found.  If you are lost, do not continue on in hopes of finding your way. Retrace your route back toward the trailhead until you pick up the trail or find someone who knows the area. If you cannot retrace your route, stay put, conserve energy and water, make yourself visible and await rescue. If possible, stay together in case of problems. Discuss your situation calmly and make a plan to improve it. Let someone know of your plans.
  • Bring plenty of water and extra high energy food. In case you end up lost or injured, these items will come in handy. Stay hydrated, often water alone isn’t enough, and our body needs to replace electrolytes found in some sports drinks as well.
  • Apply Sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher with broad spectrum which protects from both UVA and UVB rays. Re-apply every 90 minutes for ongoing protection. Lip balm with SPF is a must!
  • Dress appropriately. Lightweight, loose fitting clothing helps sweat evaporate and keeps you cooler. Avoid dark colors, which can absorb heat. If possible, wear a light-colored, wide-brimmed hat.
  • Bring clothing for changes in the weather. Our mountain climate can be unpredictable with sudden storms producing rain, hail and temperatures that drop quickly.  Nighttime temperatures drop significantly.  Don’t venture into remote areas with nothing but a t-shirt and shorts. Carry a windbreaker, sunscreen, sunglasses, extra warm clothing.  A tarp can give you wind and rain protection.
  • Watch out for lightning.If you see lightning approaching, take cover in a vehicle or crouch in a low, dry spot. Avoid metal objects and never take shelter under a lone tree, at the base of a cliff, or in a shallow cave.
  • Bring a first aid kit, matches or a lighter. Even duct tape and safety pins can go a long way to fix a number of issues.
  • Sign up for Air St. Luke’s Membership! At $60/year, it is a bargain compared to the cost without membership.   There’s a 72 hour waiting period so sign up today.   https://sites.slhs.org/specialties_and_services/ASL/membership.php

Eye Safety

The total solar eclipse will be visible in our area, weather permitting, on Monday, August 21st.  Eye safety is of vital importance to enjoy this rare phenomenal event.  It is unsafe to look directly at the Sun except during the brief phase of totality.  Certified eclipse glasses, with special – purpose solar filers should be worn to view uneclipsed or partially eclipsed phases.  Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the sun. To date four manufacturers have certified that their eclipse glasses and handheld solar viewers meet the ISO 12312-2 international standard for such products: Rainbow Symphony, American Paper Optics, Thousand Oaks Optical, and TSE 17.

Do not look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars, or other optical device. Similarly, do not look at the sun through a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device while using your eclipse glasses or hand-held solar viewer — the concentrated solar rays will damage the filter and enter your eye(s), causing serious injury.

If you are within the path of totality, remove your solar filter only when the Moon completely covers the sun and it suddenly gets quite dark. As soon as the bright sun begins to reappear, replace your solar viewer to glance at the remaining partial phases.  There is an app for iPhone that uses your GPS and will alert you when to remove glasses and when to put them back on.  Even a few moments of looking at the sun outside of the totality can be dangerous. The eye damage caused by looking at the sun is called solar retinopathy.   This can result in permanent vision damage.

To learn more, visit https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/safety

 The Importance of Hydration

Water is the most essential component of the human body as it provides an important role in the function of cells. Functions of water include transportation of nutrients, elimination of waste products, regulation and maintenance of body temperature through sweating, maintenance of blood circulation and pressure, lubrication of joints and body tissues, and facilitation of digestion. More than half of the human body is composed of water, and it is impossible to sustain life without it.

Thirst is a signal that your body is headed toward dehydration. Therefore, it is important to drink before you feel thirsty and to drink throughout the day. Thirst is not a good indicator of hydration and should not be used to monitor hydration status. One way to check your hydration status is to weigh yourself before and after exercise. The before-exercise measurement is best as a nude weight first thing in the morning after urinating. Comparing your body weight before and after exercise can be used to estimate your sweat loss and your fluid requirements. Any weight loss is likely from fluid loss, so drinking enough to replenish these losses will maintain hydration.

Over a one percent loss in body weight indicates dehydration and over five percent indicates serious dehydration. These fluid losses need to be replaced.

Dehydration is the loss of fluids and salts essential to maintain normal body function. Dehydration occurs when the body loses more fluids than it takes in.  Dehydration can lead to:

  • Muscle fatigue
  • Loss of coordination
  • Inability to regulate body temperature
  • Heat illness (e.g., cramps, heat exhaustion, heat stroke)
  • Decreased energy and athletic performance

 

There is no safe temperature to leave a child unattended in a vehicle!

  • A child’s body temperature rises 5x faster than an adult’s
  • Death can occur when child’s temperature reaches 107 degrees
  • On an 80 degree day, a child’s body temperature can reach deadly levels in only 10 MINUTES
  • On days when ambient temperatures exceed 86°F, the internal temperatures of a vehicle can quickly reach 134°F to 154°F
  • Keep in mind body temperature for the elderly and our furry friends also heats up faster and can quickly become unsafe.

St. Luke’s Wood River will have additional urgent care hours in the Physician Office Annex north of the hospital Saturday and Sunday, August 19th and 20th from 10am – 4 pm.  The Hailey Clinic will also be open Saturday, August 19th, 8 am – 2 pm, please call 788-3434 for appointments.

Additional resources and information to help experience the eclipse safely include: