Local hospitals preparing for the total solar eclipse

Local hospitals prepare for total solar eclipse in Rochester

ROCHESTER, NY – The total solar eclipse in Rochester is a once-in-a-lifetime event, so there's no playbook on how to make sure everyone experiences it as safely as possible. That's why our local hospitals have been preparing for the eclipse for the better part of a year.

Hospitals and emergency responders plan to bring 500,000 additional people to our region.

“We want to make sure we're prepared to handle any potential surge or surge, and our experience with the PGA shows that we haven't had a large spike, but we want to be ready. More than ready,” said David Chaffetz, director of Strong Memorial Hospital's emergency preparedness team. Director.

The biggest concern on eclipse day is traffic. If it's backed up, healthcare workers may not be able to get to work, and patients needing emergency services may be delayed.

“With the traffic that's on the Thruway, the 490, the 590, if there's an incident on any of those major routes, traffic is going to be diverted and it's going to go to places that aren't easily accessible. traffic,” says Robert Johnson, senior director of emergency preparedness for Rochester Regional Health.

Both systems will make normal daily evacuations at the beginning of the day of the eclipse, hoping to avoid extra traffic on the road during the entire period. Several helicopter landing zones have been set up across the region that can be used for critical situations if traffic makes regular ambulance transport difficult.

If cell signal is an issue, hospitals can integrate special channels and radios to communicate with first responders. They pay special attention to places like Innovation Field, RMSC, Regional Market and SUNY Brockport – where the largest gatherings are in the region.

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“We know that Strong West, our free emergency department in Brockport, is likely to see an increase in volume. So we're working there as well as here at Strong. In fact, one of the things we're doing is we're putting a lot of providers on standby — we're putting extra people on call, so we can call in extra staff.” If needed, we are ready to do it,” he says.

Advice for healthcare workers who have to work in person on the day of the eclipse is something we should all take to heart.

“Treat it the same way you would a winter event, snowstorm or anything else,” says Johnson. “Be sure, because if they get stuck in traffic, make sure they have the essentials. Make sure they have medicine, some food, entertainment, a book or whatever.

No major health system has told providers not to schedule routine visits for the afternoon of the eclipse, but with most areas coming off spring break, the volume will already be slightly lower than on normal days.

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