Connect with us

Local News

Rochester hospitals make emergency plans in anticipation of the solar eclipse



Rochester, New York – In anticipation of the large influx of tourists expected in the city on April 8, emergency departments throughout the region are increasing staffing and ensuring they are prepared.

For over a year, Rochester Regional Health has been getting ready for the complete solar eclipse and has put procedures in place to make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible on the day of the eclipse.

Executives at RRH say they are ready for anything, even though they don’t think there will be a lot of patients on the day of the eclipse.

“We kicked it off with a drill last year, to simulate what would happen if we would have a mass casualty event during a solar eclipse scenario,” said Tammy Snyder, RGH’s president and COO. “Since then, we have been planning and trying to think of all the various scenarios that may happen, so we are prepared to take care of patients and prepare for anything that may come our way that day.”

Snyder adds that to prevent traffic on April 8, staff members of the hospital system will report to work earlier than normal.

“We will have extra staff on-site, particularly in our emergency department, in case we get a surge or an influx of patients,” she explained.

The main worry, according to Rob Johnson, senior director of emergency preparedness for RRH’s system, is the anticipated traffic jams and surge of boats on Lake Ontario on the day of the eclipse. Johnson states that RRH has been making preparations to ensure that all of its locations are ready to receive both air and ground ambulances.

“They have different landing zones set up throughout Monroe County,” Johnson said. “We do have our helipad here that still is going to be operational as well, so if there is anything taking place for that.”

Johnson said that the incident command centers at RGH and the other hospitals in the system are opening. These teams are prepared to handle any serious situations that can arise during the eclipse. Six times last year, he claims, RGH opened its incident command center.

Retinal specialist and ophthalmologist Dr. Luca Zatreanu of RRH advise against looking at the sun during the eclipse without protective eyewear. Zatreanu advises against visiting the emergency department if a person is suffering from the symptoms of solar retinopathy.

“These are not events we want people coming to the emergency room for,” Zatreanu said. “These are things we want people to call our offices for.”

Johnson said that fire engines and ambulances will have designated routes. To alleviate the anticipated traffic jam, the county and city transportation departments will be modifying traffic signals.