Total Solar Eclipse

On April 8, much of Indiana will experience a Total Solar Eclipse. A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes directly between the sun and the Earth, blocking out the sun’s light and casting a shadow on the Earth. Total Solar Eclipses are rare, highly anticipated events, drawing spectators from around the country.

Special Event Planning Guide

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) provides coordination to ensure the state can build, sustain and improve its capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recovery from and mitigate all hazards. IDHS released a Total Solar Eclipse Special Event Planning Guide to support first responders and communities as they prepare for and respond to disasters and large-scale events. This document should be considered guidance for best practice information for use by state partners, local emergency managers, private and nongovernmental agencies and the public.

Solar Eclipse Checklist for Local Governments

  • Collaborate with the following agencies to form a county-level public and private Eclipse Planning Task Force: school districts, medical services, law enforcement, fire protection, destination marketing organization, local chamber, restaurant, lodging, gas stations, etc.
  • Work with local event organizers, emergency and public safety services, and designated public viewing areas to establish a line of communication.
  • Consider methods to expand lodging opportunities.
  • Report disruptions, outages and major incidents to your local county 911 centers and your local service provider.
  • Form a local Solar Eclipse Planning Task Force and sub-committees to address planning and preparation needs for response to the event at the county level including local government, public safety, emergency services, non-governmental and private organizations.
  • Develop an Event Action Plan (EAP) for the event and an Incident Action Plan (IAP) if applicable and any other appropriate documentation to include contact information for multiple public safety personnel, health facilities, and other key stakeholders.
  • Identify and secure Key Critical Infrastructure facilities in case of inappropriate activities.
  • Plan for communication overload due to increased usage for cell and radio communications with alternative means of communicating among public safety personnel.
  • Plan for insufficient fuel at local gas stations due to high demand (before, during and after main event). Public safety/emergency services should prepare ahead.
  • Plan for traffic management on major highways and county roads to ensure a safe journey for visitors and citizens. Plans must include ingress, egress, and onsite routes for public safety.
  • Plan for traffic barriers as needed with local public works and private vendors.
  • Public safety officials must plan for inappropriate drone usage causing interference.
  • If 911 Centers triage the calls for the event, notify public safety personnel of the plan.
  • Identify alternate means of response and rescue such as ATV’s, golf carts, etc.
  • Include non-governmental stakeholders (with security) to plan for mass care services (food, water, first-aid stations and medical services including pre-staged Narcan at larger event sites and environmental water and sewer assessments).
  • Local school discernment to hold e-learning day, extend spring break, staff in-service, or school day off vs. holding school due to traffic congestion and safety concerns for bus riders, walkers, and young drivers during the time of school releases and timing of eclipse with distracted drivers and darkness for students.
  • Local leadership and county emergency managers assist site planners to ensure portable toilets and sufficient trash receptacles which includes a regular maintenance plan.
  • County health departments must inspect and permit food vendors to ensure food security which would include additional staffing and cross-training.
  • Collaborate with health, dialysis centers, home health, hospice, and urgent care facilities.
  • Identify helipad or appropriate spaces for emergency landing needs for any type of weather.
  • Educate citizens and visitors to acquire approved eclipse viewing glasses well in advance of the event, when possible. Avoid counterfeit glasses.
  • Adjust operational and/or shift hours for staffing of all types of industries.
  • Medical facilities should consider supply chain and traffic congestion issues for ordering medical supplies, tissue, medicines, blood products, etc. in advance.
  • Gas stations, restaurants, grocery stores, and convenience stores should consider supply chain and traffic congestion for ordering food, gasoline, supplies, etc. in advance.
  • Messaging to visitors and citizens to have full tank of gas, plenty of food and water, young children’s needs, first aid kit, medications, maps, cell phone charger, credit card and cash for unforeseen expenses, and essential vehicle equipment or supplies.
  • Review and follow all federal, state, and local laws, ordinances, regulations, and rules as it relates to: Public gathering events, staging areas, fire codes, camping and lodging, alcohol permits, noise, curfew, and parking.
  • Prepare a Media Kit that includes materials to inform citizens and visitors of the solar eclipse event and plan to distribute through news media, local groups, meetings, etc. Access the Visit Indiana Solar Eclipse Social Toolkit.
  • Prepare media materials to inform citizens of eclipse event festivities, viewing areas, lodging opportunities, entertainment, and local attractions.
  • Prepare informational materials to assist citizens before and during the event i.e. pamphlets, brochures, flyers, maps and signage, including eye safety.

SOURCE: 2024 Solar Eclipse Checklist, Visit Indiana

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