The first solar eclipse in 99 years is occurring on August 21, and millions of people are expected to make travel plans to see it. The American Red Cross is prepared to help them if needed.
More than 7 million people are expected to travel to an area stretching from Oregon to South Carolina to see the eclipse. This influx of millions of people into the 70-mile wide eclipse viewing area is expected to cause major traffic problems for days before, during, and after the eclipse, as well as creating lodging shortages. The Red Cross is coordinating with local emergency agencies along the viewing path to ensure we are collectively prepared for any contingency.
If You Are Traveling to the Area:
- Pack an emergency kit in case you get stuck in traffic or can’t find a place to stay. Include water, non-perishable 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.
- Be informed. Learn how officials contact people in the area you are planning to visit in case of an emergency.
- Let family or friends know where you are going and the route you plan to take to get there.
- Arrive at where you plan to watch the eclipse at least a day ahead of time.
- Check the weather forecast ahead of time and throughout the day.
- Dress in layers so you can adjust for changes in weather conditions.
- Create an emergency plan. Determine a location to meet in case someone gets separated from your group, and where to go if severe weather occurs.
- Because cell service may be overwhelmed, print out your directions.
- Know where you’re staying at night. Hotel rooms along the eclipse route are mostly sold out, and rentals are extremely high in some cities. Plan to camp if necessary.
- Keep your gas tank full so you don’t run out while stuck in traffic.
Keep Heat Safety Tips Close By in Case of Severe Hot Weather:
- Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays.
- Use a broad spectrum sunscreen and reapply at least every 2 hours and wear a wide-brimmed hat to help protect yourself from the sun.
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day.
- Hot cars can be deadly. Never leave children or pets in your vehicle. The inside temperature of the car can quickly reach 120 degrees.
- Call 9-1-1 immediately for any heat-related emergencies.
Download Free Red Cross Apps to Help You be Better Prepared
The Red Cross Emergency App can help keep you and your loved ones safe with instant access to large-scale event tips, weather alerts as well as the location of any open Red Cross shelters. The Red Cross First Aid App puts instant access to information on handling the most common first aid scenarios at your fingertips including heat emergencies.
Download these apps by searching for American Red Cross in your app store or at redcross.org/apps.
If you are planning to view the eclipse, remember, looking directly at the sun is unsafe. For steps to take to observe a solar eclipse safely, please refer to information from NASA at https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/safety.