IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (ABC4 Utah) – With so many people flooding into Idaho this weekend. Pre-eclipse planning involves almost every agency in the area.
The Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center is the only trauma center in totality. They wanted to make sure they were stocked when it came to medical supplies. Something as simple as rattlesnake anti-venom: there’s going to be four times as much on the shelves.
As visitors slither into town for the solar eclipse, camping in various fields and pastures, the pharmacist at the only emergency room in the area is stocking up if disaster strikes.
“We normally have a small amount, but with all the extra people in the area, we are going to increase our stock four times, four times than we normally have to take care of the potential people who get bit by snakes,” said Clint Rohner, Director of Pharmacy.
The pharmacy is also quadruple stocking any first aid or first response medications. Some of these medications are limited. They’re expensive and they have expiration dates. Stocking in Idaho Falls could mean potentially pulling needed meds from other small clinics in the region.
It’s a fine line of balance and the Beehive State is helping with the hospital’s backup plan. Ground suppliers from Utah are ready to run meds and if that doesn’t work….
“We have opportunities to fly medications in from different parts from Salt Lake, from Boise, we get to the airport and bring them into the facility,” said Rohner.
Being prepared with prescriptions is only part of the plan. The local medical center also services areas of Montana and Wyoming. Masses of people will contribute to an uptick in ER visits and for a smaller facility that means getting creative.
“We’ve pre-identified other areas in the building that can be used as temporary ER space if our normal ER rooms are at capacity,” said Coleen Niemann, Eastern Regional Medical Center.
Movable triages, doctors and medical staff will provide car wherever they need too. The hospital is storing extra water and food. Heat-related illness and eye injuries also make the list of worries. Even if the hundreds of thousands of visitors don’t show up, Eastern Regional Medical Center say the time, money and energy spent planning can’t be considered a waste.
“We are still way better off as a hospital and as a community because of all the preparedness we have done locally and regionally,” said Neimann.
The hospital says they’ve done their planning, and it now becomes a waiting game. Even prepping for international visitors, they’re confident. The translation line is for hundreds of different languages.