Thousands of tourists are already arriving in Nebraska for this weekend’s events leading up to Monday’s total solar eclipse.
Beatrice is in the 70-mile-wide “path of totality” and emergency services like police, fire and rescue there are being beefed up.
Michael Ament is director of emergency services at Beatrice Community Hospital which is adding extra staff, starting today.
“Staffing and being able to take care of increased volume is our major concern because we don’t know what that volume is,” Ament says. “When you think of 1% of 30,000 people, that could be substantial. We’ve increased our nursing coverage, we’ve increased our provider coverage and feel like we’ll be able to handle that volume.”
Ament says the hospital staff is preparing for the worst and hoping for the best for the three days ahead.
“Because people are outside and exposed to the sun and maybe not drinking enough water, dehydration and those kinds of things, which would also cause a medical emergency which may mean they’ll have to be transported to the hospital,” Ament says, “so our EMS system may also be very, very busy.”
Ament says parking lots at the hospital will be only be open for patients and their families. While the parking lots would provide a great viewing area for the eclipse, Ament says the hospital’s priority is to take care of people who are in need of medical care.
Thanks to Dave Niedfeldt, KWBE, Beatrice