Monday, May 29, 2023

Sheriff’s office, ambulance service, ESDA: Agencies release eclipse safety announcements

Johnson County emergency services agencies this week are releasing eclipse safety announcements.

The announcements come as local officials prepare for an Aug. 21 total solar eclipse.

The eclipse is expected to bring thousands of visitors to Southern Illinois, where the period of totality for the eclipse will last the longest.

The eclipse safety announcements follow:

The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, the Johnson County Ambulance Service and Johnson County ESDA are advising that for the weekend of the eclipse, Johnson County residents can expect delays in public emergency services.

The huge influx of people into our county Aug. 18-21 will be like nothing we have experienced before.

We encourage all local residents to get their fuel, medications and groceries prior to Friday, Aug. 18.

Try to stay in and avoid traveling as much as possible over the weekend and through Monday, Aug. 21, the day of the eclipse.

We are expecting heavy traffic and for the county’s resources and personnel to be spread extremely thin.

We hope response delays will be minimal, but we do want people to keep in mind there probably will be unavoidable delays.

We will also be prioritizing emergency calls if they get to the point of overwhelming our resources.

Make sure to only dial 911 in a true emergency. We do not need to tie up the 911 system with unnecessary calls.

For all non-emergent calls that cannot wait, contact the sheriff’s office at 658-8264.

Also keep in mind the sheriff’s office and the 911 system may be overwhelmed too.

We are asking people to restrict their cell phone usage Monday, Aug. 21, the day of the eclipse, from about noon to 2 p.m.

We want to make sure the systems do not get inundated and are available for emergency services.

If you do get out, please remember to stay out of the sun if possible and stay hydrated.

It will more than likely be extremely hot and we want to try and avoid heat-related emergencies.

As always, but during this time more than ever, please remember to not drink and drive and to not text and drive.

Also, please make sure you stay alert on the roadways. You do not want to harm yourself, your family, or anyone else because you are altered or distracted while driving.

Also, make sure that you have protective eye glasses if you plan on watching the eclipse.

Make sure any glasses you buy/obtain are ISO and CE approved. Locally you can purchase glasses at several places.

Please understand that we are here to help and serve and we will do the very best we can with the resources we have available to us.

Safety during this time will be our county’s number one priority. We want to thank you in advance for your cooperation and understanding.