“This provides one easy location to answer common questions about the eclipse,” Commissioner Bryon Reed said in a news release. “It works on your phones, tables, and desktops. These story maps are loaded with useful information as well as many resources to help prepare the public for the eclipse.
Estimates of the number of regional visitors for the event range upward of half a million, though it is difficult to guess how many eclipse tourists may arrive.
With the expected heavy influx, one of the presentations includes advice for preparations residents should take because of possible cellphone and internet outages, along with heavy demands on retailers, grocery stores, gas stations and other important services.
“There may be cellular and internet disruptions,” one of the presentations states. “This may cause (credit) card machines to go down. Keep cash on hand.”
The presentations also encourage residents to fuel up their vehicles early and to keep extra fuel on hand in case of outages. It warns that residents could face long travel delays and reduced speed limits, and encourages them to keep water in their vehicles.
Residents should consider posting “No Trespassing” signs on their property, and to keep in mind that it will take longer than usual to respond to 911 calls.
“Have enough food and water for 2-3 weeks,” the presentations encourage. “Shop early, stores may run out of needed supplies. Keep a 96-hour kit on hand.”
The presentations encourage businesses to be prepared to carry out most transactions using cash, and to have extra supplies and staff in place for the event.
The presentations also include information on camping locations, sights to see and other amenities for visitors.
Residents can get more information on eclipse preparation at a community meeting next month hosted by the city of Idaho Falls. City spokeswoman Kerry Hammon said in an email that the details of the meeting are still being worked out, but it is tentatively slated for July 26.
Reporter Bryan Clark can be reached at 542-6751.