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Public safety officials highlight need for preparedness, patience during upcoming solar eclipse

For Immediate Release Mar 6, 2024

Indiana State Police Sgt. Kevin Getz, left, and IU Associate Vice President and Superintendent for Public Safety Benjamin Hunter field qu... Indiana State Police Sgt. Kevin Getz, left, and IU Associate Vice President and Superintendent for Public Safety Benjamin Hunter field questions from the media during an eclipse press conference at IU Bloomington. Photo by Chris Meyer, Indiana University

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — During a public safety briefing held at Indiana University today, public safety leaders stressed preparedness and patience during the total solar eclipse that will darken skies across the state on April 8.

City of Bloomington Mayor Kerry Thomson, IU Associate Vice President and Superintendent for Public Safety Benjamin Hunter and Indiana State Police Sgt. Kevin Getz described how local and state agencies are partnering for this large-scale cosmic event.

The eclipse is estimated to draw millions of visitors to areas in the path of totality, which includes cities and towns across a wide swath of Indiana. Several cities, including Bloomington and Indianapolis, will be hosting events to capitalize on this rare event.

In anticipation of a significant influx of visiting vehicles on roadways, IU has canceled all in-person classes. K-12 schools across the region, including the Monroe County Community School Corp. and Indianapolis Public Schools, will not hold in-person classes on April 8.

Preparedness tips

Safety officials statewide started eclipse planning years ago, and they are encouraging the public to start thinking ahead, too.

The public is urged to:

  • Order eclipse glasses or viewers from a legitimate source well in advance of April 8.
  • Plan a location to view the eclipse.
  • Allow for extra travel time to and from eclipse events.
  • Fully fill gas tanks or charge up electric vehicles in advance of travel, and plan for routes with stations to fuel or charge up along the way.
  • Pack snacks, water, prescribed medications and an emergency kit in all vehicles.
  • Secure necessary child and pet care to plan for the day.

Public safety measures

Preparing to respond to the influx of visitors will require maximum effort from law enforcement and emergency personnel, and agencies are anticipating full staffing over eclipse weekend. Emergency operations centers will be opened throughout Monroe County and IU to mitigate and manage any issues that arise.

Safety agencies are expecting an increased number of calls to 911 dispatch centers and strains on cellular networks and Wi-Fi infrastructures. While they will coordinate efforts as much as possible, resources will be stretched.

Media kit: Access video of the press conference and b-roll of officers directing traffic, 911 dispatch center and eclipse preparedness exercises

Indiana State Police will maintain traffic along state highways across the path of totality.

Like other agencies, Bloomington Police Department and Bloomington Fire Department will have robust and additional staffing April 6 to 8. They will implement expanded technology and communications equipment to maintain continued service while managing increased risks related to vehicular and pedestrian traffic. The City of Bloomington will also activate its after-hours ambassadors to facilitate hospitality and outreach efforts downtown. Due to safety concerns, viewing the eclipse from the top levels of parking garages will not be allowed. City Hall will be closed to the public on April 8.

IU Public Safety plans to have first-aid and information stations in three locations throughout campus. Road closure information will be made public in the coming weeks. Officers will plan to use bicycles, motorcycles and golf carts to maneuver around traffic. IUPD will also pre-stage police vehicles along key corridors to assist with traffic congestion.

Eclipse events and information

Celebratory and educational events are planned throughout the state leading up to and on the day of the total eclipse. They include the Celestial Spectacle in Bloomington, the Hoosier Cosmic Celebration at Memorial Stadium, IU Science Fest on the Bloomington campus and the Lunacy! Solar Eclipse Festival at White River State Park, presented by IU Indianapolis.

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Media Contact

IU Newsroom

Mark Bode

Executive Director of Media Relations

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