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Preparing for the eclipse: Managing a mass gathering event

While visitors flock to the “Path of Totality” to witness a rare total solar eclipse on U.S. soil, emergency planners are thinking strategically to ensure everyone stays safe and has a great time. If you think of the sun as a parade float (bear with us for a moment), the route is 70 miles wide and 3,000 miles long. Along the route are over 7 million visitors plus residents gazing skyward. Logistically, emergency planners have to plan for the event in a manner similar to a parade:

  • lots of visitors arriving and leaving at about the same time
  • parking and roadways will be overloaded
  • local mobile communication towers could be taxed or overwhelmed

Finally, how many of those visitors will whip out their mobile devices so they can live stream the eclipse  to all the folks back home via social media? To give you one example of the scope, authorities in Glendo, WY (population 203) are expecting a large crowd to gather at the airport.  They also expect 90,000 boats on the nearby Glendo Reservoir.  The small town is turning to neighboring towns and counties for assistance and have been planning for years.

Treating the eclipse like a mass gathering

While, the eclipse is a unique event, the idea of a mass gathering isn’t and the planning principles and likely mishaps are about the same. We worked with experts in emergency management at Boston University to pull together some information: On-Demand Webinar: We invite you to watch the webinar for best practices to set up for the event.  Bob McKee, D.Sc.(c) covers everything from parking to port-a-potties. Slides from the webinar: In addition, you can download the slides from the webinar above and review them at your own pace. (Link will automatically download .pdf) Eclipse Resource Guide: We worked with B.U. to develop a Resource Guide with lots of links to government resources to help you refine your emergency preparedness plans.  We strongly urge you to review the information to make sure you’ve covered all aspects of preparedness for the eclipse. Our press release:  Everbridge has 10.9 million contacts in the path of totality, not including the 7 million visitors who will join them. We’re working with several municipalities to coordinate with local police, fire, and government officials. Together, we’ll ensure the event is safe and incidents are kept to a minimum.  We invite you to read more about what Everbridge can do to help with mass gatherings in your community. We hope you find these resources useful and you have a fun and safe Eclipse.

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