CRH making plans for emergency response during eclipse

Republic file photo An exterior view of Columbus Regional Hospital’s sign directing patients to the emergency entrance.

Columbus Regional Health is preparing for the potential for large crowds during the historic total solar eclipse on April 8.

The hospital system has set up an incident command to prepare and plan for the first celestial event of its kind in Bartholomew County since 1869, said CRH spokeswoman Kelsey DeClue.

CRH has decided to modify the timing of some elective outpatient procedures and services, including some non-emergency surgeries and imaging, so that these patients are finished by around noon on the day of the eclipse, officials said.

“This is to allow time for patients receiving those services the opportunity to safely get home before traffic may increase around the community,” DeClue said.

Additionally, CRH officials are working to identify alternative routes for ambulances in case main thoroughfares are backed up and plan to have an increased presence, including a “makeshift first aid station” and possibly an ATV-type vehicle where crowds are expected to gather for events, such as the Columbus Air Park and Columbus Municipal Airport.

At the same time, CRH is working to be fully staffed in high-traffic areas of the hospital system, including the emergency department and outpatient urgent care locations such as PromptMed.

“The more people that you have passing through your community, whether they’re staying for a little bit just on the roads or whatever, (they) could potentially end up coming through our doors. So, we want to be ready for that,” DeClue said.