Fitzgibbon Hospital is prepared to support Marshall, the surrounding communities and the influx of people coming to view the solar eclipse during the weekend of August 19 through eclipse day on August 21. Plans in place include additional physician and staff availability in the Emergency Department and other hospital services areas. Staff surgeons are also available to care for general or orthopedic surgical emergencies should these become necessary. There will also be additional staff on the hospital grounds to make sure that patients know where to park when visiting the Emergency Department or to utilize other hospital services.
“We have taken several steps to ensure availability of services to our patients, whether they are from our community or travelling to our community,” said Dennis Sousley, VP of Clinical Services at Fitzgibbon Hospital. “First, our patients who have scheduled appointments should know that we are open that day and their appointments are still scheduled as normal.”
All services are available on August 21, as the eclipse falls on a regular business day. The influx of additional people in Marshall may also impact the availability of cell service as experts are warning that local cell towers could become overloaded. Fitzgibbon Hospital has been preparing for that as well.
“As with any large scale event that we have in our community, whether it is a concert, festival or a natural disaster, we have Emergency Communication Plans that help us continue the line of communication with our valued first responders and our community, should normal means of communicating become difficult,” said Tom Jones, CIO and emergency preparedness coordinator for Fitzgibbon Hospital.
Fitzgibbon Hospital does not anticipate any disruption in hospital communications, phone lines or internet service. However, they will issue two-way radios to key employees throughout the organization to ensure they can communicate with the incident command center at the hospital, should that become necessary. From the command center, communications can be maintained with the e911 center, state and local police, emergency medical services, Saline County EMD and emergency response personnel throughout the state of Missouri. Fitzgibbon Hospital also has amateur radio equipment that can communicate to incident responders either locally or nationally.