The 2017 Solar Eclipse will be an amazing thing to watch for those of us in North America. But are you one of the millions of people who will be effected by the sudden influx of people from all over the world into your tiny towns which will likely be unable to handle the increase of population? How do you prepare for that?
Music festivals, natural disasters, newsworthy events, or other social phenomenon can create temporary mass hysteria in your area. While your everyday preparedness should get you through, don’t ignore what will be happening during this time and let your guard down.
What are some social events that can shut your town down?
- Music festivals
- Political demonstrations
- Dignitary visits
- Natural disasters (news organizations, governmental agencies, gawkers)
- Media Events
- Major sporting events
While a ‘mass invasion’ is a fun way to term the temporary influx of humanity to gawk at or be involved in the social movement that is happening in your town, there is a dark, not so fun side to what will be happening. While the effects may only be temporary, they will still be an issue. Here are some tips to help you prepare and get through until things return to ‘normal’.
Tips to Prepare for the Solar Eclipse
(and other large social gatherings)
Think about the people who have driven a long way to get to your town for the event. Now…what do most of them need to get home? Gas. Gas is the one thing that gas stations really can’t stock up on. They can schedule an emergency delivery, but they really can only sell so much gas and then they are out.
Or, think about the lines. If your town only has 3 gas stations with 4-6 pumps each, the sudden increase in population will mean that there will be longs lines for people waiting. Do you remember the gas shortage in the 70’s and what that meant for gas lines? It will likely be like that all over again.
So fill all of your tanks ahead of time. In the case of the Solar Eclipse, Saturday will likely be the day when you begin to see the sudden influx of traffic, so be prepared to fill up by early Saturday morning. Keep a couple of extra gas cans handy to tide you over.
• READ MORE – PREPAREDNESS QUICK TIP #9 : KEEP YOUR GAS TANK FULL
FOOD STOCK UP
Just like gas stations, your local grocery store will be busy. They can better prepare to handle an influx as they can store extra food ahead of time, but why take the chance – and those lines! They will not be worth running in for a gallon of milk that you forgot.
While you should always have at least 3-5 days worth of food in your pantry at any given time, make sure you have at least that much for the ‘event’. Make sure to have an extra gallon of milk or more fresh fruit and vegetables than you might normally stock.
Plan out your meals to know exactly what you’ll need so that you don’t have to run to the store to pick something up.
• READ MORE – BUILD A BETTER PANTRY
As with every large gathering of humanity, you have folks who are coming to have fun, be informed, or take a stand. But you also have folks who are there to cause a problem. Be even more aware of your personal security and that of your property and belongings.
- Lock your house up
- Keep lights on
- Lock your car up
- Don’t go out alone
- Keep in contact with friends and family
- Added security
If you have property near the event, make sure you monitor it for folks who might be boondocking and camping out without permission. While you may be gracious to allow them to stay for a day or two, be sure you know who they are, get information, and keep an eye out.
• READ MORE – 10 Basic Safety Tips for Women
Just like with gas, ATM’s can only hold so much cash at any one time. And you might be surprised at how the price of things you normally buy everyday skyrocket during a peak event. Keep cash on hand so that you don’t have to visit an ATM or jump on your credit cards. Just be warned, don’t flash that cash.
Keep enough in alternative spots that you don’t have to show it all at once to pay for gas station burrito!
Cell towers in normally quiet enclaves can’t always handle the capacity of an influx of usage. Think about areas where natural disasters have occurred and cell phone usage is down to nothing for a day or two. People rely on Twitter to get messages out to loved ones.
If you have a ham radio or two-way radios, now would be a good time to get them out and dust them off for usage in case communications do go down.
Alternatively, your weather radio likely has an emergency station that you can tune to where local disaster agencies can put out messages to help you keep up to date.
HAVE AN ESCAPE PLAN
Now, if you’re really smart, you may decide to have a vacation elsewhere during your town’s event. But if you decide to stick it out, make sure to have a plan for alternative ways to get to where you need to go. While a GPS on your phone is always a great way to navigate life in our modern area, cell towers are likely not to be able to handle the influx of traffic from all the cell phones coming in, and you may have trouble accessing your online information.
So have a paper map of your area in your car and home and trace out a few different ways out of town. This can be a great learning tool for your kids, too!
If you live in a city and rely on mass transportation, realize that it will likely be crazy those days, too. Taxis, Uber, and general traffic are going to be way up! If you need to work in town amongst all the craziness, consider trying to find a friend or co-worker you can stay with for a few days so that you don’t have to worry about the increased travel time.
CAR EMERGENCY KIT
This is a good time to check the supplies in your car emergency kit and make sure it is fully stocked and current. What? You don’t have one? Here’s a checklist to get you started.
You might have gotten into it when you had to wait at the soccer game a little too long. Or maybe Susie hurt herself at the park and you needed the first aid kit. Or it’s been awhile and the batteries need to be replaced in your flashlights.
It is also a good time to find your 72 hour emergency bag. You know that one you created because you saw it on the blog, but figured you’d never really need it in your area because you don’t have natural disasters. Go on…look under that pile of boxes from Costco you still haven’t broken down. It’s there – yeah, I’m totally calling you out on that one! 🙂
Go ahead and grab that bag, stock it up and make it current, and put it in your trunk. If you do happen to get stuck on a highway with the throngs of folks trying to get to their venue or get stuck in the traffic of the event, you’re prepared to spend a little time sitting in all that traffic until it clears out.
PREPARE FOR MINI-EMERGENCIES
In a town full of people that are not really paying a lot of attention, mini emergencies or disasters can pop up. Fires, accidents, and property damage are likely to occur. Having your emergency kits at the ready can help you deal with those incidents if you get caught up in them. Have your fire extinguishers at the ready if you live in an area where demonstrations will be happening.
While crowds of folks in your normally quiet town may make you crazy, don’t panic. Just stay home. Get out of the way of the crowds and craziness and enjoy the event on your own if you can. The solar eclipse can be seen in your front or backyard without going to a big field with everyone in the world. Music festivals can be seen online. You’re already living the natural disaster if that’s what everyone is there for. Or, just watch the news coverage on television.
Unless the event is your passion, stay home in your comfie clothes and be happy!
What’s Your Experience?
Have you been involved in something like this? What are your tips to help deal with the sudden influx of humanity … and still keep your cool?
Mike is a preparedness enthusiast, adventurer, and sports fanatic. He followed in his family’s footsteps and undertook training and education in disaster survival, home preparedness, and personal safety. When he is not out on his next adventure, Mike offers our readers a glimpse into how and what it means to live a prepared life.
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