'If there is a mass casualty somewhere and public safety needs us to assist, we would'
SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - With as many as 1 million visitors coming to Oregon for the total solar eclipse, the medical staffs at Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend and McKenzie-Willamette Medical Center are planning for the worst - and hoping for the best.
At RiverBend, a tent structure that can hold dozens of patients for triage is set up outside in case the emergency room is swamped.
"We would be able to safely take care of and triage quite a few ambulatory patients in this facility," said Jim Cole, the emergency medical services coordinator.
The hosptial has also prepared a portable Emergency Response trailer.
"If there is a mass casualty somewhere and public safety needs us to assist, we would take the vehicle and tow it to them along with personnel to help out at the scene," Cole said.
Cole said they've brought on additional staff in the emergency department through Tuesday, just in case hospital in Albany, Corvallis and elsewhere become overwhelmed with patients.
McKenzie-Willamette has also geared up for a potentially busy weekend.
"We don't know what to expect," Nate Carter said. "This obviously doesn't happen but every 50 or 60 years, so we're just preparing for the worst but hoping for the best."