Viral alarmist Facebook post spreading misinformation about eclipse in East Idaho

IDAHO FALLS – A Facebook post containing alarming warnings about the upcoming eclipse in East Idaho is getting shared widely on the social media platform in the region. The post purports to contain information shared at a community information meeting held at the Civic Auditorium on Wednesday, July 26th. KID NewsRadio was present at the meeting, and says the latest posts have an element of truth, but plenty of patently false information. The text of the post is below, with corrections included in red text.

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“Passing this on for all ECLIPSE goers… from a friends post.

Just got this from my sister…..um wow just WOW! 
Eclipse info from the meeting last night: 
-All non-essential businesses are advised to close on Monday.  NOT TRUE. The community was not advised one way or the other on businesses staying open, but if staying open to have more than one employee working for safety reasons since Police/EMT/Fire response capacity may be limited.

-Authorities are advising that our cars are filled with gas from Wednesday before the eclipse until Wednesday afterward. Keep a can of gas at your house filled and if traveling, in your car. PARTLY TRUE: Attendees were advised to keep gas tanks full in the days leading up to the eclipse, but a specific timeline was not articulated.

-Cell phones won’t work. Our towers cannot handle the massive influx of people. POSSIBLY TRUE: It was advised for residents to plan on having very limited or no cell phone service during the days of the eclipse.

-Salt Lake City based Life-flight is loaning us 5 of their helicopters to have here in Idaho Falls. NOT TRUE: While the region’s hospitals will have their air transport capability ready, there was no mention Wednesday night of Salt Lake City air transport vehicles being loaned to EIRMC.

– Plan on having your food and water for your entire household from Wednesday through Wednesday. MOSTLY TRUE: While a timeline was not given, this is solid advice.

– NASA is here. Now. That’s how big this is. UNKNOWN: While NASA has designated the region as one of their viewing sites, and will have a presence in various locations closer to and during the eclipse — Museum of Idaho, Menan Butte, etc. — there was no information disseminated indicating NASA scientists are already here.

– EIRMC has all staff working, with no one allowed to take time off, and there is extra personnel working too in Law Enforcement, Medical, and all First Responders. TRUE: Hospital staff, along with all first responding personnel have been advised to be on-call if not working. All hands on deck.

– If coming up for the eclipse, you will most likely be stuck here through Wednesday. NOT TRUE: Though traffic congestion and delays are certainly expected, nobody has been told they will “most likely” be stuck here two days beyond the eclipse.

– The DOT is possibly turning I-15 in only Northbound prior to the Eclipse (both Southbound and Northbound only going North) and after the eclipse, I-15 only going Southbound. ABSOLUTELY NOT TRUE: This has been a rumor floating around for a while, but ITD officials have stated definitively that I-15 will be operating as normal during the days of the eclipse, and there will absolutely be no reconfiguration of lane directions, etc. Furthermore, there will be no active construction zones during those days, and all lanes will be open to accommodate the extra traffic.

– Huge possibility of power outages as our grid can’t handle the influx. Remember, we are a City of 50,000. It is projected we will have 500,000 here. NOT TRUE: There is no warning of a “huge possibility” from anyone official that the grid will fail. While there may be some extra load on the system, officials say they feel confident power demand will be met. However, there were concerns expressed that a traffic accident or fire could lead to localized outages. 

– There will be porta potties along I -15!” ABSOLUTELY TRUE: ITD announced part of their plans for accommodating slow moving traffic, and it included placing porta-potties along I-15 and other major arteries. In addition, incident management crews will be patrolling those routes to help with flat tires, cars running out of gas, overheated radiators, etc.

 

 

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