Today, Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Public Safety Secretary Colonel Mike Hagar, Arkansas Division of Emergency Management (ADEM) Director A.J. Gary, and other state agency leaders held a joint news conference at the Arkansas Highway Department to discuss the upcoming Arkansas Solar Eclipse 2024, which will occur on Monday, April 8, 2024.

In just over a month, Arkansas will be a destination for visitors from across the country and worldwide who are eager to witness this special event. The expected influx of people poses unprecedented challenges and opportunities for the Natural State.

The Department of Public Safety has developed comprehensive plans to address the various implications of this gathering.

Arkansas State Police (ASP) is strategically deploying troopers across the state. ASP will be essential in maintaining public safety during the upcoming event. To ensure safety, ASP will work closely with other law enforcement agencies to address potential safety risks, manage hazards, monitor traffic flow, and enforce road safety regulations. ASP officials advise those who plan to travel around the event to plan and be patient, as there may be congestion on the main interstates. ASP reminds those traveling to use *ASP (*277) to report non-emergency travel situations. This call will transfer the caller to the nearest ASP troop headquarters.

“The 2024 solar eclipse event itself is not a threat. However, it is important for planning personnel to define threats that could occur out of this event,” said Col. Hagar. “We want to ensure that everyone who comes to Arkansas to witness this rare phenomenon can do so without concerns for their safety. We are confident that our extensive planning and preparation will enable us to provide everyone with a safe and enjoyable experience.”

ADEM is coordinating contingency plans with various state agencies, ensuring a swift and coordinated response to unforeseen situations. Over the past year, ADEM has conducted monthly operational calls to prepare for the event. ADEM held a live tabletop drill two weeks ago, discussing scenarios and testing the response capabilities in preparation for the eclipse.

To be fully prepared for the event, ADEM has considered every possible scenario that might affect the people of Arkansas, such as potential traffic issues, cellular coverage problems, emergency medical situations, severe weather, and gas shortages.

“We anticipate a significant influx of visitors to Arkansas seeking to witness the eclipse. In the preceding year ADEM has diligently collaborated with various stakeholders, including local, state, and federal agencies and private sector partners, to prepare for this event. To ensure readiness, the State Emergency Operations Center will remain active before, during, and even after the eclipse, guaranteeing prompt assistance to those in need. Our primary objective is to provide visitors with a secure and satisfying experience while also showcasing the natural beauty of Arkansas,” Gary said.

You can watch today’s news conference HERE.