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'All hands on deck' for eclipse prep, pledges coroner

Aug 11, 2017 By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

The Fremont County Coroner's Office is preparing for the coming solar eclipse as though a hurricane were heading this way.

"Hopefully we sit around twiddling our thumbs, (but) something might happen, so you just have all your ducks in a row," Coroner Mark Stratmoen said Tuesday.

"A lot of people from out of town, outside of the state, and outside of the country will all be wandering around Fremont County. ... We're standing by and ready, as much as we can be, for an event we have no idea what it's going to present."

His office has made sure all of its equipment is maintained and ready to be utilized in the case of an emergency that involves fatalities Aug. 21.

Stratmoen said autopsies may be necessary if there are any altitude-related deaths due to visitors coming from lower levels.

He also could imagine fatalities from the increased traffic anticipated in the county.

His approach to potential problems is a simple one: "All hands on deck, all equipment in place."

"We have our mass-fatality trailers all gassed up and ready to go," Stratmoen said. "Hopefully we don't need them."

The trailers can hold about eight people, he said.

Stratmoen also has established priorities that will provide guidance if several incidents take place at the same time. For instance, he said, a fatal, multiple-vehicle pileup would take precedence over the death of a 90-year-old at home.

- Staff Writer Daniel Bendtsen contributed to this report.

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2017-10-20

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