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Bandera Alert!

October 04, 2023 - 00:00
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  • Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash
    Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

Warning all Bandera residents about the Oct. 14 eclipse.

It only takes 20 seconds to go blind in one or both eyes if you watch the eclipse with your naked eyes.

It happened to two 16-year old boys who watched a partial eclipse with no protection just like the one coming up on Saturday the 14th of October. Their stories let you know what they suffered for the rest of their lives.

Bandera’s Oct. 14 annular eclipse begins at 10:22 in the morning and ends at 1:30 that afternoon. It lasts for 3 hours and 8 minutes. The “ring of fire,” when the moon blocks most of the sun, will last 4 minutes and 43 seconds.

What happens when you look directly at an eclipse?

The sun’s UV rays start a “photochemical reaction” in your eyes that damages the central vision part of your retina in those 20 seconds, according to the National Library of Medicine. There’s no cure. It’s a nightmare you don’t want for you or your children.

How do you protect your eyes?

Only use solar glasses with this top certification number: ISO12312-2:2015. Don’t take them off while looking at the sun under any circumstances. Don’t use them if they have scratches or pin hole damage.

Don’t use these devices to watch the eclipse.

NASA reports “…it is not safe to look directly at the sun without specialized eye protection for solar viewing.” Unfiltered cameras, telescopes, binoculars or any other optical device that don’t have filters are safe so they “magnify the sunlight’s intensity.” Welding goggles aren’t safe either unless they have “a shade level of 14.”

Protect your pets’ eyes.

Dogs and cats have retinas similar to humans. So their retinas can be damaged just like yours. Keep your pets inside and away from any access to windows.

Here’s where to get the solar glasses you need: The Bandera County Visitors Center Director, Patricia Moore, says the Center “… has glasses available in bundles of 50 at a reasonable cost. For those who don’t need such a quantity, several local also businesses have them available for a reasonable price. Some organizations have them for free.”

Contact the Center to find out where you can find these glasses.

Traffic jams in Bandera will cause problems.

Moore says in just 11 days, “Bandera will be jammed with visitors the way it is for festivals and parades.” Here’s what to expect.

Driving to the grocery store might take much longer than usual. Products on store shelves could be scarce for several days before and after the eclipse.

Gas pumps might run out of gas. ATMs might run out of cash. The doctor’s office may be hard to reach if you or your family members get sick.

Don’t panic. Get ready.

This checklist will help you and your family stay safe and enjoy this historic event.

• Get the right eclipse glasses and filters.

• Share eclipse safety tips with your friends and neighbors.

• Get enough groceries and bottled water (if bottled water is what you need) to last for several days before and after the eclipse.

• Make sure you have necessary prescriptions to last a week or more.

• Fill up personal cars, trucks and any vehicles used for business.

• Have emergency cash on hand. With high demand, ATMs may not work.

• Get plenty of food for your pets.

• Protect your pets’ eyes.

• Reschedule any regular doctors’ appointments for after the eclipse.

• Business owners need to make sure workers have the check list. They should also make sure workers protect their eyes, talk to suppliers to make sure they will have plenty of products just before and after the eclipse, talk to workers about delays getting to work and gas up their vehicles. They can contact the Chamber of Commerce and the Visitors Center for other tips