How prepared are you for an emergency?

By Rana Jones, Gazette Reporter
Posted 3/26/24

KEMMERER — An emergency preparedness fair in Kemmerer on March 16 provided booths and classes to educate people about self-reliance. Among topics discussed were emergency communications, first …

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How prepared are you for an emergency?


KEMMERER — An emergency preparedness fair in Kemmerer on March 16 provided booths and classes to educate people about self-reliance. Among topics discussed were emergency communications, first aid, finances, gardening and emotional resiliency, among other things.

Visitors were able to gather information during the fair, meandering to booths with different topics. One station, set up by Randolph, Utah, resident Gerald Compton, educated on biointensive gardening methods. Despite the challenges of gardening in this region, Compton displayed pictures of squash, garlic, onions and carrots from his garden.

He uses no synthetic fertilizer or chemicals and opts instead to use an organic insecticide. He dedicates growing beds for his crops using organic compost and avoids genetically modified seeds.

Compton’s gardening technique includes planting beds around 40-50 feet long and 24-30 inches wide, leaving a working path between each row for his wheelbarrow and maintenance. To loosen the soil, he uses a straight blade digging shovel and English style digging fork.

Providing tips from acquiring 1x6 boards from a local sawmill for planting beds to using a drip irrigation system with mini-soaker hoses, Compton also reminds people to wear sunscreen while gardening. “Skin cancer is no joke,” he said.

A timer on the drip irrigation not only prevents him from having to get up early in the morning, but it also saves water. Using the mini-soaker hoses is more efficient than the sprinkler method he said.

Compton advises keeping in mind the zone when gardening for crops, saying that Kemmerer is zoned 4B (-25 to -15) and that planting too early could be a problem, specifically for beans, tomatoes, squash and peppers.

Attendees came to Kemmerer from surrounding areas to find out more ways to become self-reliant. Celeste Howard from LaBarge has a garden of her own, crediting her grandfather’s landscaping skills passed on to her. Howard suggests people start with an interest they have and build on it when trying to become more self-reliant.

Gardening is just one of her pastimes and she switches gears to cooking and reading in the winter months.

“Winter is a time to enjoy the fruits of your labor and prepare for the next season,” she said.

The fall season she dedicates to harvesting and canning. Although she is quite self-reliant, Howard still goes to the store for milk and certain items. She has three chickens, which she said provide enough eggs for a couple.

Howard refers to some of the ways of the past as a “lost art.” She has recently been trying to cook on it, but said she is still learning how her grandmother’s woodburning cooking stove cooks.

“Getting the oven up to temperature to boil water can be a challenge,” she said.

After she masters boiling water on the stove, she said she will try to cook a casserole or bread. She said she is learning to cook one thing at a time because it takes more attention using the old stove.

Other ways to be prepared include having what is referred to as a “bugout bag.” Items in the bag may vary, but staples are food, water filters, first aid kits, clothing and a flashlight. Eric and Indi Digerness from Randolph had a table set up with examples of things that could go in a bag and be left in a car. Creating a list could be a place to start when organizing a bugout bag, or pre-made bags can be purchased online.

Kemmerer Police Sgt. Joshua Hagler manned a booth with handmade knives and other survival gear. Hagler said it is especially important to be prepared for emergency living in areas of Wyoming where there can be harsh weather and extreme winters.

“Start small with emergency preparedness,” he suggests. “You don’t have to spend a lot of money, you can start with the basics.”

Another suggestion of Hagler’s was purchasing an extra can of beans at the grocery store or grabbing a few items at a time instead of trying to get everything prepared at once. Hagler created the Kemmerer Area Emergency Preparedness Facebook group and hosts an emergency prep meeting locally.