Kemmerer Remembers 9/11: Child Safety Fair, Stair Climb

Guests watched quietly as the flag was lowered at the conclusion of the event.

Last Saturday marked the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11th attacks, and various emergency service agencies came together for two events that day: the first annual Child Safety Fair and the (third) 9/11 Tribute Stair Climb.

Beginning at 10 a.m., the Child Safety Day took place in Diamondville Park, just down the street from Rosie’s. An event that was months in the making by the Kemmerer EMS Association, Child Safety Day brought together multiple agencies for a day of entertainment and education aimed at children. The fair also served as a fundraiser for the Kemmerer EMS Association, with an extensive array of prizes being raffled off. Dutch oven dinners were also offered by Weston Dutch Oven Cooking, based out of Preston, Idaho.

At the event, EMS had stations teaching children how to perform CPR, stop bleeding and offered other informational resources.

“One thing that we’re really trying to focus on is community involvement, and teaching kids basic safety. Teaching them how to call 911, or stopping the bleed, how they can just put pressure and that can save somebody’s life…little things like that. And we want kids to not be afraid of first responders, because they can be scary, especially in car accidents or fires,” said Captain of Education, Charly Johnke.

Not one to be outdone, the Kemmerer and Diamondville Police Departments also brought their own array of beer goggles for children and adults to wear as they underwent a mock roadside DUI test. The goggles varied in their level of simulated intoxication, but most who took on the test found themselves unable to convincingly pass.

Also at the event was the Kemmerer Volunteer Fire Department, which set up their own fire truck ladder for guests. There, they ascended to 100 ft. for a commanding, if chilly, view of the region. Even state troopers were in attendance with their own “Seatbelt Convincer,” a small, towed contraption that simulated for children what a crash at 5-10 mph would feel like.

In addition to these agencies, EMS and Lincoln County Search and Rescue had their vehicles on display. There were also plans for a helicopter from Utah Airmed to be guided down by individuals from Search and Rescue, but inclement weather back in Utah kept them grounded.

Unfortunately for the children in the outdoor bouncy house, a particularly strong downpour hit about an hour into the event, forcing guests to shelter under the pavilion. Fortunately, the meals prepared for the event by Weston Dutch Oven Cooking were ready to go, and many used the rain as a chance to recharge.

When asked about the fundraiser itself, Johnke explained that all of the money raised would be going to the Kemmerer EMS Association. Primarily, the money would be used for updating their outdated equipment and keeping their ambulances well-maintained. She also emphasized the constant battle that EMS agencies across the country face when it comes to keeping a steady reserve of equipment.

Indeed, a universal issue in the realm of emergency care rests in the fact that when a patient gets evacuated, whether via ground or air, the EMS agency that initially provides the equipment in patient care may never see any of it back after they’re transferred to a hospital, including backboards, SAM splints, and so on. Depending on the sources of funding for the agency in question, this can range from a minor annoyance to a serious budgetary concern.

After the event, it was reported that more than $500 had been raised for the Kemmerer EMS Association.

Later that evening, the Kemmerer Volunteer Fire Department held its third 9/11 Tribute Stair Climb at Ranger Stadium. The event, much like similar events held across the country over the last two decades, was a more solemn event.

Before the climb, Lieutenant Caleb Ellis, the chief architect behind the event, spoke at length about the significance of the day, reading off a number of statistics about that day. After he had finished speaking, several clips of audio from Sept. 11, 2001, were played during a moment of silence. Then the tribute call came in from the EMS Dispatcher, and the firefighters donned their gear.

The climb itself took place on the bleachers, where firefighters ascended the equivalent of 110 stories — the same number of floors as the World Trade Center had. Members of the public were also invited to follow suit on their route or undergo a similar distance around the track — approximately one mile’s worth of steps.

After all of the firefighters had completed their routes, Ellis ushered the crowd over to the flag, which had been raised under a firetruck ladder, for the lowering and folding of the flag. The silence was punctuated by the sound of bagpipes.

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