Sparking preparedness conversations

This photo is the cover for a new community group on Facebook called Kemmerer Area Emergency Preparedness, created by local policeman Joshua Hagler. (COURTESY PHOTO)

KEMMERER — Joshua Hagler had been kicking around the idea of starting a preparedness group on social media. COVID-19 was entering everyday vocabulary. He was on the “Community Board for Kemmerer, Diamondville & Surrounding areas” group on Facebook and started seeing a few people asking for ideas for beating the boredom.

Some were sharing their ideas. He said he thought, “Let’s make this go,” and he started a group. There are currently 150-plus members in the Kemmerer Area Emergency Preparedness Facebook group, and the only guidelines are simple: Let’s support and help each other. Keep it clean.

Hagler envisioned a page where people could talk and people could share ideas about the emergency preparedness things they had done. He has taught a few classes at BOCES on emergency preparedness, always having had an interest in it. Drawing from his own experiences of when he was looking for a job years ago, he said he and his family lived on the little bit of food storage they had for about a month and a half.

When he later came to work at the Kemmerer Police Department, he decided to make sure that if something happens his family is a little more prepared. He has always liked to encourage others to be a little more prepared by saying, “It doesn’t matter what you are preparing for. If you prepare for economic collapse and there is a pandemic, one preparation will lead to the other but you won’t need to get everything at once.”

Living in southwest Wyoming provides some open space and opportunities for its residents. Hagler mentions the growing season in our area.

“It isn’t very long but you can grow things,” Hagler said. “One of the things that we grow is spaghetti squash. They don’t get real big but we’ve had some years where it has lasted us into March.”

Instead of potatoes, Hagler and his family grow a Jerusalem artichoke, which he describes as kind of a starch potato. Other area benefits he mentions besides the ability to grow a garden are the hunting and fishing. The resources are available and because we are a little ways away from a lot of people, he mentions that can be a blessing at times. Then he laughs and says, it can sometimes be a curse.

The online discussion group is a place where people can share ideas openly. Hagler says he doesn’t care if people disagree, everyone is entitled to their opinion. He just wants to share ideas, and try to spark discussion. They have discussed items to put in a first aid kit, items for home food storage, edible areas plants, and occasionally, the recent COVID-19 statistics. Interested people can check out the group on Facebook, just search for “Kemmerer Area Emergency Preparedness”. The group is not affiliated with any government, public, or nonprofit entity.

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