Our Prepared Nehalem Neighbors (and BP too) Get Noticed

EVCNBLast week, the MIT Technology Review published a spotlight on the Emergency Volunteer Corps of Nehalem Bay (EVCNB), which is led by a 77-year-old woman named Linda Kozlowski.

Quoted in the article is Steven Eberlein, a professional resilience specialist, who warns that “some issues are just too huge for individuals to tackle alone.” He adds, “Federal, state, and local governments can’t respond to everyone in a quick manner. . . . When you look at what’s happening with the pandemic, one of the big problems is our supply lines are clogged.”

But in a LinkedIn post on the 18th, Eberlein wrote that “Community preparedness requires community leadership,” he also called out two people and two organizations for being “the two best examples of community preparedness leadership in the Pacific Northwest”: our own Scott James and Bainbridge Prepares and Kozlowski and her team.

The MIT article focused on how EVCNB, which Kozlowski started with little money in 2008 for three small, neighboring coastal towns, has become the model for coastal preparedness. Much like Bainbridge Prepares, EVCNB has focused on earthquakes, tsunamis, and coastal storms, which can result in power outages, landslides, and flooding. But a pandemic offers a different landscape.

One of the COVID-19 challenges faced by Seattle and other smaller communities like Bainbridge is familiar to Kozlowski, who has been “frustrated” by the “swell of beachgoers” appearing along the coast, “ignoring the calls for social distancing.” Another challenge is that the COVID-19 disaster differs widely from other types: “There are no power cuts, no extreme weather or loss of running water—just empty streets and a lack of medical ventilators,” which makes it “extremely difficult to apply the come-together strategy of Kozlowski’s program.”

But when COVID-19 dropped, EVCNB found out they were ready with a crucial teamwork infrastructure such as a plan for joint grocery runs to help out neighbors who had to stay in quarantine. And here on Bainbridge our already established Bainbridge Prepares infrastructure was quickly directed toward developing and providing medical and other supplies for local organizations, disseminating information, and linking needs to resources.

The Technology Review article describes Kozlowski as defying the “stereotype of a prepper” because she “takes an approach that is less everyone-­for-themselves and much more we’re-all-in-this-together. ‘How we recover in this next step is sticking together,’ she says.”

Bainbridge Prepares adopts a similar “we’re all in this together” approach often described as approaching disaster prep through a lens of love rather than fear.

Read the entire article about Kozlowski and her team and coastal preparedness here.


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