Each month, we will be featuring a different Bainbridge Prepares team so you can get to know them and their mission. Today’s spotlight is on the Access & Functional Needs (AFN) Team, which is led by Reed Price and Rita Elsberry.
This team is focused on trying to make sure that vulnerable residents of Bainbridge Island get pre- and post-disaster assistance. The “pre” part involves helping this segment of the population prepare to be as self-sufficient as possible for if and when disaster strikes. The “post” part involves providing disaster assistance after a catastrophic event.
A couple of years ago during a major snowstorm and power outage, AFN became aware of an elderly woman living alone with no alternate heat source and limited food on hand. The team arranged for Island Volunteer Caregivers (IVC) to deliver her some hot soup and for a neighbor to reach out to help her, and they communicated with her out-of-state family about options for getting her to a safe place during the storm. Price explained, “This story illustrates the importance of helping our most vulnerable residents prepare for any type of emergency, large or small.”
The team meets quarterly or more to plan for addressing unmet needs of our vulnerable residents. The team has attended trainings given by emergency preparedness experts, including Washington Functional Needs Disaster Training, Psychological First Aid, and Stop the Bleed. Elsberry is also a member of the CERT Team.
Accomplishments and Objectives
So far, the team has made great strides with their mission, holding numerous emergency preparation trainings for residents of senior housing; working with IVC and the Senior Center to help schedule vaccine appointments for seniors and people with disabilities; arranging for transportation to vaccine clinics as needed; and working with the City, the Senior Center, and IVC to register people without mobile devices for automatic emergency notifications.
AFN is currently updating assessments/inventory of senior housing units to determine readiness and any gaps in need and in equipment/supplies for residents. Next they plan to meet with the Disaster Hubs Team to prepare accommodations at the hubs for people with mobility challenges, hearing/vision impairment, and dementia. They also want to conduct regular sessions with vulnerable populations to put together emergency supply kits. Finally, they hope to work with Map Your Neighborhood teams to communicate emergency preparedness information to isolated or vulnerable residents.
AFN is actively looking for more people to join their team of four volunteers. They especially need volunteers to assist with outreach to and inventory of congregate housing units. And they’re always looking for people with good ideas. To be a member of this team, you need to be a licensed volunteer with the City of Bainbridge Island. It is recommend that you also have knowledge of or experience with people with access or functional needs.
Featured image shows Reed Price and Rita Elsberry.