Bainbridge Prepares is an educational nonprofit organization committed to ensuring Bainbridge Island, Washington and surrounding communities will be resilient in the face of natural disasters and other calamities. Since 2011, we’ve worked in partnership with the Bainbridge Island Fire Department. The City of Bainbridge Island joined our partnership in 2016.
Our journey to become the most prepared town in Washington state will only be successful with widespread citizen involvement and leadership. Please take a quick look through the list of Bainbridge Prepares teams below; we’d love to have you! Be sure to sign up for our email newsletter to stay up to date on everything related to preparedness on the island.
- COBI Emergency Management Coordinator Anne Lesage watches over several agency-led committees for the city.
- Deputy Chief Jared Moravec is BI Fire Department’s representative in the partnership.
- Executive Director Loren Bast and Program Director Christina Aitchison are creating a series of citizen-led teams via Bainbridge Prepares and identifying strategic organizations on the island to create formal ties with one or more of the entities in our three-way partnership.
Should you be interested in learning more and volunteering with one of the citizen-led teams, please directly contact the team leadership as noted below the organizational chart (click to enlarge):
Map Your Neighborhood (MYN): this BIFD-led team engages with residents to conduct MYN parties in private homes where neighbors learn steps to take immediately following a disaster to secure their homes and protect their neighborhood. The MYN program is organized by Loren Bast and Anne Lesage.
Community Outreach: This team is focused on outbound communication with citizens across all aspects of the island via web, social, events, training, and more. Operating from a place of love—not fear—this team moves citizens through the stages of awareness towards action. Team led by Loren Bast (tech startup and media veteran from The Seattle Times) and Jan Carey (retired Department of Justice, Homeland Security, FEMA), with Allen Elliott (Information Technology, BIEMR), Stephanie Bell (social media guru), and Susannah Arntson (event organizer, graphic design). Jason Zimmerman from our training partner Empact Northwest is also involved, and Rob Dalton (Executive Creative Director) advises this team.
From within this team, our Training Czar Captain Benjamin Berg (Active Duty Coast Guard Contingency Planner) is working through the training options available across all our teams, and Leslie Marshall (RN, PhD, professor emerita) is focused on building up the Ready Congregations group.
Hubs (shelter system): Hubs provide the following limited services for a limited duration after a wide-scale disaster: information, shelter, food/water, medical care, and psychological care. Hubs have a formal relationship with COBI and are staffed by Bainbridge Prepares volunteers. Led by Dan Bacon (retired Navy) and Christina Aitchison (CERT, BIEMR), the team includes Russ Berg (entrepreneur, CERT, BIEMR), Maradel Gale (CERT, Sustainable Bainbridge), Andrea Chymiy (family medicine physician with extensive urgent care and public health experience and a great blogger), Jack Metz, and Tyler Heinemann (Ham operator, BIEMR).
Psychological First Aid: This team leads trainings for citizens that show how we can ALL lend important emotional support to friends and neighbors in times of crisis. Led by Britt Gonsoulin (MD, MPH) and Mary O’Leary (PhD, LCP).
Child Safety and Family Reunification: This extensive team is creating the 24/7 strategic care plan for our children so that no matter the time of day the incident happens, we all know the best actions to take. Led by Kari Murphy (Girl Scouts) and Jen Kochenash (Odyssey parent). Also includes Dr. Jeff McCormick (BISD), Susie Burdick (KidiMu), Cat Thompson (Boys & Girls Club), Trish King (Island School), Missi Gross (Madrona School), Maryanne DeSimone (retired educator), Mike McCloud (BHS Paraeducator and BIESPA President), Bryan Garoutte (Parks & Rec), Eden Whitmire (Blakely Parent, WFR), and Kathy Haskin (Peacock Family Services).
Domestic Animal Care: Considering the needs of our furry and feathered friends, this team is working with island veterinarians and animal professionals to create the 24/7 strategic care plan for our domestic animals. The team is led by Katia Buskirk (Z Bones) and includes Diana George (PAWS), Lisa Horn (West Sound Wildlife Shelter), Eric Stevens (Humane Society), Mindy Anderson (Aunty Min’s), Natalie Smith (Humane Society), and Dr. Liz Greenlees and Dr. Bob Harrington.
Wellness: Caring for the caregivers! This team focuses professional caregivers on providing support for the first responders, Hubs staff, and other emergency workers in the aftermath of the incident. Led by the all-star cast of Dr. Julie Rosenblatt, Colleen Huck (IBCLC), and Susan James (MSW, LICSW).
Vulnerable Populations: With a special focus on populations like our beloved elders, low income, people with disabilities, homeless, and more, team lead Rita Elsberry (Island Volunteer Caregivers) works with Linda Wohlsen (MS, CMC), Paul Stumme-Diers (Bethany Lutheran, Interfaith Council), Phedra Elliott (Housing Resources Bainbridge), Myra Howrey (Helpline House), and Ray Strazdin (CERT, IVC) would welcome volunteers.
Communication Infrastructure: Centered on leveraging ham radio technology—since most other forms of digital communication will be suddenly cut off—this team is thinking through how we best facilitate communications on and off the island as well as how to restore our community’s connection to the internet. Team lead: Lionel Halvorsen.
Bainbridge Island Emergency Medical Responders: During an emergency, the BIEMR team, who are all Wilderness First Responder certified, will provide field triage and medical care at the Island’s hubs. Team Leaders are Sarah Lane, Clint Pells, and Devin James.
Medical Reserve Corps: This team includes local medical professionals who will help staff local area clinics to provide a more definitive level of medical care. Members include Steve Bice (Team Lead), Dr. David Cowan, Dr. Andrea Chymiy, and Phil Fergusson.
Interpretation (LEP): Providing interpretative services at the Hubs and other emergency locations for our medical and logistical staff. Team includes Elizabeth Ozimek, Will Perkins, and Danie Chang (retired Air Force logistics).
Food Resilience: Led by Heather Burger (Friends of the Farms) and Maria Metzler (Helpline House), this team is focused on creating a collaborative community-wide network to grow the maximum amount of food on the island possible, preserving and sharing it in good times and emergency times. Think farms + food bank = food security. Includes Mark Arvidson (Army (Retired)—Emergency Management and Disaster Preparedness), Christian Berg (COBI Water Resources Technician), Christy Carr (COBI Natural Resource Planner), Leslee Dixon (food consultant), and Ann Lovejoy (public/private sustainable gardening educator).
Spontaneous Volunteers: Creating a system to organize and pre-screen volunteers arriving after the incident occurs. This team is led by Jim Hopper (Bainbridge Community Foundation).
Continuity: The survival and recovery of your organization after a natural disaster is crucial to the rebuilding of our economy. Make your plans now with the help of Jerri Lane (Bainbridge Island Downtown Association) and Rex Oliver (Bainbridge Chamber of Commerce).
Flotilla: Yes, we really are an island. All boat owners interested in loaning their vessel and piloting skills to the community in the aftermath of a large natural disaster, please contact Tami Allen (Harbormaster) or Ben Doerr.
CERT: FEMA’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program trains volunteers to prepare for the types of disasters that their community may face. Through hands-on practice and realistic exercises, CERT members learn how to safely respond to manmade and natural hazards and help organize basic disaster response. Team leads are Christina Aitchison (CERT, BIEMR), Dan Bacon (CERT), Russ Berg (CERT, BIEMR), and Lionel Halvorsen (CERT). Team email: firstname.lastname@example.org.