Bainbridge Prepares (BP) is a nonprofit organization that began in 2011, partnering with the Bainbridge Island Fire Department to provide educational guidance to the island and surrounding communities in the event of a disaster, natural or otherwise. In 2016, the City of Bainbridge Island joined as an additional partner.
Their goal was simple: provide guidance and citizen involvement as well as leadership so that our community would be prepared to face anything that might come our way. For the past ten years, they have built a solid foundation comprising of various teams of volunteers and civic and non-profit organizations. This has resulted in “people power” with the majority of their teams focusing on neighbors taking care of neighbors, which in turn allows our professional first responders to focus on the larger community as a whole.
In addition to assisting residents, businesses and community organizations in setting up their own disaster kits and preparedness skills, BP has become a national leader in disaster preparedness. Communities throughout the country have reached out for guidance in recreating BP’s organizational model, and BP is happy to share by providing a video on their website, suggesting their best ideas and practices as well as details on how they’ve structured their teams. And of course, you can reach out to them directly with any questions. Founder/Board Chair of Bainbridge Prepares, Scott James, is the author of Prepared Neighborhoods: Building Resilience One Street at a Time, which is available in print, eBook, and audio and provides a step-by-step guide on how to develop a cohesive plan for individuals and the community.
Without volunteers, the system doesn’t work, and BP has amassed an amazing group of them. The teams cover a variety of needs for the community and consist of several emergency medical teams that can be called on, as well as teams for disaster hubs, auxiliary radio service, community outreach and training, flotilla services in the event the island is cut off during a disaster, child reunification and much more. To learn more about the teams and what you can do to help, click here.
All of BP’s hard work has been especially apparent during the pandemic. Along with their partners and volunteers, they’ve been able to deploy several emergency response teams for management and support of COVID testing centers as well as vaccination clinics here on Bainbridge Island and throughout the greater Kitsap and Jefferson Counties. Their partnership is also coordinating with Bainbridge Island Community Pharmacy to distribute and facilitate vaccine distribution, creating clinics on both a local and larger scale.
For information on COVID testing and vaccines, click here.