The 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami and 2005 Hurricane Katrina
demonstrated the impact disasters have on remote and isolated communities. The
level at which a community recovers from a disaster is directly proportional to
the level in which they are prepared for both the initial blow and the recovery
process. This community is experienced in
(and therefore resilient against) the occasional weather events (wind storms,
cold weather, snow) that cause power outages and disruptions to our
The Disaster Preparedness Committee was formed to help the
community prepare for the bigger events that affect a much larger area and
significant population. These are the ones that deplete the normal available
resources immediately at the local levels. The Fire Department will get to you
eventually, but it could be hours or even days. State and Federal resources will
take several days to mobilize and respond, even then the larger populated areas
are their first priority. Do not expect them for a week or two, at best.
Our remote and isolated community will be on our own for
quite some time and will need to help each other to improve our recovery. Map Your Neighborhood (MYN) is a program to
help communities respond to each other’s needs when the local emergency services
are overwhelmed and response levels are diminished.
During a disaster the Fire Department becomes the Emergency
Operations Center for the Island and is the point of contact for the County
Emergency Operations Center (Whatcom Unified).
Major incidents cause disruptions of our everyday communications
systems. There must be a coordinated plan to receive and distribute information
to and from the community. Island Intercom has been started to provide a method
of communications to and from the Fire Department when this occurs.