Disaster liaisons sought

01/13/2021

The Inverness Disaster Council is building out its force of neighborhood liaisons, hoping to take advantage of a heightened focus on emergency preparedness following the Woodward Fire. 

Two new coordinators, Sally Fairfax and Connie Morse, took the reins last month, and they are looking for residents to fill 19 neighborhood liaison vacancies, so that each of the town’s 34 neighborhoods has someone who can communicate with the Inverness Volunteer Fire Department about what is happening during a fire, flood, earthquake or power outage. 

“The faster we can gather information, the faster we can get the resources to come in, like the National Guard,” said Jim Fox, the fire chief. 

Neighborhood liaisons are given an informational binder and a radio that transmits to the fire engines and station. They are expected to gather their neighbors once a year to offer sensible tips: clearly display your house number, make sure the fire department has your phone number, carry a proof of residence in your car, and pack a go-bag. Depending on the emergency, liaisons will communicate with the first responders so they don’t have to drive around to survey the scene. 

Each town in West Marin has its own disaster council, all with varying degrees of engagement. The Inverness Disaster Council was formed in 1982 following a flood that isolated the town, but the council has received less attention in recent years. When coordinator Jairemarie Pomo left her position, Ms. Fairfax and Ms. Morse stepped in. Ms. Morse has been a neighborhood liaison since the council’s conception, and she has seen an evolution of technology allow people to become more independent and informed by signing up for alerts and educating themselves. She and Ms. Fairfax have many ideas for campaigns, communications and trainings, but first they are focused on making sure every neighborhood has someone looking out for it. 

Because they are in their 70s, they plan to revamp the council for two years, then leave it in fresh hands. “We need younger, smarter, more agile, more people adept with devices. So it’s time to work for a generational transition and a rebuilding of the threads that we need because we’re out here at the edge,” Ms. Fairfax said. If you are interested in volunteering, email idccs2022@gmail.com.