VashonBePrepared Disaster Preparedness Blogs

Everyone's blog is listed on this page chronologically. Use options on the right to search or filter by various means - or to look further back in time. Subscribe for automatic delivery of these updates using RSS or Twitter using the tag VashonBPrepared - no 'e' to keep within the 15 character limit. These used to automatically show up on our Facebook page - but they no longer allow that. Any VashonBePrepared volunteers can easily blog - contact the Tech Team to get set up.

All Recent Blogs

By John Cornelison on 10/23/2016 2:52 PM
The Seattle Times took a look at the Cascadia Rising final draft report: we failed.

Not so much Vashon, but the state.

The article is at:

The draft report is at:

Executive Summary Overarching Conclusions A large magnitude Cascadia Subduction Zone fault earthquake and tsunami is perhaps one of the most complex disaster scenarios we face as emergency management and public safety officials in the Pacific Northwest. Due to this complexity, life-saving and life-sustaining response operations will hinge on the effective coordination...
By John Cornelison on 10/21/2016 11:23 AM
2016 Patient PosterThe Seattle/King County Clinic is a giant four-day FREE clinic.

Healthcare professionals from around the region volunteer to provide quality dental, vision, and medical care.  Patients receive free healthcare services including dental fillings and extractions, complete eye exams, free prescription eyeglasses, mammograms, Pap smears, flu vaccine, foot care, and much more.


Thursday, October 27 through Sunday, October 30


Tickets will be distributed at the Fisher Pavilion at Seattle Center, 200 Thomas St (2nd North & Thomas St).  The Clinic will be held at Key Arena at Seattle Center, 401 1st Ave N Seattle, WA 98109

Patient outreach:...
By John Cornelison on 10/20/2016 3:41 PM
VashonBePrepared held its annual meeting yesterday at the Vashon Emergency Operations Center.

A simple affair this year, many of our partner organizations reviewed the last year’s activities and plans for the year and the coming year. See our list of accomplishments which soon should reflect some of these activities.

A key item ahead is to hopefully upgrade the VIFR Training Center, and merge our EOC into this larger location.

VashonBePrepared’s board then voted in a new set of bylaws, which cleaned up some antiquated language, but primarily enlarged the number of our partner organizations – many of whom have been participating informally for years:

New VashonBePrepared Partners Vashon Island School District (VISD) Medical Reserve Corp (MRC) Voice of Vashon (VoV) Vashon Chamber of Commerce ACS (replaces Vashon Maury Island Radio Club) ...
By John Cornelison on 10/14/2016 8:25 AM

	Woman cleaning inside of home after a storm.Most homes on Vashon are well built against the seasonal rains and water we face. Still, if a drain clogs, or the incoming rain is heavier than the system can take you may still wind up with a flooded basement or other area of your home.

FEMA has a number of guidelines borne of experience for how homeowners can handle floods. Although focused on floods from Hurricane Mathew out east, many of the same guidelines apply to floods that may occur on Vashon.

Check out FEMA’s flood clean-up guidelines here.

By John Cornelison on 10/14/2016 8:13 AM

As a glance outside will show, we’re currently experiencing a strong storm. Actually there are two storms, one a day away from the other.

Check local weather reports (e.g., NOAA or Weather Underground) for the latest reports as the predictions are changing fairly quickly.

In addition to the checklist on our website, here are some other points that may be helpful in your winter storm season preparations:

Water - If possible,...
By John Cornelison on 9/27/2016 11:50 AM

Seattle Colleges has generously offered to host an Incident Command System 100/200/700 Combination Course at no charge.

The course will be held Thu, October 13, 2016 from 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM at South Seattle College, 6000 16th Ave SW, Seattle, WA.

If you are interested in participating in any of the VashonBePrepared groups, this is an excellent way to get up to speed on the terminology and concepts used on Vashon – and throughout the United States.

By John Cornelison on 9/27/2016 11:37 AM
Proclamation_Seattle_2016_Emergency_Preparedness_MonthIn an effort to prepare Seattle communities for ‘The Big One’ and other disasters Seattle may face, Mayor Murray has proclaimed October 2016 as Emergency Preparedness Month.

Please join the Office...
By John Cornelison on 6/11/2016 6:53 AM
CascadiaFeatureThanks to All Who Participated What a team! How is it possible that so many people can work together for four days and achieve so much?

The answer: It's what Vashon is all about, isn't it? Neighbors helping neighbors.

Many thanks to everyone who came to "play" in Vashon's Cascadia Rising earthquake exercise.

We had many new faces and our mailing list (
By John Cornelison on 5/21/2016 10:27 AM
Download a PDF version of this brochure (with better layout!) by clicking here.

Vashon Island Fire & Rescue Welcomes National Guard VIFR Chief Hank Lipe A Note from Fire Chief Hank Lipe Nobody could ever truly be ready for an earthquake as bad as the Cascadia scenario. It will overwhelm even the best efforts of our small fire district and the many organizations and volunteers in the VashonBePrepared coalition.

But Islanders are resilient and I know we will all work together as neighbors to take care of each other as best we can until mainland help arrives. Still, a community’s response to a large scale disaster is only as good as its planning and training. That’s...
By John Cornelison on 5/4/2016 5:09 PM
AlertKC-color King County is investing in a new regional public emergency alert and notification system which features a public alert service - ALERT King County - to keep residents informed about significant events or emergency situations.

ALERT King County replaces RPIN (Regional Public Information & Notification) and uses the capable CodeRED software to drive the system.

The new software offers enhanced features that allow officials to more precisely target...
By Vicky de Monterey Richoux on 9/14/2015 8:41 AM hosts an important lecturer on earthquakes, coming to Vashon in November.

By John Cornelison on 9/8/2015 3:42 PM
Alert SeattleStay informed when you are roaming the urban lands: Consider subscribing to AlertSeattle – the City’s new, real-time emergency alert and notification system.

When emergencies happen, be the first to know. AlertSeattle is your link to real-time, official notifications from the City of Seattle.

AlertSeattle is a free service that allows you to sign up online to receive customized alerts via text message, email, voice message, and on social media (Facebook and Twitter). This service is provided by the City of Seattle at no cost; however, message and data rates may apply.

In addition to emergency alerts, you can also choose to receive customizable community notifications. These will include notifications about severe weather,...
By Vicky de Monterey Richoux on 9/1/2015 9:31 AM
Best practice: Start small, maybe, but do start.
By Vicky de Monterey Richoux on 6/2/2015 8:55 PM

1) People of mountain villages and island communities may be similarly vulnerable in the event of severe disruption of critical systems and services.
2) Governments and NGOs will be hard-pressed to help, especially in outlying areas.
3) Household and community resilience may make the most difference during rescue, recovery, and rebuilding.

By John Cornelison on 6/2/2015 7:49 AM
imageLast Thursday, FEMA and its partners released the 2015 National Preparedness Report (NPR). The NPR is an annual status report summarizing the Nation's progress toward reaching the 2011 National Preparedness Goal of a secure and resilient nation. This report marks the fourth iteration of the NPR. The 2015 NPR places particular emphasis on highlighting preparedness progress in implementing the National Planning Frameworks. The Frameworks describe how the whole...
By John Cornelison on 4/29/2015 3:10 PM Technician Test Prep class is schedule for May 15th 6PM to 9PM, 16th 10AM to 5PM, 17th 10AM - 3PM.

Cost of the class is $30 to cover instructors expense's, the cost of the test and an official ham license.

Additionally, students need to purchase a new textbook since the question pool has changed as of July 14th. Here is a link to the ARRL Store but this book is available at other outlets:

To register for class, contact:

Sharon Danielson via email: kharazi (at)

By Vicky de Monterey Richoux on 4/18/2015 11:23 AM
Find me at the NERO table next Saturday.
By Vicky de Monterey Richoux on 4/18/2015 10:36 AM

Twenty-six students completed CERT training; what will they do next?


Best practice: train, cross-train, review, practice, drill!

By John Cornelison on 3/20/2015 5:10 PM
On March 25, 2014, we published this nadir view of debris and a barrier lake created by a major landslide near Oso, Washington; the image was acquired by the Landsat 8 satellite on March 23. - earthobservatory.nasa.govA year after Oso, Arts WA is hosting a way for poets to memorialize that tragic event. Here’s one great entry:

One March morning the landscape shrugged—

fields dammed the river, hillsides fattened and rolled

—a hungry black bear feasting on every fallen thing.

When there is no one to blame but the rainfall,

no trial, no jury, no jail—our cry for justice is empty.

We have only the hope of no one suffering,

that bodies succumbed the way an infant...
By Vicky de Monterey Richoux on 2/3/2015 4:29 PM

Opportunity for free training from experts in first aid, search and rescue, and other disaster response topics.

(UPDATE: CERT class is now full, but express your interest to get on the list for the next class.)

Best practice: Engaging in community preparedness helps us get better at household preparedness

By Vicky de Monterey Richoux on 2/3/2015 4:14 PM
Best practice: take advantage of good weather to review the basics
By Vicky de Monterey Richoux on 2/3/2015 10:33 AM
Vashon Community Emergency Response Team training opportunity

Best practice: engaging in ongoing, varied and specialized training programs makes participants even more resourceful for supporting their families and neighborhoods
By John Cornelison on 12/5/2014 10:09 AM
Two joint studies are out this week and indicate that the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2013’s predictions of a global sea rise of a bit over 3 feet by the end of the century could be way off.

Apparently warm ocean water is already undermining a vast stretch of West Antarctica ice that could release enough water to raise sea levels by up to 11 feet in the next 100-200 years. 13 million people live within 10 vertical feet of the ocean and Miami, New Orleans, and New York City would be the cities most affected.

Read yesterday’s Washington Post’s article...
By John Cornelison on 12/4/2014 6:41 PM
12-4-2014 at 4.20.00 PMPersonal weather stations (PWS) supplement public weather stations, such as those at airports. Given the right equipment, citizens with a PWS can share their weather data with a number of services who will aggregate the data and help collectively provide better weather forecasts for the region.

Owners also get more...
By John Cornelison on 12/1/2014 9:32 AM
According to the LA Times, the entire west coast should get access to the first generation of early earthquake warnings as early as next year. Dependent on congress’ upcoming vote, the budget would be some $16 million annually.

The new system would be the first generation, after a bare-bones prototype system has proven the concept over the last year or so in a limited set of locations. California would go from 200 to 400 sensors while 275 sensors are apparently all that are currently planned for Oregon and Washington.

Specialized systems have been in place for years. For instance the Alaskan Way Viaduct automatically is closed...
By Vicky de Monterey Richoux on 11/24/2014 8:43 AM

Best practice: keep useful and comfy items in your car, to navigate seasonal surprises

By Vicky de Monterey Richoux on 11/17/2014 8:18 PM

Best practice: communicate periodically via social media or whatever medium suits your group.

By Vicky de Monterey Richoux on 11/17/2014 7:03 PM

Best practice: get informed about local hazards, and how to mitigate them for your home and neighborhood.

Best practice: celebrate milestones together, and reward outstanding accomplishments!

By John Cornelison on 11/13/2014 5:15 PM
Seattle to host Nov. 18th Twitter event to take questions about landslides

1916_Landslide_near_Duwamish_Head,_West_SeattleDid you know that most landslides occur between the months of October and April? And that 86 percent of landslides are caused to some extent by human activity? Landslide season is upon us and the City of Seattle is urging residents to take preventive measures to protect themselves and their property from possible landslides.

Heavy rains are likely this year for the Pacific Northwest. As the rainfall continues to increase throughout...
By John Cornelison on 11/10/2014 8:40 PM
11-10-2014 at 6.08.39 PMThe American Red Cross has released a slew of apps for the Android and Apple marketplace.

One of their latest - Monster Guard: Prepare for Emergencies - is oriented at 7-11 year olds...
By Vicky de Monterey Richoux on 11/10/2014 6:03 PM

Best practice: laminated map of your NERO, plus colored stickers to designate the status of each household.

Best practice: after an incident, use maps and forms to assess your neighborhood, then call 9-1-1 to report up.

Best practice: have older buildings reviewed by a contractor to make sure they have had seismic (earthquake) retrofits.

By John Cornelison on 11/10/2014 1:12 PM
20Most folks believe the National Weather Service just reports on the weather – but I remain skeptical. I actually think they know how to control it – when it fits their key goals.

As conclusive proof, realize that the NWS proclaimed this week as “Winter Weather Awareness Week”. As a direct result – not coincidentally as many naively assume – the nation is going to be plunged...
By John Cornelison on 11/5/2014 9:48 AM
WinterReady2013Handbook-1 The Vashon Beachcomber, publisher of last winter’s “Vashon Winter Ready 2013 Handbook” has kindly allowed VashonBePrepared to make the handbook available online. As we gear up for our annual winter storm season, you can review this great overview of winter preparedness on our Severe Storm page. Kudos also to VIFR, Voice of Vashon, Puget Sound Energy, and VashonBePrepared for their contributions to the handbook.

By John Cornelison on 11/4/2014 9:55 PM
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOver 25 ham radio operators showed up for the local amateur radio club’s bimonthly meeting tonight at Vashon’s Emergency Operations Center.

John Galus, past president of the club demonstrated the newly upgraded Local Area Communication Caches (LACCs) for the Dockton and Burton radio stations. (The north end and Tahlequah and 5th Station 55 caches have yet to receive the latest updates, but received upgrades in the form of hand-me-downs from the other caches.)

By Vicky de Monterey Richoux on 11/4/2014 3:35 PM

Best practice: combine Neighborhood Emergency Response Organizations with Block Watch.

Best practice: meet at least annually with your neighbors, to refresh information and include new residents.

Best practice: invite experts who can help you organize, provide useful tools, and support your efforts.

By John Cornelison on 10/29/2014 11:31 AM

SeismicMonitorHere are some interesting resource pages for Earthquakes:

Earthquakes Data Magnitude 5.0 and Over 2005 - 2014

Seismic Monitor

Quakes - Live Earthquakes Map

By John Cornelison on 10/22/2014 6:22 AM
VashonBePrepared Convenes Community Meeting on Landslide Risk 29Oct2014_AnnualMtg.1826x1200VashonBePrepared invites the entire community to learn more about landslide risks on Vashon, a risk that ranks in the top three for the Island, right up there along with earthquake and severe weather. The informational meeting, which will include a question and answer session, will take place on Wednesday, October 29th,...
By John Cornelison on 9/22/2014 7:27 AM
At least our knowledge of the Seattle Fault’s extent grew. This is according to USGS researcher Craig Weaver, as quoted in today’s Seattle Times article.

Apparently the quake occurred at the intersection of the Seattle Fault and another fault on the Olympic Peninsula. The article also references a 1995 quake near Vashon with magnitude 5 – which also turned out to be along the Seattle Fault.

The picture to the right (from the USGS)...
By John Cornelison on 8/27/2014 1:13 PM

According to UW’s John Vidale, as reported by KING-TV and The Seattle Times, getting an early warning system in place for WA would cost some $17 million annually. We’ve a rudimentary system, but that’s seemingly not ready for prime time. It apparently is a priority for California’s legislators, but not (quite yet) ours. Maybe that will change!

More about California’s system – which gave a 10-second notice to the recent Napa quake is available at CBS.

By John Cornelison on 8/27/2014 12:10 PM

0824quake-hazards1As we reported a month ago, the USGS has released a new earthquake map. King 5’s recent story on this is at:

By John Cornelison on 8/27/2014 12:04 PM

I haven’t vetted the following claims, but suspect they are readily verified. All too often the short term gain is overwhelmed by the long-term consequences…


- From

By John Cornelison on 8/27/2014 11:57 AM
Cover photo for the document: Reducing the Risks of Nonstructural Earthquake Damage—A Practical Guide, Fourth EditionThe recent August 24, 2014 earthquake outside of Napa, California again demonstrated the seismic risk posed by a building’s nonstructural components. In general, the components of a building’s structural system that support the building and keep it standing—the frame, walls, and roof—performed very well in the Napa Valley earthquake. However, the nonstructural components of a building—the cladding, interior...
By John Cornelison on 7/25/2014 8:37 AM
Voice of Vashon has started construction on Vashon’s new radio station KVSH, building as funds come in. And Islanders donated over $3,000 at Strawberry Festival so their fundraising campaign is at 93% of the $50,000 goal.

It'll take a couple more months of work to put KVSH-FM on the air but last week the all volunteer team erected the mast and antenna up top of the giant water tank just south of town.

See for yourself in this video!

By John Cornelison on 7/25/2014 8:31 AM
This map shows, in purple and pink, the west-east line of magnetotelluric sensors that were placed north of Washington state’s Mount Rainier to study the volcanic plumbing system under the volcano. The sensors detect how the ground resists or conducts natural electricity within the Earth. Shown in yellow are seismic sensors that detect how fast or slow sound or seismic waves travel underground. Both methods were used in a new study that provides the most detailed look yet at the subterranean plumbing system that supplies the active volcano.

Photo Credit: R Shane McGary, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

July 17, 2014 – By measuring how fast Earth conducts electricity and seismic waves, a University of Utah researcher and colleagues made...
By John Cornelison on 7/24/2014 8:03 AM

“Important changes in Washington are related to the addition of the Tacoma fault and changes to the South Whidbey Island fault. The Seattle region hazard has not changed significantly because we use a very similar model for the Seattle fault as was applied in 2008. We have not modified this fault using the geodetic model.” from the USGS report, Pg. 192

By: Jessica Robertson ( and Mark Petersen (


By John Cornelison on 6/19/2014 6:39 AM
6-19-2014 at 7.36.16 AMPlease don’t confuse VashonBePrepared with Cliff Goodman’s neat new Kickstarter campaign just down the road: Vashon Beer Prepared!

Cliff has run out of space and brewing capacity, and a serious shortage has developed as he has...
By John Cornelison on 6/10/2014 12:30 PM

While there have been numerous historical problems (victim & rescuer safety, communication and conflicted goals) with asking untrained volunteers to help out during disasters, they were invaluable in the recent Oso slide rescue effort. It is pretty clear that they are very useful in a number of situations with some supervision or initial vetting.

Read this article by the Everett HeraldNet to learn more:

By John Cornelison on 5/11/2014 8:25 PM
KingCountyLandslideRiskAreas-1980According to this recent KOMO News piece, Seattle is warning residents to not inadvertently cause landslides.

"Eighty-four percent of the landslides that have happened in Seattle have, to some minor or major degree,...

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