Vashon Receives Huge 350 kW Emergency Generator from Franciscan Health System
3/15/2011 10:04 AM
Diesel-powered unit will serve community shelter during power outages
Franciscan Health System has donated a large emergency-power generator to the community of Vashon Island so residents can have a safe, warm, lighted building in which to seek shelter when Mother Nature knocks out electricity to homes and businesses in the area.
The 350-kilowatt unit holds 500 gallons of diesel fuel, enabling it to generate electrical power for several hours. Manufactured by Onan, the generator is equipped with an automatic transfer switch that turns on the diesel-powered unit when normal electrical service is interrupted by events like windstorms and earthquakes.
“We are grateful to Franciscan Health System for this much-needed equipment,” said Chief Hank Lipe of Vashon Fire and Rescue. “It will afford us the ability to provide a fully powered and functional 24-hour, life-sustaining shelter for Vashon in case of a damaging earthquake or other major disaster.”
He is working with representatives of the Vashon School District to determine which local school would be the best fit for the generator. “We are currently looking at Chautauqua Elementary School, which meets seismic safety standards for the hook up, but the decision has yet to be finalized,” Lipe said.
Homes, businessess and public buildings on Vashon Island darkened abruptly Nov. 22, 2010 after a bitterly cold snowstorm, combined with high winds, cut off electricity to the entire island. Thousands of people were without electricity for several hours.
“We are pleased to donate this potentially lifesaving equipment to a community recently gripped by a winter storm that caused a dangerous power outage,” said Franciscan Foundation President Jon Flora, a resident of Vashon. “That frightening event dramatically proved the need for a designated emergency shelter. This powerful generator will help the community’s leaders to establish such a place for the safety of the island’s residents.”
The generator is about 25 feet long, 10 feet tall and eight feet wide, with an estimated value of $50,000. For the past seven years, it had been on the campus of Franciscan’s Enumclaw Regional Hospital. That aging facility closed on Feb. 2 when Franciscan opened St. Elizabeth Hospital in Enumclaw.
In all, Franciscan has donated three emergency-power generators from the former Enumclaw hospital. The other units have been accepted by the cities of Enumclaw and Buckley.
Based in Tacoma, Franciscan Health System is among the largest health providers in Washington. Franciscan has hospitals in Tacoma, Federal Way, Gig Harbor, Lakewood and Enumclaw, in addition to medical clinics in Pierce, King and Kitsap counties.
[Updated: Also note associated release from the Vashon Beachcomber: http://www.pnwlocalnews.com/vashon/vib/news/119002879.html]