News Archive

News

These articles are from our initial web site as VashonBePrepared, from 2007-2011.

VashonBePrepared Annual Meeting

By May Gerstle

08/23/2010

Mark your calendar!
Wednesday, Sept. 8th, 6:30PM
Vashon Island Heritage Museum

A presentation on Vashon's historical disasters by Former Assistant Fire Chief Mike Kirk and Vashon historian Bruce Haulman will highlight VashonBePrepared's 2010 Annual Meeting!

We'll also review of the past year's accomplishments and look briefly at the year ahead. Weýll elect our new Board of Directors who will then quickly meet to appoint their Executive Committee. (Any last nominations should be sent in to May Gerstle, Jan Milligan or myself ASAP!) Finally we'll strive to set a routine date so future Board Meetings can occur on a more regular schedule.

Perhaps most importantly though we want to leave at least an hour for our volunteers to socialize. We'll be able to stroll through the current museum exhibit, Island Home - The Photographs of Oliver S. Van Olinda, which should create the perfect setting to reflect and discuss Vashonýs historic disasters!

We extend our appreciation to the Vashon Maury Island Heritage Association for use of their facilities.

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Carol Ireland McLean Honored by Vashon Fire Commission

02/24/2010

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Carol Ireland McLean receiving commendation letter from Chief Hank Lipe

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CERT Training in March

02/08/2010

Our Island CERT program will be holding a new training session in March, beginning Friday March 19.

CERT training promotes a partnering effort between emergency services - Vashon Island Fire Rescue (VIFR) - and the people that they serve. The goal is for emergency personnel to train community members in basic response skills. CERT members are then integrated into the emergency response capability for their area.

19-March for 8 consecutive Fridays, from 6 to 10pm. And one Saturday, May 1st, 8am - 4pm.

This training is offered at no-cost to the participant.

For more information and to read the brochures prepared for this session, click here.

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Information About Storing and Preparing Food

 

02/08/2010

Two events are coming up that have a focus on helping islanders grow, prepare and store food. These events have a significant focus on keeping a ready supply of food on hand with a self-resilience intent.

They are: Cathy Fulton's Food Summit - www.VashonFoodSummit.org and Emet Degirmenci's Vashon Permaculture Course

 

 


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Are You Prepared?

 

09/29/2009


Remember last December's snow and ice? Remember the power outages from the big wind of 2006?

The VashonBePrepared Challenge has been set up to help you easily answer the question: "Are you prepared?" It's a short home readiness self-assessment questionnaire. If you fill it out and turn it in, we'll enter you in a free drawing that could help prepare your household to be safe and comfortable when bad weather hits. It's simple. It's fun. IT'S FREE!

Did You Know? Vashon has faced gale force winds and crippling blizzards a dozen times in the last 86 years. Yet, every year, families and businesses get caught short, surprised by winter storms like this one.

Take the Challenge and Win Great Prizes!
Complete and turn in our self-assessment questionnaire. That's all you need to do to qualify for the free drawing. Take this one small step toward being ready for winter and you could win one of two generators and many other home preparedness prizes!

Check the Beachcomber or The Loop and clip out our ad to get the questionnaire and all the details. Or, you can click right here to go to our special VashonBePrepared Challenge website.

Keep in mind, your responses will remain anonymous. We're collecting the data to build a snapshot of overall Island household readiness for use in our disaster response planning.
One entry per household please. Complete rules available here.

-- From the team at VashonBePrepared.

Thanks to Your Neighbors
Our VashonBeprepared motto: Neighbors helping neighbors. Well, your neighbors have helped a lot! Many thanks to the Island businesses and organizations that have made this community education campaign possible. They are Vashon Island Fire & Rescue, Vashon Rotary, Vashon Maury Island Community Council, Vashon Chamber of Commerce, TrueValue Hardware, Island Lumber and Puget Sound Energy.

 


Click Here to take the Challenge.

Click Here to read the Challenge Rules.

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Please Conserve Water

By Jeff Hoyt  

07/30/2009

Just posted to VoV Standing By:

Yesterday, Wednesday, was a record-setting day for heat in Western Washington, particularly as evidenced by the power outage that affected some 700 customers on Vashon Island. Today, it's still hot out there, and our attention turns to water.

There is a serious situation coming into focus at the north end of the island in particular. Mary Ann Stipp, General Manager of Heights Water, reports Heights Water is experiencing trouble keeping up with the demand for water. The demand is the greatest they have seen and they are experiencing some mechanical problems at the same time. Heights Water wants you to know that they are doing all they can on both fronts with signs on the roads and repairs underway. They ask that all Heights Water customers cease any and all non-essential use of water through August 2nd.

Now, before you think to yourself, "well, I don't live up there, I can do whatever I want," bear in mind that the stress on the water supply is very likely at historic highs all over the island right now. Yesterday, water supplies at Gold Beach became dangerously low and neighbors in that area have already been encouraging each other to practice conservation efforts. If you MUST water your plants, please do so only at night. Same goes for showering. By using water at non-peak times, you give the systems that are working so hard time to catch up. Oh, and if your car needs a wash (and whose doesn't?), consider letting it slide for the time being until we're through this heat wave, which, according to current forecasts, will likely take us through the weekend before letting up.

Remember to tune to 1650AM, Voice of Vashon Standing By, for updates.

 


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Dealing With The Heat

 

07/29/2009

According to King County Public Health Department: "Hot weather, with temperatures in the 90s, are forecast for upcoming days and have prompted local health officials to urge residents to stay cool and safe while they enjoy summertime activities. Heat can lead to serious medical problems, particularly for older adults, young children, people with chronic illness, and people with weight or alcohol problems.

"The danger for heatýrelated illnesses rises when outside temperatures are very high," said Dr. David Fleming, Director and Health Officer for Public Health - Seattle & King County. "Fortunately, all of us can prevent heat exhaustion or heat stroke with some simple steps."

Read more about the Health Departments recommendations by clicking here.

Here's the National Weather Service's notice on today's heat wave: http://www.noaawatch.gov/themes/heat.php

Here's the current weather forecast for Vashon: http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lat=47.44294999517948&lon=-122.46322631835938&site=sew&smap=1&marine=1&unit=0&lg=en

 


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Your Flu Questions Answered

 

04/30/2009

Vashon Island Fire & Rescue, VashonBePrepared and other community stakeholders have been working together to ensure that our Island community will be ready to respond in the event of a swine flu outbreak in our area. The team participates in daily conference calls with King County Public Health officials who have overall responsibility for our area in responding to such an emergency. We have also been working with Island medical providers and the 40 plus medical professionals who have volunteered for membership in the Vashon Medical Reserve Corps.

We've been hearing a lot of questions from people on Vashon who have become concerned as they see and hear the media storm of publicity about the swine flu. This is our effort to answer some of those questions as best we can in this rapidly evolving situation. The information has been compiled from many authoritative sources, including King County Public Health, the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).


Everybody has been talking about swine flu. How is it different from regular flu?
The symptoms are about the same. It is defined as an "acute febrile respiratory illness." That means people have a fever and headache, sort throat, nasal stuffiness and cough. Some people have diarrhea or vomiting as well.

Why has it been getting so much attention then?
Good question, because regular seasonal flu kills 36,000 people in the United States every year, mostly people who are already at risk because of their age or because of a pre-existing health problem. Experts worry that this flu might be different because, as counterintuitive as it might seem, it is possible that it might have a greater effect on a different population, the young and healthy. That's not yet clear, but it is one concern. In addition, as preparedness planners, we would be remiss to ignore the alert levels being set by the WHO and CDC. They are taking this seriously and so must we. Here's some good news. All the precautions you are hearing about help prevent all flu, not just swine flu. Hand washing and all those tips will help protect you and your family against most diseases. Plus, all this planning we are doing now will be money in the bank towards dealing with a pandemic if we ever do need to face that unfortunate situation.

There seem to be new reports of cases every day. When will things get better?
As with all rapidly developing situations, nobody knows the answer to that question. We can, however, say two things with a lot of confidence. First, everybody that might need to deal with this emergency has already been working on the problem for a couple of years because of SARS and other earlier situations that triggered planning and training for pandemics. Second, the surveillance programs have been snapped into high gear so, naturally, with more people looking and testing for the disease there will be more cases detected.

What medicine can I take now to prevent the disease? Isn't there a vaccine?
Each year, a new flu vaccine is developed to deal with the latest seasonal flu strain. However, this year's vaccine is not "tuned" to prevent the swine flu virus. It will take weeks to develop a specific virus for swine flu and even longer to manufacture the quantities that would be needed for mass inoculations.

Two antiviral medicines do appear to have an effect on swine flu, Tamiflu and Relenza. However, those medicines are aimed at reducing the effects of disease on people who already have it. They should not be considered preventatives.

I'm not sure if I should contact the doctor. How can I decide?
Experts, including King County Public Health, have made several suggestions that will help you make a decision.

  1. If you are not sick and want some sort of pre-treatment, do not go to the doctor. All medical providers have been asked to screen patients and not to administer medicine unless people have the flu symptoms.
  2. If you are mildly ill and would not ordinarily go to the doctor, do not seek medical care. If the situation gets severe, doctors will need to focus on the people who most need help.
  3. One exception to that second point: If you have any symptoms and have just returned from an area where the swine flu has been confirmed, contact your medical provider.
  4. Finally, if you feel very ill with flu-like symptoms, get medical care right away. Don't hesitate to seek help.


You mentioned hand washing and some other things. What are those tips?
That's the good news we mentioned. Take all these steps and get your family, friends and co-workers to do the same and you can be sure to reduce the chances of getting or giving anyone else a disease - not just swine flu, any disease.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough or sneeze.
  • If you use a tissue, use it only once. Throw it in the trash and wash your hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. Especially, wash your hands anytime you've been out in public and after you cough or sneeze.
  • If you can't wash your hands, use one of the alcohol-based hand cleaners.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • If you get flu-like symptoms, contact your health care provider. Symptoms can include fever, body aches, sore throat, cough, runny nose, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.
  • If you are sick, stay home from work, shopping, school or church and please stay off that airplane ý even if it is not a confirmed case of swine flu.
Experts call this social distancing. Other folks just call it being polite.

Do continue to stay informed. There will be updates as developments arise on Voice of Vashon 1650 AM and on VashonBePrepared.org. Another good source is the website operated by King County Public Health: http://www.kingcounty.gov/health/swineflu.

 


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Vashon Takes Steps on Swine Flu

 

04/28/2009

Vashon Island Fire & Rescue and VashonBePrepared today launched a planning process to ensure that our Island community will be ready to respond in the event of a swine flu outbreak in our area. The team has already made contact with the Island's medical providers to gather information and is participating in daily planning conference calls with King County Public Health officials who have overall responsibility for our area in responding to such an emergency. A key part of any potential response will also be the 40 plus medical professionals who have volunteered to be part of the Vashon Medical Reserve Corps. "We have been very impressed at the level of collaboration we are getting from all the stakeholders who might need to work on this if we do have to deal with an outbreak," said Fire Chief Hank Lipe. "It's the smart and prudent thing to do, even though there have been no cases in our region. People are concerned and we need to address their concerns." "We are really putting a lot of work into education right now," said Carol Ireland-McLean, Coordinator for the Vashon Medical Reserve Corps. "The best thing we can do to get people ready is to give them some effective and easy-to-implement tips on how to avoid getting or spreading the virus." "We will be circulating those tips widely to the public through a number of avenues, including Voice of Vashon 1650 AM and websites such as VashonBePrepared.org, as well as the local newspapers," said John Cornelison, President of VashonBePrepared. "Our role in this partnership is to help facilitate the public education process." As additional immediate steps, the stakeholders in the process have been checking on:

  • The best treatment protocols for the affected.
  • Stocks of medicine that would be required to treat the affected.
  • Procedures to ensure protection of doctors, nurses and emergency responders.
  • Availability of medical volunteers who might need to be called upon for help.
  • Pre-planning contingencies for response if there is an infection in the area and what should happen if it escalates into an outbreak.

(see the companion story for Swine Flu Protection Tips) For more information contact: Chief Hank Lipe: (206) 463-2405, hlipe@vifr.org

 

 


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Trouble, The Waters

 

03/19/2009

On Sunday, March 29, the Vashon Film Society is bringing the gripping documentary,Trouble The Waters to the Vashon Theater. See http://www.troublethewaterfilm.com/ Rick Wallace,VashonBePrepared Vice President for Plans & Operations will remind attendees what Vashon residents must do now to protect themselves and their families. Before and after the movie, useful and free handouts will be available in the theater lobby.

 


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Upcoming CERT Classes

 

03/15/2009

Register now for CERT training here on Vashon Island. The new 8-week class begins on Friday, March 20th. Classes are held every Friday evening at the central Vashon fire training center. Training includes topics such as Personal Preparedness, Disaster Medical Training, Fire Suppression and much more. To sign up, call the Michael or Catherine Cochrane at 463-4558 or email them at certvashon@yahoo.com.

 


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Wind & heavy rain weather tips

 

01/08/2009

Islanders are encouraged to expand your "earthquake" preparation kits, to include these tips for possible impacts of our latest weather: For safety tips concerning landslides, click here.

For safety tips during power outages:
Call Puget Sound Energy's automated phone system at 1-888-225-5773 to report power outages and hear about service updates. Please do not call 911 for non-emergency questions, such as power outage duration or reasons for the outage.

 

In case a winter storm does hit, islanders are urged to:

Have personal supplies, including coats, hats, gloves and blankets, ready to help you stay warm. Stay away from downed power lines and sagging trees with broken limbs. Keep vehicles full of gas. Check on your neighbors, especially the elderly or disabled. Make sure your emergency preparedness kit in your home includes:

A battery-powered radio, along with extra batteries, that can tune in to Voice of Vashon Standing By at 1650 AM Battery-operated flashlights A corded phone (cordless phones will not work when the power is out) Food and water that will last your family for several days During emergencies, Vashon-Maury Islanders will be kept informed through:

Radio: 1650 AM Web site: www.vashonbeprepared.org TV Channel 21 - if you have Comcast cable service click here. For safety tips during power outages: Call Puget Sound Energy's automated phone system at 1-888-225-5773 to report power outages and hear about service updates. Please do not call 911 for non-emergency questions, such as power outage duration or reasons for the outage.

 

In case a winter storm does hit, islanders are urged to:

Have personal supplies, including coats, hats, gloves and blankets, ready to help you stay warm.
Stay away from downed power lines and sagging trees with broken limbs.
Keep vehicles full of gas.
Check on your neighbors, especially the elderly or disabled.

Make sure your emergency preparedness kit in your home includes:

A battery-powered radio, along with extra batteries, that can tune in to Voice of Vashon Standing By at 1650 AM
Battery-operated flashlights
A corded phone (cordless phones will not work when the power is out)
Food and water that will last your family for several days

During emergencies, Vashon-Maury Islanders will be kept informed through:

Radio: 1650 AM
Web site: www.vashonbeprepared.org
TV Channel 21 - if you have Comcast cable service

 


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Back to (mostly) normal

By Jeff Hoyt
 

01/05/2009

Here's an information update for 5:30 Monday afternoon, January 5th.

 

The highway is open! The tree and power lines that went down between Shawnee and Wax Orchard last nightýthat's all been dealt with. No more taking the long road to get south or north down there.

 

Again, Vashon Highway is open.

 

Phone service across the island has been restored. Earlier we had outages south of Burton, as well as along Cove Road and up around Cedarhurst. That's all behind us now, though. Earlier, Vashon Island Fire & Rescue, Vashon Be Prepared and the ham radio operators all worked together to provide special 911 communications for those who needed it at the various fire stations around the island. Thanks to all who participated in that effort.

 

Throughout the day, PSE has reported scattered, small area power outages. Most of that service should be restored tonight, and some other areas may not have the lights back on till sometime tomorrow.

 

According to Puget Sound Energy the outage at its peak affected more than 3,000 customers....roughly half the service on the island. Lotta trees and downfall on the roads all over the island. It wasn't the wind this time, though. All that super heavy wet snow on top of trees that were already weakened by the last snow we had pretty much did the trick.

 

Cable service has been out in different parts of the island and for some, that's their phone service and internet.

 

The County Roads folks did a great job working all night clearing snow from the major lifelines and arterials. Even brought in a contractor today to help clear the debris so conditions should steadily improve on the roads.

 

No more snow in the forecast for now. That's all good.

 

And kids? I have bad news. Tomorrow, schools will be open. In fact, it'll be your first normal day of school sinceý.well, last year.

 

This event is pretty much coming to a conclusion. We'll leave this message up for a few hours tonight before returning to regular programming.

 

Whenever something happens that you need to know about, we'll get it out there for you. Stay tuned.

 

 


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Telephone Outage on Vashon

 

01/05/2009

Rick Wallace reports that a major telephone outage has affected service on the South end of Vashon. That means that 911 service may not work. Here's what Vashon Fire and Rescue and VashonBePrepared are doing to help: Ham radio operators are being stationed at the two affected firestations, Burton and Tahlequah. If you need help and can't get thought on 911, go to one of those two firestations or into the main firestation on Bank Road.

 


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Weather Update - January 5, 2009

By Rick Wallace
 

01/05/2009

Here's an information update at 8:00 Monday morning, 5 January.

Good news. Much of the power on the island was restored this morning after an overnight outage but there are still areas without power. According to Puget Sound Energy the outage at its peak affected more than 3,000 customers....roughly half the service on the island. PSE says however that getting that transmission line restored and the substation back up is only part of the work they need to do. A spokesperson says they have multiple outages across the island. They expect to get much of the remaining service outage restored today but some locations may not be restored until tomorrow. In the meantime, if your power is still out, report it to PSE. This helps them collect data on the situation. That's 888-225-5773 and follow the voice prompts.

There are some phone troubles on the island as well, as you'd expect with trees and wires down. There are also some outages of cable service, especially important if that's how you get your phone service or your Internet.

Vashon schools have posted a notice that school is on a two hour delay. There will be no early childhood and no AM preschool today. The school district website is back up after being down overnight due to the power outage. You can check for bulletins yourself at www.vashonsd.org.

The County Roads folks worked all night on the snow trying to clear the major lifelines and arterials. There are numerous locations where branches and trees have fallen into roadways. Some block the roads and others are just in the way and people are driving around. The County Roads department has brought on a contractor to help clear the debris now that daylight has arrived so conditions should steadily improve during the day. For most of the night Vashon Highway has been blocked by a downed tree that caused the biggest part of the power outage around the island this morning. So as of our last report, Vashon Highway is blocked between Shawnee and Wax Orchard.

As you'd expect, these conditions has been affecting some bus service...in addition to delays due to the bad roads.

Bus driver Robert Teagardin says 119 will run normally.

Until the Vashon Highway blockage is cleared, 118 will turn off its regular route at Burton and make its way south by way of 232nd and Wax Orchard.

116 should be running normally he says.

However, the adverse weather page for metro transit reports that route 54 to downtown Seattle is not serving the Fauntleroy ferry terminal.

Looking at the bus system in general, King County Metro Transit says most of its buses are on their regular routing this morning, but expect delays. Some routes will be avoiding hills or sections of the route where streets are closed or not yet clear for travel. Metro is asking bus riders to check service status online at metro.kingcounty.gov or by calling (206) 553-3000 before traveling today. When checking Metroýs adverse weather webpage, remember to refresh your browser with each visit to get the latest information available. And know that -- even if your route is not listed on the adverse weather page -- it still could be delayed by less than ideal driving conditions.

The good news from the National Weather Service: the snow has ended and rain should ease off as the morning progress with temperatures reaching the high forties and breezy. That means nature will be working to clear the roads where the King County Road Crews have not yet been able to do the job even though they worked through the night. However, there will be some slick spots.

The King County Road Services Division asks everyone to watch for remaining areas of ice and slush, particularly on the side streets. They are suggesting you give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination, and plenty of space between vehicles. Plan to leave early, allowing extra time to clear your windshield and to warm up the car so you can defog the windshield. You can't drive safely if you can't see the road and the other drivers. Again King County Roads urges you to drive with caution, particularly on hills and in higher elevations.

Stay warm, stay safe, and stay tuned to VoV Standing By at 1650 am.

 


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Driving Tips

 

12/19/2008

Here are some winter driving tips compiled from a number of sources by your neighbors at 1650 AM, Voice of Vashon Standing By, and VashonBePrepared. Our sources include Triple-A, Washington State Department of Transportation, Red Cross, Car Talk, and the Weather Channel.

First, think twice..maybe three times...about driving in snow or on icy roads. If you do decide to go....

- Have all-season tires or chains on your vehicle.

- Keep a full tank of gas in the car. That helps avoid gas line freeze up and gives you run time if you get stranded and need to stay warm.

- Keep a kit of gear in the vehicle in case you get stuck or skid off the road....food, water, blanket, hat, gloves, boots. For a complete list check VashonBePrepared.org.

- Maintain antifreeze at the right level, especially with overnight lows getting into the twenties. There is a reason they call it anti-freeze.

- Take a cell phone in case you need to call for help.

- Clear your windows. Snow or ice blocking your windows means the obvious, you can't see to drive. Likewise for foggy windows. Carry a towel and leave time before departure to warm up the car and let the defroster do its job. Visibility...that's a big deal for your safety and the safety of others.

More advice....

- Don't warm up the vehicle in an enclosed area like a garage. That's a recipe for carbon monoxide poisoning.

- Do check the weather and check Voice of Vashon Standing By before hitting the road.

- Do let someone know your travel plans and route and expected time of arrival. If you don't show at the appointed hour, they can check on you.

- Do drive with your headlights on for maximum visibility to other drivers.

- Do consider delaying your departure until road crews have a chance to do their thing.

Driving tips....

- Just go slow. It's just common sense: The faster you are traveling, the longer it will take you to stop and the more chances you'll lose control on a slick spot. Look way out ahead and start slowing way back from a stop.

- Especially, accelerate and decelerate slowly, particularly on hills and from stops. It's hard to get traction back once you lose it.

- Leave plenty of room between you and the vehicle ahead. At least triple the margin of safety you might use on normal dry pavement.

- If you do get in a skid, steer in the direction your rear wheels are skidding. Don't oversteer because that'll make things worse. If you are traveling real slow, you're less likely to break loose into a skid in the first place and you'll have more time to recover from a skid if it does happen.

- Know your brakes. If you don't have antilock brakes, several sources suggest a gentle pumping action on the brake pedal.

- If you have antilock brakes the advice says to press the pedal down and hold it. You'll feel them pumping to try to help you maintain or regain traction.

- If you get stuck in a really bad situation...snow bound in a ditch on a deserted road...consider staying with your vehicle. It's temporary shelter and it's a big object that will help rescuers find you.

- In our rural community lots of folks have four wheel drive. That's good. But remember that four wheel drive may help you get out of a snow bank but it will not help you _stop_ any faster.

- Look way out ahead in traffic. If you see brake lights ahead, that's a good sign that you need to start slowing down way in advance.

Here's the age old advice for what to do in rear wheel skid....

- Take your foot off the accelerator.

- Steer in the direction you want the front wheels to go. If your rear wheels are sliding left, steer left. If they're sliding right, steer right.

- If your rear wheels start sliding the other way as you recover, ease the steering wheel toward that side. You might have to steer left and right a few times to get your vehicle completely under control.

Hope that helps a bit. Stay warm. Stay safe.

 


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Ham Radio Field Day June 28, 29

 

06/25/2008

 


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Annual Meeting

 

06/24/2008

The following people were elected at a recent annual meeting to serve on the VashonBePrepared Board of Directors:

EOC: Rick Wallace, May Gerstle & Ed Steyh

CERT: Catherine Cochrane

NERO: Joe Ulatoski

VMIRC: John Galus

VEPC: Cathy Rogers

VIFR: Jan Nielsen

VIEMA: Steve Haworth

At-Large Members to the Board of Directors are: David Sunstrom, Jill Janow, Reed Fitzpatrick and Rex Stratton.

The officers are:

President: John Cornelison

Vice-President: Rick Wallace

Treasurer: David Sunstrom

Secretary: Reed Fitzpatrick

At-Large Executive Committee Member #1: May Gerstle

At-Large Executive Committee Member #2: Catherine Cochrane

Also honored at the Annual Meeting:
Immediate Past Co-Presidents: Tag Gornall & John Cornelison

 


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Annual Meeting

 

06/17/2008

VashonBePrepared's first Annual Meeting will take place Wednesday, June 18th at 7 PM at the EOC at VIFR Station 55.

The agenda will be to stand back for a retrospective of the last yearýs many accomplishments and look ahead at our goals for the coming year. Weýll focus on our finances, plan our next few meetings, hold elections for the board of directors. We will wrap up with a bit of socializing to celebrate our first year of incorporation!

The public is not only invited but is encouraged to attend.

 


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Come and Get Your MREs at the Sock Hop!

 

05/27/2008

Why in the world would you want to taste a MRE? Good question! MREs are "Meals Ready to Eat" and were developed by the US military so, naturally, you're not likely to associate words like "delicious" with them. However, because of the high-tech packaging that was developed by the US Space Program, a surprisingly tasty meal can be stored for up to ten years!

So, back to the question, you might want to taste a MRE because they make such a simple and effective solution to the problem of storing food for use during a disaster.

If you come to the Quake, Rattle & Roll Sock Hop at K2 Commons on May 31st from 7-11 PM you'll have a chance to sample MREs; a free ýtasting plateý will be yours for the asking. Of the three major emergency food types--high calorie bars, dried food and MREs--we're promoting MREs for several good reasons. The most important has to do with water. In a major disaster like a quake we can expect water supplies on the Island to be disrupted. MREs do not need any water to pre-pare them and they do not promote thirst either. (The heater packets require a little water to produce the chemical reaction that produces heat but they are worth having.)

VashonBePrepared has arranged with a supplier to offer a discount and free shipping on cases of MREs (or anything else in their catalogue) to people who place orders on the night of the Sock Hop (or up to a week after using a special discount code). In addition, VBP will be given a 15% cut of the sales in the form of goods (10%) and money (5%) that we will use to add to our cache of supplies on the Island. Years from now, when it comes time to get new MREs, you can donate the old ones to the Food Bank--a tax-deductible contribution!

 


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Quake, Rattle & Roll Sock Hop Friday, May 31

By May Gerstle
 

05/12/2008

All islanders are invited to a Quake, Rattle & Roll Sock Hop on Friday, May 31 from 7 - 11 PM at the K2 Commons. Donation is $10. You can purchase tickets at the Vashon Book Shop and at Books By The Way. The fundraiser, sponsored by the Vashon Rotary and VashonBePrepared will help the Voice of Vashon get a third radio tower so that all islanders can tune to 1650 AM during an emergency to get information and assistance. There will be food, music from the 50s and 60s, games, prizes and entertainment for the whole family. See you there!

 


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April is Disaster Preparedness Month; Statewide earthquake drill April 22

 

04/04/2008

Camp Murray, Wash. - April is Disaster Preparedness month in Washington State, highlighted by a statewide earthquake drill on April 22. The statewide drill will be initiated through an Emergency Alert System message on broadcast media between 9:45 a.m. and 10 a.m. on April 22. Disaster preparedness month encourages government agencies, businesses, schools and citizens to review response plans and procedures that could significantly reduce the loss of life and property damage in an emergency. ýI encourage all citizens to increase their knowledge and awareness of proper safety measures to follow before, during and after a natural or man-made disasterý through the disaster preparedness programs scheduled in April, said Gov. Chris Gregoire. Washington remains "vulnerable to natural and man-made disasters in the future," Gov. Gregoire said. State residents especially "should prepare themselves to be self-sufficient for at least three days following a natural or man-made disaster."

The Washington Emergency Management Division (END) will make available to local jurisdictions drop, cover and hold bookmarks as well as litter bags with earthquake, tsunami and volcano information. Flyers on the drop, cover and hold exercise will be posted in multiple languages on the divisionýs web site, www.emd.wa.gov Disaster Preparedness Month activities also will include the Partners in Emergency Preparedness Conference April 1-2 at the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center. For more information about Disaster Preparedness Month, please contact Rosanne Garrand, EMD public education program coordinator, (253) 512-7419.

 


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Vashon CERT wants you!

 

01/24/2008

The next CERT training will be from March 14-May 9. For more information or to register, e-mail certvashon@yahoo.com.

Vashon Island Fire and Rescue (VIFR) sponsors the opportunity for you to become a member of Vashon CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) by offering the CERT training course.

The CERT course is not only about preparing yourself and your family for disaster response; itýs about how you can make a meaningful contribution to support the limited number of first responders that are available to deliver life-saving support to our community in a disaster.

The 40-hour course teaches basic response skills such as Personal Preparedness, Disaster First Aid and Triage, Disaster Psychology, Light Search and Rescue, Fire Suppression and the organizational and leadership skills necessary to render assistance confidently in a disaster.

Moreover, you can apply CERT training to everyday, non-disaster situations such as kitchen fires, car accidents, and backcountry injuries. Many CERT graduates have used this training in such situations; some more than once.

The CERT program has been adopted by hundreds of communities nationwide using the model created by the Los Angeles City Fire Department. CERT training promotes a partnering effort between primary responders - Vashon Island Fire Rescue (VIFR) - and the people that they serve. The objective of the course is to train community members in basic response skills so that they may be integrated into the emergency response capability for their area, acting as ýinterimý responders until the professionals arrive.

Vashon CERT members can maintain and refine their skills by participating in monthly training exercises and activities. In addition, quarterly meetings give members the opportunity to gain new skills and information, share experiences and participate in drills that reinforce the course training and increase their confidence and calm in emergencies. Additionally, members can volunteer to work in other areas that improve the emergency preparedness for our island community.

There are no physical requirements or background skills required for you to enroll in the CERT class. You just need a desire to learn essential skills and become part of a team that is trained to respond in an emergency.

If you would like to attend this class or would like more information, please send an email to certvashon@yahoo.com.

 


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Disaster Preparedness on Vashon - Volunteers make it possible

By Joe Ulatoski
 

09/19/2007

A disaster strikes. Are there fatalities, casualties, houses destroyed or damaged, roads blocked? Are utilities out? How will we know and who responds to those in need? Everyone on Vashon will have a chance to find out from 8:00 a.m. until noon on October 13th when Vashonýs Disaster Response Plan will be tested. The reason? The Pacific Northwest faces potentially catastrophic disasters and the safety and well-being of Vashonýs residents could be endangered.

King County recognized Vashonýs major vulnerabilityýits probable isolation following a disasterýand authorized formation of the Vashon Island Emergency Management Area (VIEMA) with the mission of developing a plan and organization to implement it if needed. The plan and organization are in place and it is time for our second ýdress rehearsal.ý Plans may look good on paper, but the proof is in their execution. The basis of Vashonýs plan has to be advance preparation by island residents. All households are encouraged to store food, water and other essentials to enable themselves, if uninjured, to survive for up to 10 days. If every household does this, more than half of the anticipated difficulties could go away.

The basic organizational building blocks are the Neighborhood Emergency Response Organizations (NEROs). A NERO is an informal gathering of neighborhood volunteers who join together to take care of each other and assist in local damage assessment. NEROs conduct pre-disaster surveys to identify potential problem areas and locally available resources that could help lessen the impact of a disaster. Each NERO has designated coordinators and each member is charged with checking on two other neighbors until every household in a neighborhood has been checked. Vashon currently has over 90 NEROs that include approximately 20% of the Islandýs residents. To be effective, the Island needs many more NEROs.

After a disaster, NERO coordinators and individuals from non-NERO neighborhoods report the status and needs of their neighborhoods to the disaster response Divisions established by Vashon Island Fire & Rescue (VIFR) at each fire station. These Divisions, when activated, will be staffed by VIFR leaders and volunteer firefighters supported by Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) and Community Contact Team (CCT) volunteers.

The Divisions report their local situations to the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) located in the Main Fire Station. Currently, approximately 50 volunteers comprise the VashonBePrepared EOC team and are developing Vashonýs disaster response plan and capabilities in coordination with VIFR and VIEMA. When a disaster strikes, the EOC team volunteers become the EOC staff in disciplines such as law enforcement, logistics, transportation, public information, volunteer coordination, utilities, shelter and feeding, communications, medical and legal assistance, etc. They assist the VIFR Chief who, both VIEMA and the Fire Commissioners have agreed, will be in charge of all disaster response activities from the time a disaster occurs until relieved by the County. Using its EMTs and 30-40 on-island trained medical volunteers, VIFR also activates and staffs Vashonýs main disaster medical facility, an ad hoc trauma center in the Penny Farcy Training Center.

Other volunteer organizations with major response roles in the plan include CERT, ARES, the Vashon Emergency Preparedness Committee (VEPC) and the Voice of Vashon (VOV).

CERT currently has 140 trained volunteers. Some of these back up VIFR Division leaders and CERT field teams assist in assessing the magnitude of a disaster, in minor firefighting, search and rescue, treatment and evacuation of casualties, verify ambiguous reports of injuries or damage before scarce VIFR resources are committed and provide communications to isolated neighborhoods.

Approximately 20 ARES volunteers provide backup communications at each VIFR Division, staff the communications room in the EOC, provide back up communications with King County and with other ham radio operators in Vashonýs neighborhoods.

The 50 volunteers of the Vashon Emergency Preparedness Committee (VEPC), many with Red Cross training, have the mission of providing food and shelter to individuals and families displaced by a disaster or who are stranded on the island. Because of the anticipated isolation of Vashon for an indeterminate time, planning must be more comprehensive than for similar organizations on the mainland.

Since the major mainland news sources must cover the region following a disaster, they will not have time to provide island-specific news. Therefore, the Voice Of Vashon (VOV) with its 25 volunteers will play a critical role by providing island-specific coverage to Vashonýs residents including information about the disaster, local installations and resources affected and actions to take or avoid under certain circumstances, etc. This is important because other Island communications networks will be focused on transmitting emergency operational information to and from responders.

A number of other organizations and individuals with resources or skills that could be useful following a disaster have also volunteered to be included in the plan on a standby basis. These include medical and veterinary facilities and skills, family counseling, communications, sheltering and feeding capabilities, hardware stores, lumberyards, contractors with heavy construction equipment, boat and aircraft owners, electrical supply houses and electricians, churches and schools, banks, grocery stores, gas and fuel suppliers, structural engineers, etc.

Are we making progress? Yes! However, broader participation is necessary if Vashonýs residents are going to be safer when a disaster strikes. If you are interested in enhancing the survivability and well-being of your family, neighborhood and community call Lynn Buscaglia at 567-5011.

 


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October 13 Island-Wide Drill

 

08/16/2007

Mark your calendar for Saturday, October 13. Vashon will test disaster response skills and its preparation for the 'big one.' The second annual Island-wide drill will go from 8:00 AM-12:00 PM. It is jointly sponsored by VashonBePrepared and Vashon Fire and Rescue. Think about what it would be like on Vashon if we were cut off by a major earthquake.

It could be five or even ten days before food and help arrive. More than two hundred volunteers and paid first responders will participate in the drill---everyone from our firefighters to Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) and Neighborhood Emergency Response Organizations (NERO), including our Emergency Operations Center Team, the Medical Reserve Corp, Vashon Maury Island Radio Club, Voice of Vashon (VoV) and many others.

If you would like to be involved, call Lynn Buscaglia at 567-5011.

Are we ready?

 


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Joe Ulatoski Named Strawberry Festival Grand Marshal

 

06/17/2007


Joe Ulatoski, the father of Vashon Preparedness, has been selected as the Grand Marshal of the 2007 Strawberry Festival. The Grand Marshal is described as someone who has demonstrated a commitment to the island's civic and cultural life.

Joyce Olson will be coordinating with Joe and his wife Edie various appearances between now and the Festival. To invite him to attend an event, email Olson at jolson@wlh-cpa.com.

 


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Black Bear apparently leaves Vashon / Maury Islands

 

05/23/2007

We have verified reports of a black bear in the vicinity of the 156th and the Vashon Hwy, the Nursing Home, the Episcopal Church, and Soper Road. Around 5PM on May 23 the bear was seen near the High School headed East down the hill toward Ellis Creek and Ellisport.

The bear, alternately called the Maury Island Swimmer and Columbus, was finally trapped in Federal Way and trucked up into the Cascades.

On the morning of May 24 the bear was seen rooting around in a garden near Monument Road.

On May 25th, the bear was seen jumping out of the woods at Point Robinson, running into the water and swimming toward Des Moines.

For future reference, if you see a bear call Wa. Dept. of Fish & Wildlife at 1-800-477-6224 or 425-775-1311

  • Never intentionally feed bears.
  • Keep garbage can lids tightly secured and store the cans in a garage or another secure area until collection day.
  • Remove pet food from out door areas.
  • Clean barbecue grill after each use.
  • Take down bird feeders in spring and summer.
If you see a black bear, don't approach it. Stand tall, wave arms and shout. Bears have poor eyesight so try to get upwind of it.

To read the Washington State Fish and Wildlife's page on bears and cougars, Click Here.

 


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VashonBePrepared Grows Up

 

04/11/2007


L to R Front Row Officers: Rick Wallace, Tag Gornall, John Cornelison, & Reed Fitzpatrick;
Back Row: Tom Nicolino, Peter Murray, Cathy Rogers, Jill Janow,
Joe Ulatowski & Leslie Frye. Mary Swanson photography services.
The Vashon Disaster Preparedness Coalition has outgrown its old organization and, in order to embrace more volunteers and plan for the years ahead, it has evolved into VashonBePrepared with a newly-elected board of directors. This organization will be dynamic and flexible, substantive and sustainable, in order to meet the challenges of preparing Vashon for a major disaster of any sort.

We learned from last October's Island-wide drill and winter's storms that we need to coordinate better and improve communications--both within the organization and, especially, with the Vashon community. We now have provided for leadership succession and the ability to pursue additional funding. Soon we will register as an IRS-recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit. We have clarified relationships with our partner organizations in the community and expect that coordination will be enhanced.

Our organizational partners to date include the Vashon Island Fire & Rescue (VIFR) the Neighborhood Emergency Response Organization (NERO), the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), the Vashon-Maury Island Community Council, the Vashon Island School District, Water District 19, the Vashon Maury Island Radio Club, and the Vashon Emergency Preparedness Committee (VEPC, the local Red Cross). Other partners include Puget Sound Energy, the Rotary, the King County Sheriff, King County Roads and many more.

More than eighty neighborhoods are preparing to look after themselves through the NERO system. CERT has trained 130 people and eighteen more are completing training now. And behind the scenes a complete Emergency Operations Center has been taking shape and working out the many communications, planning and logistical kinks inherent in tackling catastrophic circumstances.

"If THE BIG ONE were to hit tomorrow some in our community are prepared to meet the many challenges, yet more help and preparation is needed," said co-president John Cornelison. The medical community, for example, has come together to start planning and stockpiling for a disaster. Limited stocks of emergency food have been acquired by the local Red Cross. The Voice of Vashon is on the verge of a breakthrough in their ability to have a permanent emergency radio broadcasting system for the island.

Everyone who has been involved is excited about the challenges and opportunities to make Vashon a model of preparedness. Co-Presidents, John Cornelison and Tag Gornall, Vice President (past president) Rick Wallace, Secretary Reed Fitzpatrick and Treasurer Mike Callan look forward to serving Vashon, not only in the event of a disaster but also with community building, through our growing volunteer network.

"With secured grants and a budget allocation from VIFR we have the resources to refine and expand our goal of motivating and educating households, businesses and neighborhoods to plan and prepare themselves for the times when we could be cut off from the mainland," said co-president Tag Gornall.

 

You might consider disaster planning to be depressing, Doomsday thinking, but it's actually stimulating, creative and fun. Come and meet your neighbors and learn about the circumstances that might lie ahead of us by joining the all volunteer effort. Call Mary Swanson at 463-3545 and, for more information, look at www.VashonBePrepared.org.

 


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CERT Training Begins March 16

 

03/01/2007

The next session of CERT Training will be starting on March 16th. Classes will be held every Friday until May 4. There will be an all-day training session on Sunday, April 29.

Contact: Michael or Catherine Cochrane 463-4558 certvashon@yahoo.com

 


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Disaster Preparedness Training

 

01/11/2007

CCT TRAINING WORKSHOP "CREATIVE RESPONSES to DISASTER"

Saturday, February 17, 2007 - 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

Courthouse Square on Vashon Highway

Especially recommended for First Responders (police, fire, and other emergency workers); Community Health Care Professionals; Church Clergy and Congregations; other Disaster Volunteers; and all members of the Vashon Island community

$100 fee includes workshop materials, training manual and complimentary lunch

Email cctworkshop@vashoncollege.org or call Joe Meeker at 463-9773

(Seating limited to 50 --- this training workshop will be videotaped!)

Goals & Objectives: To introduce participants to an integral model of understanding and responding to a major disaster (e.g., earthquake on Vashon Island). Participants will learn the latest theoretical and practical responses in a systemic approach and be introduced to new integral management techniques designed to minimize and resolve episodes of violence and panic among victims of disaster to promote calm and efficacious behavior, helping victims to find food, shelter, missing loved ones, and acting appropriately to address emotional and/or psychological problems and to maintain civic order under stressful conditions.

You will learn to:

  • Understand and describe an integral model of a disaster and response
  • Understand and describe the characteristics of individual and group regression and the relationship to disaster meaning making.
  • Understand and describe the relationship of disaster to identity needs
  • Be able to describe and implement a disaster leadership response that supports community stabilization and healing
  • Develop three key characteristics of your personal story of what disaster means to you and your community
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Richard McGuigan, Ph.D.
Director of the Institute of Conflict Analysis and Management in Victoria, B.C.

Richard is a practitioner, educator and researcher. Along with his partner Sylvia McMechan at Diamond Management Consulting Inc., he leads a team that provides facilitation, mediation, intervention services and conflict/ leadership education to clients in the private, public and voluntary sectors.

In his dual roles as practitioner and scholar, Richard has conducted research, taught and has been a practitioner in the leadership and conflict resolution fields for the past twenty-five years. Richard has convened and facilitated a plethora of public and private consensus building processes and events, and designed and taught courses related to his field of interest since 1982. He has contributed to numerous public policy initiatives at federal, provincial and municipal levels and has led complex problem solving processes involving multi-stakeholder input in the natural resource sector, especially those involving intense resource access conflicts with Canadaýs indigenous people.

Richard received his Masterýs Degree in Conflict Resolution from Antioch University and completed a Ph.D. at the Union Institute and University where he specialized in developmental psychology, conflict and leadership. Richard has certificates in mediation/negotiation, adult education/training and curriculum development and trauma.

He is a member of the British Columbia Mediator Roster Society and one of the first contract mediators for the Canadian Human Rights Commission. He is the founder, current Academic Director and faculty member of the Diamond Institute for Integral Learning and is associate faculty member at the University of Victoria.

Richard will be assisted in the workshop exercises by Vashon Island professionals who are experienced in disaster response: Carol McLean, trained nurse and hospital administrator; Carol Ellis, professional psychologist and counselor with the Vashon Youth and Family Services; Father Tryphon, All-Merciful Savior Orthodox Monastery; and, Tag Gornall, DVM, Island Animals and Disaster.

General Workshop Description: At one point or another everyone experiences stress in life. Some events are so stressful they may overwhelm our ability to cope, to even function at all.
When faced with a major natural disaster the cognitive frameworks that individuals and groups have developed for creating our every day lives may collapse and be destroyed along with the destruction of the physical world around us.
Severe natural disasters have psychological consequences, participants can be traumatized, they belief that the world is a safe place may be shattered and they may feel powerless and insecure, afraid of what might happen if they let their guard down. Life may seem beyond their control and even the simplest of decisions can become impossible. The sense of group identity may be temporarily lost. How we plan for and respond as a community to a disaster informs the stories that emerge from these dramatic events. How the community prepares influences the nature of the tale, be it divine intervention or punishment, heroic adventure, a tragedy and comedy or just bad or good luck.

What sort of story would you like to emerge in the aftermath of a calamity in our community?
Guided by cutting edge theory and grounded in practice come and explore together as a community an integral model of understanding and responding to disasters. Come and learn about how to lead in the midst of chaos; how to support community stabilization and healing and how to establish creativity in the midst of chaos.

Sponsors: This workshop is offered by the Community Contact Team (CCT) of Vashonýs Disaster Preparedness Coalition in cooperation with Vashon College, which intends to produce a copyrighted high-quality digital video recording of the entire workshop.

To view this page as a flyer, click here.
To print and fill out an application form, click here.

 


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Medical Open House/ Volunteers Reception

 

01/11/2007

There will be a Medical Open House/ Volunteers Reception on February 7, from 7:00-8:30 PM. The medical community is invited to learn how to volunteer during a medical emergency and to tour the Trauma Center. Contact Carol Ireland McLean at 463-1400.

 


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Saturday December 23 Update

 

12/23/2006

Our windstorm emergency here on the islands is largely over. As of midday Saturday only isolated individual outages remained as Puget Sound Energy crews worked all night to restore power to the last two remaining areas with multiple customers offline. Those areas were the SE tip of Maury Island and the area near Paradise Cove. Difficult terrain in both of those areas made the work slow-going, but PSE is expecting to have everyone back to normal for the holiday weekend.

If you still don't have power, don't assume that Puget Sound Energy knows about you. Even if you've already called in your status, call them again. The number to call to report your outage is 1-888-225-5773 or if you cannot get through on the toll free line call 425-452-1234.

At the peak of this crisis, more than 150 people were on-island and working in crews to restore power to our communityýand our thanks go to Puget Sound Energy for the massive effort and all that time spent away from family during the runup to the holiday weekend.

Just so you know, literally hundreds of spans comprising many miles worth of wire went down on Vashon and Maury Islands during the storm. In addition to getting the wire back up, crews had to fix or replace damaged power poles or insulators along the way.

A lot of people performed extraordinary public services during this crisis and now would be a good time to send a shout out to some of these folks. Of course, Puget Sound Energy has put in extraordinary time and effort toward restoring power on the island and we thank them for all the work, especially as it came right at the height of the holiday season.

Thanks go to all the volunteers from the Vashon Disaster Preparedness Coalition and Vashon Island Fire & Rescue for the work they did after the windstorm. And thanks again to VIFR for its ongoing financial and staff support of the disaster preparedness movement on Vashon. Steve Allen gets a big pat on the back for his quick action to get emergency information up on his website at vashonnews.com. Of course, US Bank is where VoV's little micro-transmitter is set up. They've been most gracious and patient with us as we've walked in several times a day to replace an old CD with an updated one.

Thank you VEPC for arranging shelter for folks in need. Thanks to the ham radio operators here on Vashon who deployed after the windstorm.

Thanks to the businesses who were up and running the day after on generator power so that island residents could stock up on supplies: Thriftway, Island Lumber, the Pharmacy, True Value and all the rest.

Thanks to the CERT and NERO members who checked their neighborhoods even without a formal activation.

Thanks to the Vashon Athletic Club for offering hot showers to everyoneýto the Back Bay Inn for feeding emergency workersýto Morningside Farms for offering shelter to emergency workersýand of course, Asplundh trucks have been all over the island hard at work on downed trees.

Beyond all of these thanks, a big debt of gratitude goes to everyone in the community for checking on their neighbors, offering food, shelter, and showers to anyone in need. There are so many stories of neighbors showing up the day after the storm with chainsaws already in hand to help people get out of their driveways. This has really been an amazing story of community cooperation.

Of course, many lessons about preparedness were learned and we'll all likely benefit from what we found out about ourselves after the big blow hit. Sometime after the holidays, look for Voice of Vashon to encourage a community forum during which residents can share their thoughts on both what went wrong and what went right.

 


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Friday First Update

 

12/22/2006

As of 4pm Friday, Puget Sound Energy is estimating that by tonight, only very isolated cases of power outages will remain on Vashon and Maury Islands. This makes it all the more important that you report your situation if you are still without power, especially if you are surrounded by lighted areas. Don't assume that Puget Sound Energy knows about you. Even if you've already called in your status, call them again. The number to call to report your outage is 1-888-225-5773 or if you cannot get through on the toll free line call 425-452-1234.

Tonight PSE will be driving the island looking for dark areas. There are more than 100 PSE workers on-island at this time. In fact, Puget Sound Energy set up a local command center on Vashon due to the severity of the outages here on the island.

The current outside estimate for the restoration of all circuits on the island is by 2pm Saturday, but PSE says they're working hard to beat that. Even still, there will likely be undiscovered outages, especially in summer cabins or homes where the residents have been gone and haven't reported their outage to the electric utility.

Of course, as power comes on, downed power lines that were previously deactivated are coming back on line. Stay at least 20 feet away from all downed power lines. If you see a live wire on the ground, report it immediately to PSE at 1-888-225-5773. Or call 911.

If your power is still out be sure that all major electrical appliances are turned off. Be sure that your oven and burners are off. You may even want to unplug computers and other appliances before the power is restored. Septic systems with a pump may sound an alarm and take several minutes to pump down to normal levels. When groups of house are turned back on, septic pumps and hot water heaters as well as refrigerators turn on immediately and start to use electricity. When your power is restored please be conservative with your electrical use for the first day. If you need food or shelter, call this number 206-314-0048. Punch in your phone number when prompted and you will get a call back shortly.

If you've been without hot water throughout the aftermath of the windstorm, I'll bet you're thinking a hot shower would be just the thing right about now. The Vashon Athletic Club along the main highway is offering the use of their showers to any residents in need.

If you're missing your cable television and Internet access from Comcast, crews continue to work on restoring these services. Comcast can only go into areas that PSE has already cleared of their power lines.

If you are a visiting utility worker and need a place to stay please call Morningside farm at 206-962-1936. Lodging will be provided free of charge. And we send you our thanks for your long hours put in to bring all of Vashon Maury Island back on line.

Finally, continue to be a good neighbor. If you're right on the edge of an active power grid and have neighbors still without power, ask them what they need. It's amazing how many islanders have pooled their extension cords to provide electricity for their neighbors who are still in the dark.

 


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Friday Update

 

12/22/2006

As of 4pm Friday, Puget Sound Energy is estimating that by tonight, only very isolated cases of power outages will remain on Vashon and Maury Islands. This makes it all the more important that you report your situation if you are still without power, especially if you are surrounded by lighted areas. Don't assume that Puget Sound Energy knows about you. Even if you've already called in your status, call them again. The number to call to report your outage is 1-888-225-5773 or if you cannot get through on the toll free line call 425-452-1234.

Tonight PSE will be driving the island looking for dark areas. There are more than 100 PSE workers on-island at this time. In fact, Puget Sound Energy set up a local command center on Vashon due to the severity of the outages here on the island.

The current outside estimate for the restoration of all circuits on the island is by 2pm Saturday, but PSE says they're working hard to beat that. Even still, there will likely be undiscovered outages, especially in summer cabins or homes where the residents have been gone and haven't reported their outage to the electric utility.

Of course, as power comes on, downed power lines that were previously deactivated are coming back on line. Stay at least 20 feet away from all downed power lines. If you see a live wire on the ground, report it immediately to PSE at 1-888-225-5773. Or call 911.

If your power is still out be sure that all major electrical appliances are turned off. Be sure that your oven and burners are off. You may even want to unplug computers and other appliances before the power is restored. Septic systems with a pump may sound an alarm and take several minutes to pump down to normal levels. When groups of house are turned back on, septic pumps and hot water heaters as well as refrigerators turn on immediately and start to use electricity. When your power is restored please be conservative with your electrical use for the first day. If you need food or shelter, call this number 206-314-0048. Punch in your phone number when prompted and you will get a call back shortly.

If you've been without hot water throughout the aftermath of the windstorm, I'll bet you're thinking a hot shower would be just the thing right about now. The Vashon Athletic Club along the main highway is offering the use of their showers to any residents in need.

If you're missing your cable television and Internet access from Comcast, crews continue to work on restoring these services. Comcast can only go into areas that PSE has already cleared of their power lines.

If you are a visiting utility worker and need a place to stay please call Morningside farm at 206-962-1936. Lodging will be provided free of charge. And we send you our thanks for your long hours put in to bring all of Vashon Maury Island back on line.

Finally, continue to be a good neighbor. If you're right on the edge of an active power grid and have neighbors still without power, ask them what they need. It's amazing how many islanders have pooled their extension cords to provide electricity for their neighbors who are still in the dark.

 


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Free structural damage inspections

 

12/20/2006

The King County Department of Development and Environmental Services (DDES) will offer free wind damage structural inspections to citizens in the unincorporated area. Inspections will be conducted within one business day of the request. In addition to evaluating the integrity of the damaged structure, DDES inspectors will assess whether a permit is required to proceed with repairs. For minor repairs, permits can be issued on site. In the event of major damage, the permit review will be expedited.

Property Damage

Over the past four days, the King County Disaster Hotline has logged 284 calls from residents reporting damage to their homes or businesses. Damage estimates to date total $6.6 million in structural damage and $1.3 million in personal property damage. King County residents can call the Damage Hotline at 800-523-5044 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, until Friday, December 22nd to report windstorm damage to their home or business office. This is not the phone number to report a power outage. Residents are urged to document damage with photographs, as reported information will be used to assist the State of Washington in its request for federal disaster assistance.

Food waste composting

Some trash haulers turn yard waste collections into compost. Residents with garbage collection services should check with their hauler about putting spoiled food into the yard waste recycling bin instead of the garbage. Here's a list of garbage haulers by region.

If residents don't have yard waste collection services, they should dispose of the food in their regular garbage.

 


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Tuesday Update

 

12/19/2006

As of midday Tuesday, about 15% of Vashon and Maury Island customers are still without power. Extra crews from Puget Sound Energy have come onto the island and full restoration of power to all customers is expected by Friday or Saturday of this week.

Of course, as power comes on, downed power lines that were previously deactivated are coming back on line. Stay at least 20 feet away from all downed power lines. If you see a live wire on the ground, report it immediately to PSE at 1-888-225-5773 or 425-452-1234 Or call 911. PSE Update and Safety Tips For Online Information

As of now, all roads on Vashon and Maury Islands are open except Dockton Road along Tramp Harbor. Some roads are barely passable at this time, but all roads are open. Spot closures will occur on some roads as PSE crews work to restore power in those areas. There will be no formal detours posted, so please be patient with the inconvenience.

If you need food or shelter, call this number 206-314-0048. Punch in your phone number when prompted and you will get a call back promptly.

If you have an emergency and canýt get help, put a red or yellow flag or marker on your mailbox.

And please do not use a charcoal or gas grill as a heat source or to cook indoors. Either type grill can build up a poisonous carbon monoxide gas. Very dangerous.

Water has been restored to all island customers, although Burton Water customers are dealing with a shortage and being asked to conserve their water consumption at this time.

If youýve been without hot water throughout the aftermath of the windstorm, perhaps youýd be interested in a hot shower. The Vashon Athletic Club along the main highway is offering the use of their showers to any residents in need.

The Food Bank will be open Wednesday from 11am-1pm and from 5-7pm. The Food Bank says theyýre well-stocked for now, but they expect to launch their next food drive this weekend.

If youýre missing your cable television and internet access from Comcast, there is no current estimate as to when services can be expected to be restored.

Finally, be a neighbor to your neighbors. Every pocket of power ends somewhere. Do you know for sure that your neighbors have power? Check on them. Be sure. Call your friends on other parts of the island and check on them as well. Offers of food and hot showers will always be appreciated by anyone who is still without power here on day 5.

 


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Cleaning up from the Storm

 

12/19/2006

The King County Extension service of Washington State University has some valuable information about repairing damaged trees on their website. Click here to read the information.

The site includes information about both safety and proper treatment for damaged trees.

 


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Emergency Tips from Puget Sound Energy

 

12/18/2006

Assemble an emergency kit. It should include a flashlight, extra batteries, a first-aid kit, a fire extinguisher, bottled water, nonperishable food, and a battery-powered radio or TV. (PSE issues regular outage-restoration reports on our Call Center telephone system and Web site, as well as to the local TV, radio, and newspapers.)

Have an adequate blanket supply on hand for extended outages. If necessary, blankets or cardboard can be hung over windows and doorways to minimize heat loss from a designated "warm" room.

Avoid opening and closing refrigerators and freezers more often than necessary. Food in a closed refrigerator will stay cold for about 12 hours.

Turn off lights and unplug all appliances and sensitive electronic equipment, such as computers, to prevent an overload on your circuits when electric service is restored. Leave just one light on to let you know when service returns.

Do not use charcoal or a gas grill to cook indoors. Both can cause a buildup of poisonous carbon monoxide gas.

If you use a portable home generator, read the manufacturer's instructions ý well before a storm hits ý for the safe operation of the generator. Connect the generator through a transfer device, not to your home or building's main wiring system, to ensure there is no electricity feedback into the power distribution system where crews are working on the lines. Do not operate generators indoors or in enclosed spaces to avoid the build up of carbon monoxide.

If you encounter a downed power line, stay well away from the line or anything it may be touching. Immediately report the location of fallen wires to Puget Sound Energy by calling 1-888-225-5773, or call 911.

 


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Power Outage Update

 

12/18/2006

Power was restored to the Vashon-Maury Substation around 3am Saturday Morning. Power has been restored to the downtown business area. Power is now being restored to the outlying areas of Vashon-Maury Island. However it still may take several days to restore all affected areas of the island, such as Tahlequah and Wax Orchards. The north end of Vashon as well as Maury Island were also hard hit and progress has been slow.

Most roads have been cleared for safe travel, still be aware of down trees and power lines that may now be energized. Do not approach fallen power lines. Please immediately call Puget Sound Energy and report them. Puget Sound Energy phone Number to report fallen lines or power outages 1-888-225-5773 OR 425-452-1234. Some Internet Phone users (vonage) need to use the toll numbers.

To Report a blocked road due to fallen tree or land slide call King County Public Roads Division Emergency number 206-296-8100 If the road is also blocked by a fallen power line please do not approach or try to remove the power line. Call Puget Sound Energy at 1-888-225-5773 OR 425-452-1234

 


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Stay away from Powerlines

 

12/18/2006

Powerlines remain down around the island. Please stay clear of all powerlines since it is difficult to tell when a powerline comes alive.

Puget Sound Energy has created an alert page that has information about Vashon outages, click here to go to their website.

 


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Partial Activation of Emergency Operations Center

 

12/18/2006

Emergency was declared at 2PM on December 18. The Emergency Operations was opened and will be partially staffed. To report an emergency, call 911. If you have a non-life-threatening emergency during regular business hours, call the Fire Department at 463-2405.

It was decided that the website would not be put into emergency mode. Instead, notices will be placed as new announcements so that they appear at the top of the home page.

 


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Emergency Shelters Available

 

12/18/2006

There is an open emergency shelter at the Presbyterian Church. They will be serving a meal at 7PM on December 18. To stay in the shelter you must check in by 9PM. The shelter has privacy tents and breakfast.

There is also a shelter available on an as-needed basis across from the main Firestation in Vashon run by the Red Cross.

Operation of the shelters will be day-to-day.

 


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Avoid running generators and barbeques indoors!

 

12/18/2006

Do not run generators or use barbeques/hibachis inside your house. Several people around Puget Sound have died already from Carbon Monoxide poisoning from using this kind of outside equipment indoors.

 


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Emergency Flagging

 

12/18/2006

If you have an emergency and can't get help, put a red or yellow flag on your mailbox.

 


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Dockton Road to close for emergency seawall repairs

By King County Road Services
 

12/11/2006

The King County Road Services Division is advising residents that a section of Dockton Road Southwest between Chautauqua Beach Road Southwest and Portage Way Southwest on Vashon Island will be closed at approximately 3 p.m. today (Monday, Dec. 11) for emergency repairs.

An inspection of the Dockton Seawall and roadway late last week revealed significant damage has occurred to the seawall protecting the road. During that inspection, engineers noted a timber piling in one location was washed away during recent severe storms causing cracks in the roadway above. Several voids in the road shoulder were also discovered. While the division has been developing a program to repair several deteriorating sections of seawall, this latest inspection has prompted safety concerns and a call for an emergency closure so work can begin right away.

Engineers currently estimate it will take eight weeks to make all necessary repairs to the seawall. Work will involve re-covering many deteriorated timber facings and replacing material behind protective rockery. Given the nature of repairs, this work can only be done during periods of low tide. That means crews will be mobilized to perform work day or night - whenever tides are at their lowest. Crews anticipate bad weather will also cause delays. Despite these challenges, the Roads Division says it will do everything possible to minimize disruptions and complete the necessary repairs as quickly as possible.

During the construction period, motorists should use Quartermaster Drive and Vashon Highway Southwest as a detour.

 


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King County Flooding Alerts

 

11/13/2006

The King County Emergency Coordination Center (ECC) is currently at a level 1 activation to continue monitoring the recent flooding and flood damage around King County.

King County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is currently collecting preliminary damage assessments for primary residences and businesses who have experienced flood losses, weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. until further notice. King County residents can report flood losses by calling 1-800-523-5044.

Individuals who would like to donate goods to flood victims can call 211 (Crisis Hotline) as the point of contact for processing requests to donate these goods. To contact 211, dial 211 or 206-461-3200 in King County.

Many roads still remain closed around the county due to high waters. The most current road closure information can be found on the web at http://www.metrokc.gov/kcdot/roads/roadalert/.

 


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New Disaster Drill Slideshows Available

 

11/05/2006

Several Island photographers spent time during our October 21 Island-wide Disaster Drill taking pictures of various drill scenes.

Amber Cole, organizer of the photographers, provided the photos that she took along with galleries from Anne Gordon, Harvey Bergman and Nancy Scott-Weinker.

To view the galleries, click the name of the photographer below.

Amber Cole 1
Amber Cole 2
Anne Gordon
Harvey Bergman
Nancy Scott-Weinker

 

 


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Disaster Drill a Success

 

10/24/2006

The Community-Wide Disaster Drill carried out by VDPC, Vashon Island Fire & Rescue, Vashon CERT and many volunteers was a success, exercising many of the skills needed to respond to a real emergency. Many lessons were learned and the deficiencies uncovered will be addressed quickly.

To see some of the first pictures taken of the drill, taken by Amber Cole and Dan Schueler, click here

 


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A Community-Wide Disaster Drill on Saturday, October 21 Will Test Vashon's Preparedness

By Bill Franz
 

09/28/2006

THIS IS A DRILL and you can be a part of it!

Islanders will have a chance to answer the question "Just how ready are we?" during a pair of disaster drills coming up on the 20th and 21st of October.

On Friday, the 20th, Vashon High public schools Chautauqua, McMurray, and Vashon Island High will conduct disaster drills at 9 AM.
On Saturday, the 21st, the first-ever, island-wide drill will take place beginning at 7 AM, ending at noon. A celebration will follow at the Village Green.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Fire and emergency vehicles will be on the roads Saturday morning during the drill but they will not use sirens and lights unless they have to respond to a real emergency. If you hear sirens or see lights pull over!
The community-wide disaster drill is being co-sponsored by Vashon Fire and Rescue (VIFR) and the "neighbors helping neighbors" volunteers of the Vashon Disaster Preparedness Coalition (VDPC).

The Goals of the drill are to:
  1. Test and stretch our disaster responders' capabilities to rapidly and accurately assess human casualties and damages to public and private structures, to utilities and other infrastructure, following a disaster.
  2. Test how well the responders communicate, integrate and coordinate their activities. The responders are the Citizen Emergency Response Team (CERT), the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), the Neighborhood Emergency Response Organization (NERO), the local Red Cross group, known as the Vashon Emergency Preparedness Committee (VEPC), the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES), our public utilities, the King County Sheriff's Office, and other agencies.
  3. Create a high-visibility event to motivate and gain support of residents, businesses and institutions to improve preparedness for a disaster.
    "It's important to understand that no drill is ever perfect," said interim Fire Chief Keith Yamane. "That's the point of doing a drill since it gives us a chance to test ideas, measure the effectiveness of emergency response plans, and seek ways to fill the holes we discover.
    We're hoping to make this community drill an annual event and we plan to learn more and make improvements every time we conduct a drill."

SCHOOL DISASTER DRILL, FRIDAY OCTOBER 20, 2006
The Vashon Public Schools have a complete disaster plan and they drill on it regularly. The community-wide drill gives them the opportunity to integrate their practice with other emergency response organizations. The drill will commence at 9AM at all three schools when they activate their evacuation plans. These plans ensure that all students are safely evacuated from their classrooms and led to safe areas where they can be accounted for.

McMurray students and some teachers will simulate unloading barrels containing emergency supplies and student "Go Packs" of food.
Activation of a ham radio station will take place linking the school to the Emergency Operation Center (EOC) at the fire station on Bank Road.
According to VIFR spokesperson Mike Kirk, personnel from VIFR will be present to assist teachers at McMurray and Chautauqua. The school drill involves an enormous amount of effort by a large number of volunteers. Ten Vashon high-school Explorer scouts and the King County Sheriff's Office personnel on Vashon will also participate. After approximately one hour students will resume their regularly activities.

GENERAL COMMUNITY DISASTER DRILL, SATURDAY OCTOBER 21,2006
Scenario assumptions for the Vashon community-wide drill are:

  • A 7.2 magnitude earthquake on the Seattle Fault has occurred at 7 AM, with the epicenter on Bainbridge Island.
  • There are 70 major injuries, with 10 designated as critical or fatal, located at 10-12 mass casualty incident sites.
  • Both ferry docks are declared unsafe.
  • No help can be expected from Seattle medical facilities.
  • Some telephone and power lines will be down. Telephone service, both landline and cell, will be variable.
  • In general, communications will be compromised at a time of greatest need. Several ancillary methods of communications will be activated for the drill. Ham radio operators will establish posts at each of the five fire stations.
  • Medical personnel will practice their emergency protocols by setting up a triage center. Scenarios will involve transporting badly injured people to the triage staging area.
  • Community Contact teams of volunteers, recognizable by their brightly colored vests, will be stationed at fire stations and on the main streets of Vashon to dispel rumors and provide accurate information to citizens.
  • Messages, such as "Don't touch downed wires!" will be placed on billboards and signs around the island ý There will be a large message board located at the Hardware Store restaurant where people can leave messages about their location and safety for family members and friends.
  • The Voice of Vashon will simulate broadcasting on their cable TV channel 21 and Internet radio sites. They will post all official Emergency Operations Center bulletins on the Website: www.vashonbeprepared.org.
  • Volunteer personnel trained to operate the EOC will arrive at 7 AM and set up the central communication and control center. EOC communications will utilize satellite telephones, the ham radio network, and two-way, hand-held radios.

COMMUNITY CELEBRATION
At the conclusion of Saturday's drill there will be a celebration at the Village Green from 1 PM to 3:30 PM. A soup kitchen will be set up from 1 PM to 2:30 PM to serve the expected 250 participants. There will be soup, music, awards, free mugs, information, and prizes. The people of Vashon are invited and this will be an opportunity to meet and thank the host of volunteers for their efforts to make this disaster drill a success.

"ARE YOU READY?"
A consistent message in all communications from VDPC to the Vashon community is to get prepared for a major disaster such as an earthquake. It is far better and safer to know what to do and how to do it before a disaster strikes.
Here are some ways you can get ready:

INDIVIDUAL AND BUSINESS PREPARDNESS -- Prepare your home or business structurally and non-structurally to mitigate hazards. This could include strapping your propane or hot water tank to a wall, or anchoring your bookcases. Locate and label gas, water and electric shutoffs. Assemble a disaster supply kit including 10 days supply of food and water; first aid supplies and medications; tools, utensils, and items for your personal comfort. Develop a personal disaster plan including an escape route, a designated location where people are to meet if separated, and a person to contact who is far away from the disaster area so that someone in a better communications situation has word of you. Check the VashonBePrepared.org Website for more information.

NERO PROGRAM -- Neighborhood Emergency Response Organizations are at the core of response to a disaster. They are critical because neighbors are close to each other and will be the first available to help. The NERO program organizes several homes in a geographic area under a Nero coordinator. The coordinators are instructed in how to sum up conditions in their neighborhood and quickly get that information to the Emergency Operations Center.

CERT PROGRAM -- Even if a disaster initially overwhelms or delays the community's professional responders, Citizen Emergency Response Team members can assist others by using skills they have learned during training to assist others and sustain lives until help arrives.
For more information go to www.vashonbeprepared.org.

 


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Got concerns? Get CERTified to help

By Bill Franz
 

08/27/2006

Have you recently located on Vashon Island and are interested in meeting people with a common interest? Or, are you retired, but miss being in the mainstream of Island activity? Are you concerned with the many weather world natural disaster events that are taking place with ever-greater regularity. Do you want to contribute your time and expertise to making this Island a safer place to live? Well, here is an opportunity to take a step forward and with others make a difference in how we respond to a major disaster on our Island.

The all-volunteer, Vashon Disaster Preparedness Coalition (VDPC) was organized three years ago to answer this need and marshal our community resources. They are well organized and have identified and documented critical parts of the system in an emergency operational response.

These leaders now need a critical mass of volunteers to serve in the field during an earthquake or other disaster, as responders to Island residents who could be in critical need of help. The first responders, Fire and Police personnel, cannot cover all situations simultaneously over the entire Island.

Most likely help from Seattle will not be immediately available since they will be dealing with their own critical situations.

Washington State Ferries may not be of help during the immediate aftermath since ferry docks may not be operational, or the ferries will be utilized for other tasks dictated by their management. So it will be up to the residents of Vashon to help themselves in the interim before first responders can arrive.

These very important interim responders are trained volunteers called the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). There are now approximately 100, trained volunteer Vashon residents who have received 40 hours of classroom and field practice. They continue to refresh their initial training monthly and receive instruction on other skills such as radio communication because you will never know when a disaster will occur.... and they must be ready.

One hundred volunteer responders, however, is hardly enough to respond to over 10,000 Island residents who may or may not need help.

CERT volunteers will learn to reduce potential fire hazards in the home and business environment, practice basic fire suppression; perform basic techniques for opening airways, controlling bleeding, and treating shock; conduct light search and rescue, triage, select and set up treatment areas, and assist in evacuation of the injured.

My question to you the reader is "ARE YOU READY?"

Ready to make a commitment to volunteer to become a CERT? . Prepare yourself and your family to sustain yourselves for at least eight days following an earthquake?

My answer to that is YES I am a trained member of the CERT and am prepared to assist my family and others in the event of a disaster. I highly recommend that you join the CERT training program, which will begin September 15, 2006, Friday evening at 6 - 10PM for eight consecutive weeks. It will be held at the Penny Farcy training center on Bank Road across from the Fire Station. Classes are held every.

For more information or to register send an email to certvashon@yahoo.com or call 206.463.4558.

 


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CERT parades for Vashon Disaster Preparedness Coalition

By Michael Cochrane
 

07/14/2006


The VDPC Cert Contingent
A contingent of VIF&R Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) members carried the banner for the Vashon Disaster Preparedness Coalition (VDPC) during the Annual Vashon Strawberry Festival Parade this year. CERT member Bill Franz, masterfully organized the parade appearance for the opportunity to "show the flag" for disaster preparedness and all the people who stand behind the effort on Vashon.

The Festival Parade is a unique and positive way of delivering the message ýAre You Ready?ý to hundreds, if not thousands, of Vashon residents. It is all part of a continuing program by the VDPC to raise public awareness of the need for individual preparedness and of the help to be found on the VashonBePrepared.com web site.

CERT members, Tom Kaufer and John Galus, carried the VDPC banner ahead of the white convertible carrying the dignitary, Gen. Joe Ulatoski (Ret.), the founder of the VDPC. Joe cut a splendid figure perched on the luxurious leather seat of hisýcarriageý, graciously provided and driven by Shirley Bonney, who navigated the hazards of darting children in the ultimate stop ný go traffic with grace and expertise. Joe drew applause along the route in recognition of his extraordinary devotion to disaster preparedness for the residents of Vashon.

Immediately following Joe Ulatoski, were the CERT Managers, Catherine and Michael Cochrane with the CERT mascot Russian Guard Gadalka (aka Sasha). Sasha, a Black Russian Terrier, wore her ýwork vestý with the King County CERT patches and had the adoring attention of hundreds of spectators. King County is a strong supporter and valuable contributor to the VDPCýs efforts to plan and organize for emergencies and is a vital link to funding for CERT and other Citizen Corps Programs.

 

 


Shirley Bonney and Joe Ulatoski
Finally, bearing the message banner ýAre You Prepared?ý, Vicki Boyd and Barb Huffman led ýthe ranksý of the CERT contingent smartly showing the new CERT uniform shirt. Mary OýBrien, Sharon Danielson, Mary Lou Rohwer, and Bill Franz marched in a column of twos. The blue uniform shirts identify the graduates of the forty-hour FEMA course, sponsored and conducted by Vashon Island Fire and Rescue. Over a hundred Vashon residents have completed the highly popular training program.

Finally, George Lewis, resplendent in the new high visibility Vashon CERT work vest, served as the rear march security for the group. Stretching nearly fifty feet from the front banner to the last person, the entire group appeared very professional and disciplined throughout the entire march, although the General remarked that one of the marchers, Sasha, was out of step on numerous occasions.

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Cochranes get Vashon prepared

By Eric Horsting
 

05/31/2006


(Courtesy Vashon Beachcomber)
Islanders Catherine and Michael Cochrane were honored for their dedication to the cause of Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) on Vashon for the last three years.

The Cochranes were presented with a certificate of appreciation signed by Interim Training Officer Mike Kirk and Vashon Island Fire & Rescue's Interim Fire Chief Keith Yamane.

The certificate thanked them for their "service and dedication to the disaster preparedness and safety of Vashon and Maury Island residents through FEMA's CERT program."

"You can tell the success of an organization by its leadership," Kirk said, referring to the Cochranes, whom he praised for reaching the milestone of having helped to train the 100th CERT volunteer (the actual number is 103).

 


Rick Wallace, president of the Vashon Disaster Preparedness Coalition, said of the Cochranes, "They've built it (CERT) from the ground up to over 100 highly-trained volunteers in just three years. Their work is an amazing story of volunteer dedication and, of course, a huge part of the Island's overall capacity to respond in case of a disaster such as a major earthquake that would likely overwhelm the capacity of our first-line emergency responders."

Catherine said that she was thrilled with the support the program has from the fire department.

She pointed particularly to a recent daylong CERT drill in which volunteers worked on different scenarios, and the victims of the various incidents were played by the newest department recruit class. Catherine said she much appreciated the recruits offering their help, particularly during the period of recent turmoil in the department.

"I want thank the men and women of Vashon Island Fire and Rescue, their officers, and the commissioners for their support of the last two and a half years," Michael Cochran said of the award.

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Pandemic / Bird Flu Questions

 

05/08/2006

BACKGROUND

On Tuesday, May 9 at 8 p.m., the ABC television network will air a made-for-TV movie titled "Fatal Contact: Bird Flu in America." The movie follows an outbreak of the H5N1 avian flu virus from its origins in a Hong Kong market through its mutation into a pandemic virus that becomes easily transmittable from human to human and spreads rapidly around the world.

- The ABC Movie "Fatal Contact: Bird Flu in America" is a movie, not a documentary. It is a work of fiction designed to entertain and not a factual accounting of a real world event.

- There is no influenza pandemic in the world at this time.

- Also, it is important to remember that H5N1 avian influenza is almost exclusively a disease of birds. The H5N1 virus has not yet appeared in the U.S.

- Should the H5N1 virus appear in the U.S., it does not mean the start of a pandemic.

- An additional point to remember is that the next influenza pandemic could be substantially less severe than what the movie depicts or that occurred in 1918. For example, the influenza pandemics of 1957/58 and 1968/69 caused so much less illness and death than did the 1918/19 pandemic that many Americans at that time did not distinguish them from seasonal influenza and were unaware that a pandemic was underway. While the movie does serve to raise awareness about avian and pandemic flu, we hope it will inspire preparation - not panic. There are steps individuals, families and communities can take to prepare. You can keep a supply of food and medicines on hand in case you have to stay home, you can practice good public health measures like frequent hand washing and staying home when sick. There is good information available on www.pandemicflu.gov. The film does depict scenarios that could unfold should a severe pandemic ever develop, including limited availability of antivirals and vaccines as well as the potential for disruption of supplies, medicines and other essential services. The film also illustrates the expected months-long delay in developing an effective vaccine against a pandemic strain of influenza once it emerges. This is why, at the President's request, the Congress approved funding for the Department of Health and Human Services to make significant financial investments to improve the technology for vaccine development and to build up our domestic vaccine production capacity, to ensure more rapid availability of vaccine for the population in a pandemic. The film highlights an important aspect of planning - individual and community planning and cooperation that will be so vital to sustaining communities and neighborhoods during an extended wave of an influenza pandemic. HHS has developed an extensive set of planning documents, including planning checklists for businesses, schools, health care providers, community organizations and states as well as an individual and family planning guide. All of these materials are available at www.pandemicflu.gov. While the H5N1 virus has not yet appeared in the U.S., and there is no influenza pandemic in the world at this time, it is important for all Americans to be informed about this potential public health threat and some of the steps individual Americans can take to protect themselves and their families in the event of a pandemic.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Q: Many people in the movie are seen wearing surgical masks. Will masks protect me?
A: Surgical masks are recommended for health care workers who are subjected to repeated exposure to multiple patients. For health care workers performing certain medical procedures on infected patients, N95 respirators are recommended. Surgical masks are also recommended for patients who are infected to help reduce the potential for spread of virus when these people cough or sneeze. HHS will continue to review and update as needed its public health guidance on the use of masks and respirators by healthcare workers and by the general public.

Q: The movie shows the virus spreading in many ways besides coughing or sneezing, such as handshakes, kissing, sharing drinks, etc. Is that correct?
A: Influenza virus is primarily spread by airborne droplets that reach the eyes, nose or mouth but can also spread by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching one's face. This highlights the importance of learning and practicing good personal hygiene, including: - Wash hands frequently with soap and water. - Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. - Put used tissues in a waste basket. - Cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve if you don't have a tissue. - Clean your hands after coughing or sneezing. Use soap and water or an alcohol-based hand cleaner. - Stay at home if you are sick.

Q: The film indicates that there will be a shortage of Tamiflu (or other antivirals) in a pandemic. Will there be? And if so, what is the government doing to prevent that?
A: HHS is stockpiling enough antivirals to treat 25% of the U.S. population should a pandemic occur in the U.S. This figure is based on historical data from past pandemics indicating that roughly 25% of the population would get sick in a pandemic and would benefit from antiviral treatment if started early in the course of illness. To date, the U.S. government has purchased 26 million antiviral treatment courses and expects to have on hand a total of 81 million treatment courses by the end of 2008.

Q: In the movie officials quickly find out that there is no vaccine available when the pandemic occurs nor will any be available for many months. Will we have vaccine available if a pandemic occurs?
A: There likely will be no vaccine initially available that precisely matches the pandemic strain when a pandemic begins. Because influenza viruses continually evolve and mutate, it is not possible to develop a vaccine until after the pandemic strain actually comes into existence. Only after the strain emerges, is isolated and characterized can a vaccine be developed and manufactured. Based upon current vaccine production processes and capacities, it will take at least 6 months to begin producing pandemic vaccine once a pandemic strain occurs.

HHS has been developing and stockpiling an experimental "pre-pandemic" H5N1 vaccine that may offer some level of immune protection should the H5N1 virus mutate into a pandemic strain. Having a stockpile of this vaccine for up to 20 million people, may help delay or lessen the initial impact of a pandemic while vaccine against the actual pandemic strain is developed and produced.

However, HHS is making significant financial investments to improve the technology for vaccine development and to build up our domestic vaccine production capacity, to ensure more rapid availability of vaccine for the population in a pandemic.

Q: Many neighborhoods were quarantined in the film. Even the Governor of Virginia quarantined himself, his staff and his family from the rest of the world. Will the government quarantine people in a pandemic?
A: The purpose of quarantine is to separate people who have been potentially exposed to a contagious disease and may be infected but are not yet ill to stop the spread of that disease. The last large-scale quarantine measures that were imposed in this country were used in the early 20th century to contain outbreaks of plague, yellow fever, and smallpox.

Q: Today, quarantine typically refers to confining potentially infected persons to their homes or community-based facilities, usually on a voluntary basis. Quarantine can be used for a defined group of people who may have been exposed at a public gathering, or who may have been exposed while traveling, particularly overseas. In extreme cases, quarantine could apply to an entire geographic area, in which case a community may be closed off by sealing its borders or by a barricade, known as a "cordon sanitaire".
A: In the case of pandemic influenza, quarantine may be one of the public health tools employed in the early days of an emerging pandemic if efforts are undertaken to contain the outbreak before it spreads too widely. Once a pandemic has begun to spread, quarantine is not likely to be effective in controlling the spread, and instead efforts may turn to "social distancing." Social distancing includes measures to increase distance between individuals, such as staying home when ill unless seeking medical care, avoiding large gatherings, telecommuting, and school closures.

Q: In the movie, we learn that the virus is beginning to develop resistance to Tamiflu, rendering the drug useless. Could that happen? If so, why are we buying so much Tamiflu for the stockpile?
A: Tamiflu, and another antiviral, Relenza, have shown effectiveness in treating influenza. Early evidence suggest that Tamiflu may be effective in treating those patients who have been infected with the H5N1 avian flu virus. While there have been a few reports of Tamiflu resistance developing on therapy, there has been no transmission of a resistant virus. The resistance developing on therapy has been associated with starting the drug late or using low doses of this drug. Tamiflu, when used at proper doses and started within a few days of the appearance of symptoms should be effective treatment of this infection.

Relenza has not been used in treating human H5N1 cases to date, as it has been unavailable in many countries that have had people infected with H5N1. but experts expect it would be an effective treatment also.

HHS is stockpiling enough antivirals to treat 25% of the U.S. population should a pandemic occur in the U.S. This figure is based on historical data from past pandemics indicating that roughly 25% of the population would get sick in a pandemic. To date, the U.S. government has purchased 26 million antiviral treatment courses and expects to have on hand a total of 81 million treatment courses by the end of 2008. Of its antiviral purchases, the U.S. is buying approximately 80% of its supply as Tamiflu and about 20% of its supply as Relenza. This is due in part to product availability but also to the need to diversify the supply so as to not rely solely on one medication.

Q: Many essential services (e.g. electricity, food, water, etc.) become scarce in the film's scenario. Could that happen?
A: An especially severe influenza pandemic could lead to high levels of illness, death, social disruption, and economic loss. Everyday life would be disrupted because so many people in so many places become seriously ill at the same time. Impacts can range from school and business closings to the interruption of basic services such as public transportation and food delivery.

In addition, a substantial percentage of the world's population will require some form of medical care. Health care facilities can be overwhelmed, creating a shortage of hospital staff, beds, ventilators and other supplies. Non-traditional sites such as schools may need to be used for patient care to cope with demand.

Q: The film depicted many people who simply walked off their jobs. Would that really occur?
A: In a severe pandemic, it is very possible that up to 40% of a business' or organization's workforce will be out sick or at home taking care of sick family members. It is also possible that a small percentage of this amount will be people who are healthy but who may be too frightened to venture out into public.

The numbers of health-care workers and first responders available to work can be expected to be reduced as they will be at high risk of illness through exposure in the community and in health care settings, and some may have to miss work to care for ill family members.

Q: What will be do with the overwhelming number of deceased bodies if we have a severe, 1918-like pandemic as was depicted in the film?
A: Addressing the possibility of a large number of deceased individuals in a pandemic is one of our top pandemic planning priorities. Currently, we are working on modeling studies to try to determine as clearly as we can what we could possibly expect in terms of numbers of deaths over the course of several pandemic waves. Until these studies are done, we won't be able to speculate on details of what we might or might not expect. We expect this work to be done in the next few months.

Regardless of whatever estimates are developed, it is highly unlikely that in the 21st Century in the U.S. that we would ever resort to mass graves. We are working with many government agencies (e.g. VA) as well as the private sector (e.g. the funeral industry, the cemetery industry) to develop guidance for states, local communities and others that maintains the dignity of the deceased, honors family wishes, and respects religious and social customs.

Q: Deciding who gets vaccine was a major question in the film. In a real pandemic, how will you decide who gets vaccine first?
A: The greatest risk of hospitalization and death-as seen during the last two pandemics in 1957 and 1968 pandemics and during annual influenza-will be in infants, the elderly, and those with underlying health conditions. These individuals, along with health care providers, who are critical to maintaining a health care system in a pandemic, would likely be the first individuals to receive the first supplies of vaccine. However, in the 1918 pandemic, most deaths occurred in young adults, highlighting the need to remain flexible on determining priorities for vaccination groups based on the epidemiology of an emerging pandemic.

As part of planning efforts, two Federal advisory committees-the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the National Vaccine Advisory Committee-have made recommendations for prioritizing critical populations that might receive the first supplies of vaccine. These recommendations can be found in the HHS Pandemic Plan, which is available at www.pandemicflu.gov.

Q: In the movie, the Virginia governor's son dies because he cannot get diabetes medicine; other drugs are not available in pharmacies.
A: Essential supplies, including medicine, may become unavailable during a pandemic. As part of effective planning, individuals and families should talk to their doctor about how to maintain adequate access to prescription medications.

 


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VashonBePrepared Posters Ready to Print

 

04/22/2006


Your VDPC has prepared a number of posters available for printing on your own computer. To print the posters, click on the links below to open the file, then print a your local copy by selecting File->Print from the Acrobat Reader menu.

New Checklist - Side 1
588kb PDF file
New Checklist - Side 2
608kb PDF file

Red Cross Help Wanted
200K PDF file
Help Wanted EOC
200K PDF file
Road Flaggers Help Wanted
200K PDF file

 

 


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CERT Classes Coming Soon

 

01/18/2006


The next CERT training course begins on March 17th. Sign up soon to reserve your place.

Contact: Michael or Catherine Cochrane 463-4558 certvashon@yahoo.com

Pictured here is the last happy batch of CERT Graduates.

Back row: Allan Snyder, Laura Snyder, Pete Murray, Mary O'Brien, David Cooper, Jean Young, Fran Gordon, Kathleen Fitch, Tracey Hanks, Troy St. Germain
Middle row: Karla Hill, Corinne Harmon, Armin Wahanik, Gail Murphy, John Burke, Sheryl Abrams, Kim Nelson, Ina Whitlock, Jo Robinson, Reed Fitzpatrick
Front Row: Basha Brownstein, Marie Koltchak, Andie Styner

 


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Timeline of Power Restoration Effort

 

01/17/2006

Vashon Island

14 through 24 December
On the night of 14 December a region-wide emergency wind storm took down power to an estimated 700,000 Puget Sound Energy customers (approximately 6,700 customers on Vashon) and tens of thousands more customers served by other electrical utilities in the region. It may have been the worst damage event in history for the electrical systems of the Northwest.

The following unofficial timeline has been assembled to help the Vashon Disaster Preparedness Coalition do its own after action study so we can learn lessons for future emergency response in aid of the Island community.

The information comes from several sources including our daily contacts with PSE and its contractor (Quanta, which owns Potelco) during the emergency. In addition we have gathered some anecdotal data and included information from news media reports.

Thursday, 14 December

  • PSE stages two heavy construction crews on the Island in advance of the storm (one from AAU and one from Wilson). Over a dozen line people sleep on cots at the Fire District training center. The Island does not have construction crews based here any longer and they would normally come here only after an outage via ferry from Kitsap Peninsula. (Note: They do NOT work during the high winds for safety reasons!)
  • PSE's central Emergency Operations Center in Redmond begins ordering extra crews from out of state, using its master contract with Quanta to good effect since Quanta owns a number of companies around the country similar to Potelco. They also utilize mutual aid agreements with other utilities such as Edison in Southern California. (See Seattle Times story that talks about PSE grabbing all available line crews very quickly, essentially sucking up all available crews before other power companies could get them. Eventually the total was 550 crews working for PSE in the 7 county service area.)
  • During the night, falling trees and high winds take out the two power feeds to the Island (a main feed to Point Robinson and a backup "reverse" circuit that normally carries power off the Island from Cove). There is no electrical power on Vashon or Maury Islands from that point until early Saturday morning.


Friday, 15 December

  • The heavy construction crews pre-staged on Vashon go to the field when the winds permit them to do so safely and they begin working on priority locations.
  • At this point the PSE presence on Vashon included two heavy construction crews, two assessment teams, two Vashon-based PSE workers, and five tree crews (damage assessment and tree removal being an essential step before pole/wire reconstruction).
  • The standard procedure is always to restore transmission (Pt. Robinson and Cove feeds) and then the substation and then the Island's four distribution circuits.
  • Other personnel begin listing damage so material can be ordered for repairs and an assessment can be made of number of crews required for repairs. (For an event of this magnitude, it would be impossible to have enough insulators, poles, wire and so on stocked at the Vashon warehouse.)


Saturday through Sunday, 16 through 17 December

  • First power was restored on Vashon around 3:30am on Saturday morning. This involved re-energizing both the power feeds to the Island (Point Robinson primary, Cove backup) and the Vashon substation that serves our four ciruits (22, 23, 12, 13).
  • Thus, as planned, the top priority distribution was restored on Saturday, the downtown area, so that essential services could open (hardware, lumber, pharmacy, grocery, fuel, etc.).
  • One Vashon resident took fudge to the command center on Sunday night and she described a line worker from Oregon whose "eyes were completely red after working for just two days" and she remarked that he still had many days to go.
  • Sometime during the weekend decisions are made on resources needed. On Sunday the arrangements were made for a special "command post" storm response center to be set up on Vashon and to assign a certain number of the inbound out of state crews to the Island. Those crews hit the road over the weekend and were already driving their construction trucks towards Washington state.
  • Logistics company contracts and vendor contracts were being worked. For example, see the Seattle Times story on the company that supplies power poles to PSE. Also, one news account stated that PSE chartered a 737 aircraft to bring in supplies of transformers that would be needed for restoration in their seven county service area.
  • On Sunday, five inbound crews driving from southern California are allocated to Vashon (but will not arrive until Monday night).


Monday, 18 December

  • Special "command post" team sets up full operation on Vashon with assessors, material handlers and so on. This is the first time this step has been taken for a storm on Vashon since the event in '93.
  • Assessors working in advance of the arrival of the major reinforcements have logged "hundreds of spans of wire" that were taken down, mostly by falling trees and limbs. This equates to many miles of wire that had to be re-strung and "break away" insulators replaced (insulators designed to let go before the wire breaks to allow for faster restoration of the wire).
  • John Goodfellow, the person in charge of the command post, is a high ranking manager for Quanta who, as it happens, used to hold a senior position with PSE. He was, in fact, once in charge of the PSE emergency operations center in Redmond. He worked the '93 storm and describes this event as a "benchmark" even worse than '93.
  • Late Monday, the five Southern California heavy construction crews are escorted onto Vashon by Goodfellow and they stage their equipment at the command post. Many Vashon folks report seeing and welcoming the trucks as they wait in the ferry line. The crews had driven their trucks two days from San Bernardino, southern California. For safety reasons they are told to sleep for awhile and they really are fully in the field on Tuesday morning.
  • Take note: The definition of a crew is problematic. It is more than a single vehicle. Each crew has a foreman and may have anywhere from one to five vehicles in it, depending on the nature of the work to be performed.


Tuesday through Saturday, 19 through 23 December

  • From Tuesday on, the PSE resources on Vashon included seven construction crews of five or six people each, as many as 20 tree crews of three people each, two assessment team, two Vashon-based PSE folks, plus material handlers, managers, mechanics and supervisors for a total of around 150 people at the peak of the effort. (The PSE command center on Vashon was ordering 150 submarine sandwiches per day to feed the crews.)
  • Crews were generally working 18 hours on and six hours off, the industry standard during major power emergencies. (By SOP they work 36 hours straight at the onset of an emergency.) Some line crew workers were bussed on and off the Island to hotels to comply with their union contracts for accomodations. An unknown number of workers bunked in local housing that was offered to them (don't know details). Some workers slept in about a dozen campers that were rented and brought to the command center location.
  • By Thursday day all remaining construction locations had crews assigned, down from a situation on Monday where they said it was impossible in many Island locations to go more than 100 yards on a road without seeing some type of damage.
  • On Thursday night they had six crews drive all the roads on the Island looking for dark houses to try to identify any last remaining service outages. Also on Thursday, PSE repeats an earlier request, asking that anybody without power call and confirm their location as they try to find all remaining trouble spots.


Note: We have estimates of the numbers of customers still without power for each day of the event but it turns out those are rough estimates used for planning resources and they really aren't accurate at all, being based on some sort of computer algorithm that includes a factor for number of calls being received at the PSE call center. At one point the PSE estimate for Vashon was actually getting worse not better even though we knew anecdotally that hundreds of people were getting power back each day. For future emergencies we won't publicly distribute those numbers unless they can be verified as more than rough estimates in order to avoid misleading the public.

By some time on Saturday, in a little over a week, most of the electrical distribution system on Vashon had essentially been rebuilt (hundreds of wire spans, many miles of wire). This job would have taken months on normal schedules and staffing.

 


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Rotary Makes Grant to Vashon Disaster Preparedness

 

12/23/2005


Rotary President Joyce Olson presents check
Vashon's preparations for a potential disaster took a step forward this week as Vashon Rotary President Joyce Olson presented a grant of $8,350 to Vashon Disaster Preparedness Coalition President Rick Wallace and Coalition Founder Joe Ulatoski. The presentation took place in the radio communications room of the Vashon Emergency Operations Center, one of the facilities that will be improved through the grant. Funds will go to purchase four satellite phones to ensure that the Island's emergency responders and disaster assistance volunteers will be able to communicate with mainland agencies even if normal telephone and cellphone connections go down, as they might during a major earthquake, volcanic eruption or significant weather event. Funds will also go for several portable generators to supply emergency power at disaster response and relief locations such as emergency kitchens and shelters, critical supplies locations such as the pharmacy, as well as mass casualty or rescue sites.

 


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Ham Radio Classes Begin Jan 11th

 

12/22/2005

Would you like to get your ham radio license for personal or emergency communications? Here's your chance! Weekly classes will begin on Jan 11th @ 7 PM in the smaller classroom of the VIFR Penny Farcy Training Building across Bank Road from the main fire station. The format will be self-study with weekly class session attendance optional. Each session will begin with a lecture followed by Q&A on any subject. The license exam will be given at the final class session. There is no charge for the course, but students will be required to have the study guide ($20) and the exam fee is $14. For more information, contact class instructor Ward Silver at 463-9173 or via the Vashon-Maury Island Radio Club Web site, www.w7vmi.org.

 


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Help Reinstate Our Disaster Preparedness Funding!

 

12/21/2005

[guest editorial for Beachcomber, edition of 21 December]

Earlier this month the King County Council allocated funds that would have made an enormous difference in our ability to take care of ourselves in a major disaster. I say "would have made an enormous difference" because County Executive Ron Sims vetoed that funding on Friday, saying that the Council had not followed proper procedures. He acted, he says, to preserve the integrity of the budget process. That may be true for some of the vetoed items, it cannot be said of the Vashon disaster preparedness funding.

Here's what's at stake for Vashon. Thanks to the work of Council member Dow Constantine, the supplemental budget included $35,000 for Vashon disaster preparedness, a tiny and probably unnoticed item among the millions vetoed. Yet these funds mean the world to us on Vashon, and they would have been the first money ever allocated by King County for Vashon disaster preparedness.

Here are a few of the things that we will be forced to do without -- and will desperately need -- if the County Executiveýs action stands and a disaster strikes:

* A multi-patient oxygen supply system and other medical supplies and equipment needed to transport and treat severely injured victims of a mass casualty incident.

* 300 cots and care kits to help us shelter those left homeless, a supplement to our woefully small current supply of shelter goods.

* Communications equipment, mini-generators and other essential gear to help us set up neighborhood coordination and communications centers around the Island.

* Essential equipment for a live, on-air Emergency Broadcasting System to be operated by the Voice of Vashon Internet radio station so our community of 10,000 people could stay informed during a disaster.

Nobody could call these "political pork" or "pet projects," some of the terms used in news accounts describing the County Executiveýs veto action.

A bad earthquake, a tsunami, a volcanic eruption, a major weather event, a flu pandemic -- all these things could happen with little or no warning. As an Island, we know that we may need to survive on our own for days or even weeks, isolated from normal food, medical and government resources if a region-wide disaster brings chaos and devastation to the mainland. For just that reason, hundreds of volunteers have come together over the last three years to form the Vashon Disaster Preparedness Coalition.

In fact, earlier this year the County Executive and the County Council both acknowledged this potential problem of isolation and formed the Vashon Island Emergency Management Area as a step towards helping our community survive in a disaster. Now we hope they can find a way to agree once more to support essential funding to implement this effort. We urge you to call or email County Executive Ron Sims and ask him to find a way to reinstate this vital disaster preparedness funding. We fully understand his concern about the integrity of the budget process, and all of us care about good governance and responsible government spending. But this funding cut has had a very severe effect on our communityýs ability to deal with a disaster. Watching what happened in Asia and New Orleans has made the need for preparedness even more vivid in our minds.

Rick Wallace
President and one of several hundred volunteer members of the Vashon Disaster Preparedness Coalition

Note: You can call the County Executive at 206-296-4040 or email him at ron.sims@metrokc.gov.

 


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Disaster preparedness: the prime focus is now on Vashon's neighborhoods

By May Gerstle
 

11/01/2005

When Joe Ulatoski moved to Vashon, he, along with a number of others, realized that the island was woefully unprepared for a major disaster such as a big region-wide earthquake. With the resulting chaos on the mainland and very limited resources in our community, the people of Vashon would literally be on their own for days or even weeks. That's why they went to work three years ago to pull together the Vashon Disaster Preparedness Coalition (VDPC) and the King County approved Vashon Island Emergency Management Area (VIEMA). Now Joe wants to focus on helping to prepare the neighborhoods--where neighbors will help each other in an organized manner should a major disaster occur.

"I would like to have every neighborhood on Vashon organized so that neighbors know each other well enough to help one another in an organized manner whenever there is an emergency," as Joe put it in announcing that he would step down from the Presidency of the VDPC. He's now focused on developing a new emphasis on building disaster preparedness on the island. Using the model called the Neighborhood Emergency Response Organization (NERO), Joe is now spending his time developing a team that will have as its objective raising the level of disaster preparedness in a majority of Vashon's neighborhoods by the end of 2006.

Rick Wallace elected President

At the annual organizational meeting in October, Rick Wallace was elected President. Rick is finishing up his term as Vice President of the Vashon Allied Arts Board. He is an award-winning broadcast journalist and international crisis communication and strategic planning consultant. He said, "My plan is to build on the foundation that Joe and his dedicated colleagues have created. I think of them as Vashon Heroes. In addition to neighborhood preparedness, our next big challenge for the organization is to obtain the volunteer staff we need for the Emergency Operations Center. We need to recruit enough new volunteers to deal with the 'Big One' when it inevitably strikes. We will need the help of many others to navigate the course that Joe has charted."

Michael Cochrane, co-manager of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) was elected vice president. Long time islander and well known photographer, Pete Murray is the new secretary. Matt Sullivan, Director of Finance and Administration for Vashon Fire and Rescue is the new treasurer.

The VDPC holds monthly meetings to which the public is invited but there are many other ways that one can participate. If you have an interest in finding out more, please call our volunteer coordinator, Mary Swanson at 463-3645. If you don't have time right now to join this effort, check out the web site, www.VashonBePrepared.org.

 


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New Emergency Supplies Checklists

 

10/10/2005

New Checklists are available from VDPC and VashonBePrepared.org. Be better prepared!

These Vashon/Maury designed lists should keep you supplied in the event of any kind of disaster.

Water, Food, Sanitation & First Aid, click here. Word Document, 28,000 bytes (characters.)

Tools, Cooking, Shelter/Clothing, Personal Items, Home & Family Preparations, click here. Word Document, 24,000 bytes (characters.)

Please print out these lists and take them with you on your next shopping trip.

 


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Disaster Relief Funds Need Your Help

 

08/30/2005

The devastation from Hurricane Katrina continues to have a devastating impact on the Gulf Coast. Other disasters, including Hurricane Rita, Hurricane Stan in Guatemala and El Salvador, the earthquake in Pakistan and now Hurricane Wilma have put disaster relief agencies in a depleted condition. To help with the relief efforts please consider making a donation to one or more of the relief funds listed here.

Charity Navigator provides information on charities and tips on giving.

Northwest Medical Teams 800-959-4325
American Red Cross, 800-HELP-NOW (435-7669) English, 800-257-7575 Spanish.
AmeriCares,800-486-HELP | 800-486-4357
America's Second Harvest, 800-344-8070.
Adventist Community Services, 800-381-7171.
Catholic Charities USA, 800-919-9338.
Christian Disaster Response, 941-956-5183 or 941-551-9554.
Christian Reformed World Relief Committee, 800-848-5818.
Church World Service, 800-297-1516.
Convoy of Hope, 417-823-8998.
Feed the Children, 800-525-7575.
Lutheran Disaster Response, 800-638-3522.
Mennonite Disaster Service, 717-859-2210.
Nazarene Disaster Response, 888-256-5886.
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, 800-872-3283.
Salvation Army, 800-SAL-ARMY (725-2769).
Southern Baptist Convention Disaster Relief, 800-462-8657, Ext. 6440.
United Methodist Committee on Relief, 800-554-8583.

Underlined entries above are links to organization websites. Otherwise, the phone number for the organization is provided.

 


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CERT Graduates - May 2005

By Catherine Cochrane, Vashon CERT Manager
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05/01/2005


From left to right back row - Keith Putnam, Dennis Schroeder, Robert Powell,
Reed Fitzpatrick, Lee Miller, Ed Steyh, Lisa Chambers, Richard Gordon, Michael Kibbe,
Kebbie Bedard, Steve Bird, Diane Brenno, Robert Brenno.
Front Row - George Lewis, Matt Wilson, Gary Cain, Linda Higgenbotham, Mary Redick
Vashon-Maury is better prepared for an emergency this week due to the dedication of twenty-one community volunteers. On May 4th these individuals completed Vashon's Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training program. Their dedication to our community is recognized and greatly appreciated.

With the completion of the forty hour program, including an all-day disaster drill, these individuals are now trained to assist the community in a consistent and organized fashion. Being CERT trained means learning and practicing personal preparedness, disaster first aid, medical triage, hazard assessments, fire suppression, light search and rescue, and disaster psychology practices. Vashon CERT's training also includes basic, leadership principles and how-to setup a command post to coordinate CERT response and radio communication.

But their training opportunities don't stop there. During Vashon CERT's quarterly meetings they participate in skills reinforcement drills. They also take part in cross-organization, communication drills with the on-island Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES), Vashon Island Fire and Rescue (VIFR), and the Emergency Operations Center (EOC). And if that isn't enough there are county and state sponsored disaster preparation drills and training available throughout the year.

 

 


Victim in Dark Confined Space (Rick Wallace photo)
The CERT organization now totals forty-eight trained volunteers whose primary purpose is to support our first-responders in an emergency. Coordination for Vashon CERT during an emergency will be VIFR's incident commander. However, Vashon CERT members may act independently as self-directed teams when communication with a higher-level, incident command is impossible. Many thanks all those who made the CERT 05-01 Class a success: Chief Jim Wilson for his support of this program and making VIFR resources available to make it happen; Lt. Candy McCullough who volunteered countless hours to identify trainers, assemble supplies and equipment, and conduct classes; Wendy Wharton and David Parker who ensured the classes went smoothly their roles as class monitors. And a special thanks goes to the many volunteers who made the disaster drill realistic and challenging.

Islanders have always helped each other times of need, however Vashon CERT training gives our citizens the decision-making and practical skills to do so effectively and efficiently, working as a team, while ensuring the safety of themselves and others.

Find out more about CERT and the training offered by Vashon's CERT organization by talking to your neighborhood CERT member, or contacting Michael or Catherine Cochrane, CERT Managers at (206) 463-4558 or email at certvashon@yahoo.com or call the VIFR business office at (206) 463-2405.

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Vashon welcomes new official King County approved organization

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04/18/2005

VIEMA, the Vashon Island Emergency Management Area, was created as an officially sanctioned part of King County on April 18, 2005. Dow Constantine, Vashon/Maury Island's representative on the King County Council, sheparded legislation in the Council creating this new interlocal agency to be able to channel resources needed to prepare the islands for disasters.

The Metropolitan King County Council today unanimously approved an ordinance which allows King County to enter into an interlocal agreement with special districts on Vashon/Maury Islands for emergency management purposes. The entity formed will be called the Vashon Island Emergency Management Area (VIEMA).

"Since the Nisqually Earthquake and the attacks of September 11th, disaster preparedness has moved to the forefront," said Councilmember Dow Constantine, who co-sponsored the legislation. "This interlocal agreement is the result of islanders taking charge of their ability to communicate, coordinate, and assist each other in the case of a catastrophic event."

The legislation recognizes that Vashon and Maury islands may be isolated from the rest of King County during a catastrophic event, such as a natural disaster or a terrorist attack. A volunteer coalition has already initiated disaster planning efforts on the islands. King Countyýs Office of Emergency Management developed the interlocal agreement to establish a legal framework for this planning effort.

The legislation is the result of two and one-half years of work by islanders and County representatives. Joe Ulatoski, an islander who has spearheaded the efforts on Vashon/Maury islands, said, "I am delighted that at last Vashon and Maury islands have an on-island organization that can formally oversee planning and development of disaster preparedness on the islands."

The interlocal agreement provides for the activation and operation of a community Emergency Operations Center and a community Emergency Management Plan. The agreement includes King County Fire District 13, Water District #19, Vashon Island School District, and King County through its Department of Transportation and the Sheriff's Office.

 

 

 


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Vashon Disaster Preparedness Coaliton honored by State Legislature

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02/25/2005

On February 25, 2005, the Washington State House of Representatives passed a resolution honoring and drawing attention to the efforts of the Vashon Disaster Preparedness Coalition. They recognized the problems likely to impact the islands in the event of a large earthquake and promoted Islanders's efforts to become aware and prepared.

 


HOUSE RESOLUTION NO.2005-4627, by Representatives Cody and McDermott

WHEREAS, On December 26, 2004, one of the most devastating natural disasters in recent history hit Southeast Asia; and
WHEREAS, An earthquake, 9.0 in magnitude, centered underwater off the coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra, triggered a tsunami that devastated the coastal areas of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Malaysia, and the Maldives; and
WHEREAS, Approximately 200,000 people lost their lives; and WHEREAS, Washington State, specifically the Puget Sound Region, is projected to have a large earthquake in the foreseeable future; and
WHEREAS, Disaster awareness and preparedness are important ways for local communities to address this threat; and
WHEREAS, Puget Sound islands could be cut off as a result of a loss of ferry, utilities, and phone services; and
WHEREAS, Mainland agencies and emergency services would be consumed with their own emergency needs; and
WHEREAS, Puget Sound island residents would need enough food, clean water, medicine, and other critical supplies to survive for three to five days; and
WHEREAS, Vashon Island's "unofficial Mayor," Melinda Sontegrath, and the Vashon Disaster Preparedness Coalition, a community-wide umbrella organization, are interested in drawing the attention of homeowners and businesses in taking upon themselves disaster awareness and preparedness; and
WHEREAS, Over one hundred fifty dedicated volunteers have already joined this effort; and
WHEREAS, Raising awareness about disaster preparedness can save lives and property and prevent human suffering; and
WHEREAS, The Washington State Legislature values and encourages outstanding public contributions in all fields of endeavor;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, That the Washington State House of Representatives honor the Vashon Disaster Preparedness Coalition for its foresight, dedication, and contributions to public safety; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That copies of this resolution be immediately transmitted by the Chief Clerk to Melinda Sontegrath and the Vashon Disaster Preparedness Coalition.

 


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American Red Cross says ...

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02/06/2005

Food Supplies in Case of Disaster

How long can food supplies be stored? To judge how long you can store food supplies, look for an expiration date or "best if used by" date on the product. If you can not find a date on the product, then the general recommendation is to store food products for six months and then replace them.

Some households find it helpful to pull food products for their regular meals from their disaster supplies kit and replace them immediately on an ongoing basis, so the food supplies are always fresh.

What kinds of food supplies are recommended to store in case of a disaster? Try to avoid foods that are high in fat and protein, and donýt stock salty foods, since they will make you thirsty. Familiar foods can lift morale and give a feeling of security in time of stress. Also, canned foods wonýt require cooking, water or special preparation. Take into account your familyýs unique needs and tastes. Try to include foods that they will enjoy and that are also high in calories and nutrition.

Store supplies of non-perishable foods and water in a handy place. You need to have these items packed and ready in case there is no time to gather food from the kitchen when disaster strikes. Sufficient supplies to last several days to a week are recommended.

Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking, and little or no water. Foods that are compact and lightweight are easy to store and carry.

Try to eat salt-free crackers, whole grain cereals and canned food with high liquid content.

Recommended foods include:

Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits and vegetables. (Be sure to include a manual can opener) Canned juices, milk and soup (if powdered, store extra water). High energy foods, such as peanut butter, jelly, crackers, granola bars and trail mix. Comfort foods, such as hard candy, sweetened cereals, candy bars and cookies. Instant coffee, tea bags. Foods for infants, elderly persons or persons on special diets, if necessary. Compressed food bars. They store well, are lightweight, taste good and are nutritious. Trail mix. It is available as a prepackaged product or you can assemble it on your own. Dried foods. They can be nutritious and satisfying, but have some have a lot of salt content, which promotes thirst. Read the label. Freeze-dried foods. They are tasty and lightweight, but will need water for reconstitution. Instant Meals. Cups of noodles or cups of soup are a good addition, although they need water for reconstitution. Snack-sized canned goods. Good because they generally have pull-top lids or twist-open keys. Prepackaged beverages. Those in foil packets and foil-lined boxes are suitable because they are tightly sealed and will keep for a long time.

Food Options to Avoid:

Commercially dehydrated foods. They can require a great deal of water for reconstitution and extra effort in preparation. Bottled foods. They are generally too heavy and bulky, and break easily. Meal-sized canned foods. They are usually bulky and heavy. Whole grains, beans, pasta. Preparation could be complicated under the circumstances of a disaster.

What is the basis for the Red Cross recommendation to store supplies to last several days to a week? Red Cross recommendations to have food, water, and other emergency supplies on hand are not new, and are considered reasonable in case of any disaster. Our recommendations are to have supplies to last several days to a week. Most reasonable people would not consider such quantities of supplies as a "stockpile" or "hoarding."

Some families may choose to store supplies to last several weeks or more. Certainly, if they wish to do so, they may. It is always wise to have sufficient food and water supplies on hand in case access to such supplies may be disrupted by a disaster.

For more information, please contact your local Red Cross chapter. Ask for a copy of the following brochures: ýYour Family Disaster Planý (A4466); ýYour Family Disaster Supplies Kitý (A4463) and ýFood and Water in an Emergencyý (A5055).

 


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