Vashon Island Emergency Management Area Planning Committee (VIEMA)

A Simple View of VIEMA

The Vashon Island Area Emergency Management Area Planning Committee (VIEMA) was established on April 18, 2005 by the King County Council (via an inter-local agreement of county agencies) to extend legal authority to the Vashon Island Fire & Rescue Fire Chief for managing emergency response for the island when the county is unable to communicate/provide reasonable leadership. It also needs approve updates to what is now known as the Vashon Island Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan.

VIEMA Purpose

“Provide the legal framework for those public sector organizations to provide a short-term emergency response following a catastrophic disaster event that results in the inability of King County Government to provide emergency management, roads, and law enforcement services to Vashon Island. Short term emergency response will include the activation and operation and activation of the community Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and activation of the community Emergency Management Plan (EMP).”

Inherent in the purpose is the responsibility to expedite the planning, coordination and facilitation of an emergency response as well as a defined incident command structure. The VIEMA also responsible for annual review, updating and approval of the Vashon Island EMP.

-- From the VIEMA bylaws (the 1st paragraph is also from the actual inter-local agreement.


While perhaps VIEMA was initially envisioned as THE organization to direct disaster operations on Vashon, it has since become clear that VIFR serves this role, granted through its inherent powers. Also it has since become more clear that VIFR has considerable statutory authority already - even without the action of VIEMA.

In practice, VIEMA would meet and grant the Fire Chief authority to "act as the county" if the county's leadership and OEM department were unavailable after a disaster.

Vashon welcomes new official King County approved organization

VIEMA LogoVIEMA, 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, shepherded legislation in the Council creating this new inter-local 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 inter-local 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 Council member Dow Constantine, who co-sponsored the legislation. "This inter-local 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 County's Office of Emergency Management developed the inter-local 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 inter-local 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.

-- From an article we published on 04/18/2005


VIEMA in the Loop

Recently, the King County Council approved the formation of VIEMA (Vashon Island Emergency Management Area), which creates an interlocal agreement between various districts for purposes of emergency planning and management.

The entities encompassed by VIEMA are Fire District 13, Water District 19, the Vashon Island School District, King County Department of Transportation and the Sheriff’s Office.

This step in the Island’s emergency planning process will give us a more coordinated approach to emergency management, explained Public Information volunteer May Gerstle. She also said that in case of a disaster, it will be easier for Vashon to get financial assistance from FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

- from the Vashon Loop:

Contact Us

VIEMA is composed of representatives from the following King County County organizations:

A. Vashon School District
B. Vashon Water District #19
C. Vashon Fire District #13
D. King County Sheriff’s Office
E. King County Department of Transportation

The current representatives are:

  • Rex Stratton
  • Steve Haworth
  • Jeff Lakin
  • Isaac Patino
  • Jim Didricksen