Before VashonBePrepared...

The Vashon Disaster Preparedness Coalition

Disaster preparedness efforts have gone on for years on Vashon Island. This page shows a few of those we have some record of. It just all goes to show that there is a legitimate need for citizens to be ready - for whatever the future holds in store for us!

VashonBePrepared grew out of a loosely organized (we had bylaws but never followed them, nor held any elections!) organization known as the Vashon Disaster Preparedness Coalition (VDPC).

According to some personal emails with Rick Frye, there were a wide variety of "players in the early days of the island’s disaster preparedness – many of whom have died or who aren’t on the island any longer due to reasons other than death. Lisa Booknight was among the very earliest and she is responsible for planting the bug in the ears of the school district. She left the island long ago. Donna Donnelley (who currently serves as VashonBePrepared's Treasurer) and Karen Pruett picked up the ball from Lisa and orchestrated a great deal of the school districts efforts in the arena of disaster prep.

Vashon Emergency Preparedness Committee (VEPC) was a loosely organized organization handling food and shelter operations for Vashon. Predating VashonBePrepared, they were in close communication with the Red Cross of Seattle and King County. The group maintained a 24 hour pager to respond to emergencies, coordinates maintenance and training for VIFR's (Disaster Emergency Response Trailer) DERT, several shipping containers of sheltering supplies at the the high school.

Cathy Rogers (who has served for years as VashonBePrepared's Secretary) was engaged from the earliest days – as was also Melanie (and Skip) Greene, Laura Snyder, Brigett Webb, and Chris Coldene. Many of these early volunteers were apparently organized through the Vashon Emergency Preparedness Committee (VEPC) - which continues its service today as a partner of VashonBePrepared. Loosely affiliated with the Red Cross, it continues its focus on the key needs of providing food and shelter to residents forced out of their homes - whether by a fire to one house or a regional disaster.

Rick Frye organized and taught the first CERT class (and the Beachcomber even ran a picture of the first class’s graduation). Rick received an award from the Fire Dept. for introducing CERT to the island. Jack Nelson did the second class (in which the Cochrans were students) and Catherine and Michael Cochran took it over from there, with assistance from Candy McCullough - now head of the VIFR Fire Commissioners.

There was much political turmoil during the teneur of VIFR Fire Chief Jim Wilson. Some early disaster preparedness efforts langished during this period with other priorities and infighting.

Ward Silver and Rick Frye organized our own neighborhood in the mid 1990’s and theres was the first of what is now considered NERO groups and met quarterly for several years. Each family was assigned the task of meeting with some organization considered central for the island’s survival. When they first approached the Thriftway, they had never before considered emergency generators. One member was a bus driver for King County Metro. He brought in a copy of the county’s disaster plan and showed them the map. Guess what island was not even on their map! We organized regular presentations by organizations such as Puget Power.

Disaster prep is why Rick (KUØW) got his first GMRS license back in 1998. He used a couple mountain top GMRS repeaters and then got his first ham license back in 2001.

1940's Era Civilian Corps

Here is an old newspaper clipping that Laura Snyder had and brought to our attention - showing that Vashon has a long history of preparedness efforts! A wall sized print of the upper right photo is in the Seattle EOC's entry hall!

Click on photo for a high resolution version.

1940s Vashon Civil Defense Drills