Vashon Specific Hazards

Vashon residents face a relatively higher earthquake risk than others in the Pacific Northwest has a current and excellent overview of all the potential disasters we might face here in King County.

Washington State DNR has an excellent Geology Portal that offers a nice blend of maps and educational materials to help you understand many of the geological issues island residents may face.

Seattle-King County Ready: 
Location Specific Preparedness Tool

Seattle and King County Offices of Emergency Management released a online tool in 2017, Seattle-King County Ready, that provides customized reports of natural hazard risk in a specific location. Users can enter an address or click on a map to see information about likely and worst-case natural disasters at that location and what they would feel and look like. Click the tabs to view each hazard type. The report also explains the steps users can take to be better prepared, describes past events in the area, and links to more detailed information.

Other specific reasons we should prepare:

  • Help is likely to take days to arrive 
  • Earthquake Insurance makes sense in certain situations, but tends to carry a number of severe limitations
  • We're limited by our reliance on ferries. Without them, many families could be separated for days

Situation - from the Vashon Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan

Vashon and Maury Islands (henceforth referred to as the Island or Vashon), the largest island in Puget Sound is located in King County, in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metro area. The Island has 45 miles of shoreline and is approximately 13 miles long and 8 miles at the widest point. Vashon is an unincorporated area of King County and has a population of approximately 10,800. The Island could encounter numerous hazards such as a natural or environmental disaster, a terrorist attack, or public health emergency and, as an island that is only accessible by ferry, could be isolated from mainland emergency resources. The following natural or man-made hazards are the prime consideration of this Emergency Operations Plan and are covered in more detail in the Hazard Mitigation Plan:

  • Drought
  • Earthquake
  • Flood
  • Landslide
  • Severe Wind
  • Snow/Ice
  • Tsunami/Seiches
  • Volcanism
  • Wild Fire
  • Lightning
  • Mass Casualty
  • Terrorist Attack
  • Ferry Service Disruption
  • Utility Interruption
  • Transport Incident
  • Armed Attack Bomb Incident
  • Haz Materials
  • Civil Disorder
  • Cyber-terrorism

Accordingly, the situation is as follows:

  1. Vashon Island faces a wide array of risks, which may pose a significant threat to the population and property within the city. These include natural, human-caused and technological emergencies or disasters.
  2. Depending upon the extent and nature of the disaster or emergency, a potential condition exists that may severely hamper the economic and physical infrastructure Island.
  3. Vashon Island may be isolated for a long period of time (3- 10 days) without outside assistance.
  4. A catastrophic disaster may overwhelm local and state governments in providing a timely and effective response to meet the needs of the situation.

City of Seattle Hazard Listing

It is interesting to compare Seattle (below), King Counties and Vashon's list of identified hazards. Some of theirs don't apply to Vashon, but a few we may wish to integrate into our future plans. Here is a list of Seattle's hazards from their Nov. 2014 draft Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan:

  1. Emerging Threats
    1. Climate Change and Sea Level Rise
    2. Cyber Disruption
  2. Geophysical Hazards
    1. Earthquakes
    2. Landslides
    3. Volcanic Hazards
    4. Tsunamis and Seiches
  3. Biological Hazards
    1. Disease
  4. Intentional Hazards
    1. Social Unrest
    2. Terrorism
    3. Active Shooter Incidents
  5. Transportation and Infrastructure Hazards
    1. Transportation Incidents
    2. Fires
    3. Hazardous Material Incidents
    4. Infrastructure Failures
    5. Power Outages
  6. Weather and Climate Hazards
    1. Excessive Heat
    2. Flooding
    3. Snow, Ice and Extreme Cold
    4. Water Shortages
    5. Windstorms