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VashonBePrepared is a coalition of disaster preparedness organizations on Vashon -Maury Island in Washington's Puget Sound region. Started in 2002 as the informal Vashon Disaster Preparedness Coalition, VashonBePrepared incorporated on April 12, 2007 and shortly thereafter received non-profit 501(c)(3) recognition. In 2014, FEMA designated us as the local Citizen Corp Council.
VashonBePrepared helps recruit, train and coordinate volunteers, works closely with Vashon Island Fire & Rescue (VIFR) to mitigate effects of disasters, and educates the public and local businesses on how to best prepare for disruptive events. VashonBePrepared has studied probable effects from the Seattle Fault a few miles north and the Tacoma Fault that underlies our island.
VashonBePrepared itself has no significant operational role during disasters but our volunteers all have roles under the guidance of local emergency managers at Vashon Island Fire & Rescue who direct response & initial recovery efforts.
Over 3% of island residents have volunteered with VashonBePrepared at one time or another and an unusually high percentage of islanders have lain in supplies. Maintaining this level of preparedness is a key challenge. Winter storms regularly knock out power for days and – along with periodic ferry outages – help residents maintain their alertness.
Under the umbrella of VashonBePrepared and Vashon Island Fire and Rescue, continued emphasis has been placed on individual preparedness; a functioning Emergency Operations Center (EOC) has been established, the Vashon Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) organization trained in excess of 200 islanders in minor firefighting, first aid, search and rescue and communication; Vashon Radio Club (an ARES affiliate) organized a parallel emergency communications network; the Medical Reserve Corps set up an emergency response structure to augment existing medical personnel and facilities; over 100 informal Neighborhood Emergency Response Organizations (NERO's) have been activated; Voice of Vashon (VoV) established an island wide emergency public information radio network; and, the Vashon Emergency Preparedness Committee (VEPC) continues the process of expanding plans for shelter and feeding of personnel in the aftermath of a disaster.
VashonBePrepared is a Coalition of Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD) – but also house those teams without a formal organizational structure. VashonBePrepared raises and manages significant grants for its partners but (with much volunteer participation) spends little money itself.