Donated generators will power emergency shelters on Vashon

Thanks to donations acquired by Vashon Island Fire and Rescue (VIFR), Vashon will be more prepared for a large storm or natural disaster, says fire chief Hank Lipe.

The department recently received two emergency power generators — one from King County's Office of Emergency Management and one from the Franciscan Health System.

Lipe said one generator will likely be installed at Chautauqua Elementary to power a 24-hour emergency shelter at the school in the case of a long-term power outage or sustained cold weather.

The other generator will power a cold-weather warming station and may be installed at the Vashon Library during its remodel.

“Both of them are still in the planning phases,” he said.

Lipe requested the generator from the county after last November's snow, wind and ice storm cut off power to the entire Island. The event prompted VIFR and VashonBePrepared, Vashon's volunteer emergency response organization, to consider what the Island would do in an even worse scenario.

“The recent storm events in November and long-term power outages really demonstrated how vulnerable the Island is without emergency power,” Lipe said.

Lipe said Jon Flora, president of the Franciscan Foundation and Vashon resident, was largely responsible for the donation of the generator from the Franciscan Health System.

The generator, valued at about $50,000, was in use at the Franciscan’s Enumclaw Regional Hospital until the facility closed last month.

Lipe said the department will look for grants to fund the installation of the two generators.

“It's quite a boost to our planning efforts,” he said.


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