Grant further boosts Vashon’s emergency preparedness

Vashon Island Fire & Rescue (VIFR), in partnership with Vashon-BePrepared, recently re-ceived a $16,000 grant from King County to purchase a Disaster Emer-gency Response Trailer (DERT). 

The DERT, said fire chief Hank Lipe, will hold 90 cots that can be transported to any part of the Island.

“It gives us the ability to set up a shelter at any given place,” he said.

The grant, awarded by the county’s Office of Emergency Management, is one of several recent boosts to Vashon’s emergency preparedness efforts.

In March, the fire department received two donated emergency power generators — one from the county and one from the Franciscan Health System — that will power shelters or warming centers in the case of a large storm or earthquake.

In addition, Lipe said, the Vashon Island School District is currently working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on a contract that would put the district on FEMA’s national registry of predesigned emergency shelters. 

If added to the list, Vashon could more quickly receive funds and supplies from the government to set up an emergency shelter at one of Vashon’s three schools. 

“It streamlines the funding mechanism to support that shelter operation,” Lipe said. 

Lipe said he is pleased with what VIFR and VashonBePrepared have accomplished since last November’s snow storm and Island-wide power outage, which prompted them to further prepare the Island for a large emergency.

“We’re continuing to partner with King Coun-ty Office of Emergency Management and the school district and hopefully the library system in the future for a warming center in town,” he said. “I’m ecstatic at what we’ve been able to achieve in a short time frame.”


— Natalie Johnson

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