Campaign in place to help islanders in cardiac arrest

News of the week from VashonBePrepared

Working with the Sam Yates Community Foundation, Vashon Island Fire & Rescue (VIFR) has taken the first step in a comprehensive campaign that will help save lives by improving cardiac event response.

The campaign will spread information about the locations of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) on the island. The devices can be used by anyone to help save a life.

Emergency responders know that the clock is ticking away minutes when someone has a heart attack or other cardiac emergency. The faster the patient gets help, the better the chances of saving a patient’s life. That’s why they are called the “golden minutes.”

“Time is of the essence when someone is experiencing a cardiac event. That’s why we want everyone’s help in identifying all the Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) on the island,” said Fire Chief Matt Vinci. “We will put the locations in our database and enter them in the PulsePoint smartphone app so citizens can quickly find one of these easy-to-use AEDs and begin lifesaving steps while a VIFR responder is on the way.”

To provide VIFR with the location of an AED you have, or if you know the location of one, complete this online form.

Get information on the PulsePoint app at

Chief Vinci pointed out that gaining golden minutes could be especially precious help in a situation where all VIFR ambulances are already out on calls or making the three-hour round trip to transport a patient to a mainland hospital.

VIFR plans additional steps in this effort, including citizen classes in CPR and “Stop the Bleed.”

The AED efforts are being implemented in coordination with the Sam Yates Community Foundation ( established by Sam’s family following his tragic sudden death last year, caused by a cardiac arrhythmia. He was a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps, completing training at The Basic School in Quantico, Virginia at the time of his death.

COVID Risk Level Holding at Basic

March tends to be a quieter time for the COVID pandemic. That’s playing out again this year. The overall COVID risk rating was lowered to the blue Basic Risk level in the first week of March, for the first time since Thanksgiving.

The VashonBePrepared COVID Risk Advice Tool is based on the hospitalization rate in our three-county COVID risk assessment area, and also takes into account the new case rate, the positive test rate, and COVID virus levels in wastewater tested by regional public health departments.

COVID prevention advice for the basic risk level is to wear an N95 mask indoors if you have been exposed to COVID, are at risk for health or other reasons, or live or spend time with someone at high risk.

Keep vaccinations up to date, including boosters. Maintain good ventilation at home and at work.

Avoid those with suspected or confirmed COVID. If exposed to COVID, wear a mask in public and avoid contact with those at high risk for 10 days, and always home-test if you have symptoms. If you test positive, isolate for at least five days and until you test negative.

If immunocompromised, discuss additional prevention actions with your healthcare provider.

Marine Safety Classes

Boat owners who are navigating Puget Sound don’t have the luxury of striped lanes and stoplights as they do on Vashon Highway or Fauntleroy Way. But there are rules of the road, even out on the water. Quartermaster Yacht Club has revived its tech talk series for boaters, and there’s a training on Marine Rules of the Road coming up at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 22, at Vashon Library. No need to sign up. Just show up.

Prep Tip Part 2: Traveling Prepared

Last week, VashonBePrepared provided tips to keep your home safe while you are away, as more people are traveling or planning to travel. This week, we provide part two of travel preparation tips.

When you leave home, you leave your safety net behind. We’ve all heard scary stories from friends and family about being injured or getting sick while traveling. A go-bag, some planning, and a prepared mindset can help you sail past many mishaps.

Research possible hazards at your destination. Consider how you’ll cope. (Hint: tune in to local news media once you arrive; ask local experts for advice.)

If you plan to check your luggage, your carry-on should contain your essential items, such as medicines and a change of clothes. The middle of the night is no time to be looking for a pharmacy. A checklist can be found here.

Building codes differ widely around the globe. How will you safely exit your room if there’s an emergency, such as a fire or earthquake? Keep a flashlight and shoes within reach at night, and keep your carry-on of essentials mostly packed, in case you need to leave quickly for some reason.

If you are traveling internationally, what’s the local equivalent of 911 where you’re headed? In the United States, Canada, and Mexico, the number is 911. But in the European Union, the emergency number is 112 and many other countries have quite different two or three-digit emergency numbers. Get this info ahead of time at

When you get to a new spot, find out the location of the nearest urgent care or hospital. Can your hotel send a doctor to your room, if needed?

Travel health insurance may save you money, but it’s important to obtain it before you leave home. Include med-evac: your Airlift NW membership only works in a few US states.

Carry medical records. If you lose a prescription or have a condition requiring special care, you won’t have to explain it if you have the info along. Redundancy is smart: put a hard copy in your carry-on, scan it to your phone, and/or email it to yourself.

Think ahead about security. Stay aware of people and situations around you. Stick to populated, well-lit areas. Check travel websites, including,, for more ideas.

When you get home, check that you haven’t accidentally brought home some stowaways such as bed bugs or the like.

When you are sure it’s safe from stowaways, stow your repacked go bag or carry-on to be ready for your next trip or even for an emergency right at home.