On Vashon, everybody pulls together in a tough situation. So, when three winterstorms lashed the Island during January 2012 Snowmageddon week, people were looking for a rallying point — a place to help each other out by sharing information. They found that community rallying point in Voice of Vashon.
After two snowstorms coated the roads, the ice storm arrived to knock out power for more than one-third of the Island’s homes and businesses. The ice encased trees and branches broke under the weight, crashing through power lines, bringing them down all over the Island, especially in the hard hit south Vashon and Maury Island areas.
Many Islanders know Voice of Vashon as the web streaming radio station, VoV TV on Comcast Channel 21, the 1650 AM information station or as the producer of the Church of Great Rain variety show. During the storm, Voice of Vashon mobilized to provide 24/7 information to the community.“It was magic,” said Voice of Vashon President and on-air volunteer Jeanne Dougherty. “During storm week, a sense of community blossomed in the middle of all that freezing snow and ice. Islanders went way beyond listening and actually became part of the community effort by sharing information. It was heart warming to be a part of it.”
As the week wore on, dozens of community members shared information with each other and with the Voice of Vashon volunteers via Voice of Vashon's Facebook page, the VashonALL email list and Ham radio, helping the team understand the scope of the emergency as it unfolded.Voice of Vashon volunteers contributed 250 hours of round-the-clock work to keep the information flowing. They worked hand in hand with Vashon Island Fire & Rescue, King County Road Services, Vashon Emergency Operations Center, Puget Sound Energy, National Weather Service, Vashon-Maury Island Radio Club, and many others to gather and broadcast information on emergency conditions, including official advice on staying safe.
On its 1650AM emergency broadcast system, Voice of Vashon began transmitting continuous storm information on January 15th as the first storm was approaching the area. By the time it was over on the 22nd, the station had logged 173 hours of continuous storm service on 1650AM. The station shared the bulletins through the Voice of Vashon Facebook page, the VashonALL email list and the VoiceOfVashon.org website. Adding up the week’s work, Voice of Vashon posted a total of 171 community update bulletins through its combined information channels.
Want to Join the Voice of Vashon Team?
Voice of Vashon is currently recruiting for its 1650AM Emergency Broadcast Team and also welcomes volunteers for the web radio station or channel 21 public access television program. To become a Voice of Vashon volunteer, call or email for an interview. Leave a message at the Voice of Vashon answering machine at 206-463-0301 or email
learn more about Voice of Vashon, visit VoiceOfVashon.org, and to receive emergency alerts on FaceBook, visit FaceBook.com/VoiceOfVashon.