Red Cross Teaches Disaster Preparedness on Military Bases

Red Cross Teaches Disaster Preparedness on Overseas Military Bases

Emily Burek and her husband SSgt. Steve Youchnik race to assemble an emergency kit at Kadena Air Base in Japan.

I just like to have a preparedness bag in case something happens.

The American Red Cross is hosting preparedness events in September on military installations around the world in honor of National Preparedness Month.

In its tenth year, National Preparedness Month, sponsored by FEMA, is a nationwide effort encouraging individuals, families, businesses and communities to prepare for emergencies.

Preparedness in Japan

The Red Cross at Kadena Air Base on Okinawa, Japan, recently hosted an event at the Base Exchange and invited people to race to assemble a disaster kit with items such as food, water, emergency blankets, a stapler, rubber duck and a computer mouse. The first to complete the kit with the correct items won a prize and was entered to win a 1,000-piece First Aid kit and a free Red Cross class.

“Even though the game wasn’t particularly difficult, it made people start thinking about their own disaster preparedness kits at home,” said Karis Morrall, a field office coordinator on base.

Emily Burek and her husband SSgt. Steve Youchnik raced each other to assemble a kit. “I just like to have a preparedness bag in case something happens,” Burek said. “Typhoons are definitely our biggest concern out here.”

Morrall said that all the participants walked away from the event with a shopping list for an emergency kit, noting that most people on base shelter-in-place during a tropical storm at least once per year.

The event also awarded prizes to people who had downloaded free Red Cross preparedness apps, which provide users with fast information in case of a hurricane, tornado, wildfire, earthquake or First Aid emergency.

Diana Sobrino attended the event with her one-year old daughter, Alessandra. Her daughter recently had cerebral seizure, and Sobrino downloaded the Red Cross First Aid App to have on hand for future emergencies.

“I just think the information is good to know,” Sobrino said. “Even if [Alessandra] gets into household poisons or something like that, it’s good to be able to know what to do.”

Preparedness in Germany

At the Bavarian Military Community of Hohenfels and Grafenwoehr in Germany, the Red Cross is hosting several events, including a Lifesavers Event today to teach preparedness skills to youth and a mass First Aid/CPR/AED class on September 27 and 28 to certify up to 150 participants in Adult & Pediatric First Aid/CPR/AED skills.

“Having a game plan in place is essential for all households so everyone knows what they should do when an emergency occurs,” said Tammie Pech, assistant station manager in Vilseck, Germany. “National Preparedness Month is a perfect time for all overseas residents to create or update their plan.”

For more information on individual and family preparedness, go to

Tags: Prepare, SAF.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.