American Red Cross Senior Station Manager Mary Basiliere, a preparedness expert, arrived in her new position at Camp Lemmonier in Djibouti just in time for National Preparedness Month.
In its tenth year, National Preparedness Month, sponsored by FEMA, is a nationwide effort encouraging individuals, families, businesses and communities to work together and take action to prepare for emergencies. Red Cross chapters and military installations around the world are planning events to help people develop their disaster plans, get information on how to be prepared, and learn more about what their community’s plans are for emergencies.
From Iraq to Djibouti
Having served the Red Cross in Iraq and Japan preparing military installations for disaster, Basiliere’s work in the Horn of Africa will focus on First Aid and CPR training, instructor training and disaster preparedness activities, such as non-combative evacuation operations. She will also support emergency communication services, morale activities and visit service members in the hospital.
“If my going there helps reunite a family during a family crisis back home, awesome. If someone I taught CPR to saves a life, that’s even better,” Basiliere said of her six-month deployment to Djibouti.
Basiliere served in Iraq twice during Operation Iraqi Freedom supporting the military while keeping a constant eye out for incoming fire. In March 2011, she was serving on Yokota Air Base in Japan when the 9.0-magnitude earthquake struck.
Just weeks prior to the disaster, she coordinated a week-long class training dozens of military members and civilians in disaster preparedness skills, such as how to run a shelter and how to manage the Safe and Well website.
Basiliere firmly believes that the training helped the U.S. installations in Japan be in a better position to respond to the devastation. People jumped in and started helping “from the minute the ground stopped shaking,” she said.
Easy Steps to Get Prepared for an Emergency
The Red Cross offers a variety of programs and resources to help people get prepared for an emergency: