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Tulalip's Rochelle James named to Red Cross Board

TULALIP — Rochelle James, director of Emergency Management for the Tulalip Tribes, has been named as one of four new members of the Snohomish County Chapter of the American Red Cross Board of Directors.

James is responsible for maintaining emergency plans for and educating the Tulalip community about disaster preparedness, as well as coordinating its response efforts during incidents.

"My goal is to reduce the loss of life or property in the event of natural disasters, pandemic flus, harsh winter storms, widespread power outages lasting several days, and even less likely occurrences such as earthquakes," James said. "Basically, we have to plan for the worst."

James credited her status as a Tulalip Tribal member with giving her an extra incentive to foster a community that would respond resiliently to such disasters, describing herself as someone who has a vested interest in the lives, cultural property and welfare of the community.

After receiving her bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Washington, James taught nutrition classes to schoolchildren on the reservation though a Washington State University extension program. Out of a desire to make an even larger impact in her community, James obtained a master's degree in public administration and a certificate in nonprofit management.

"It's because of these experiences and education that I'm able to contribute to such an amazing organization as the Snohomish County Red Cross," James said. "I'm dedicated to the Red Cross because of their noble mission. They're committed to helping people when they need it the most. When people are most vulnerable, the Red Cross is there to provide essential services that save lives and provide hope to those who have lost everything."

James has worked with agencies ranging from the city of Marysville to Snohomish County, and cited the Red Cross' $78 million in earthquake relief efforts to Haiti as an example of how, in her words, "In catastrophic events, the Red Cross is there, and on a local level, they're there at house fires, floods and other events where they can fill a need."

James urged area residents to have several days' worth of water and non-perishable food items in their homes, as well as portable radios, plenty of flashlights with fresh batteries, and alternate heating sources.

"Make sure you have enough food to feed whatever pets you have, for the same amount of time," James said. "In light of recent events, we can see firsthand how preparing ourselves can provide relief during times when you might not have any outside aid for several days."

Although James appreciates being able to offer a tribal perspective on the Red Cross Board, she added, "Disasters happen no matter where you are, but the more you know the culture of an area, the better equipped you are to respond."

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