HistoryThe Salvation Army began offering assistance to disaster survivors after a major hurricane hit Galveston, TX in September 1900, destroying the coastal city and killing thousands of people. At the request of The Salvation Army’s National Commander, Frederick Booth-Tucker, officers (the clergy of The Salvation Army) from across the country moved into the Galveston area to help feed and shelter the thousands of survivors, while also providing much needed emotional and spiritual support.
Since then, The Salvation Army has responded to numerous natural disasters, transportation accidents, civil unrest situations and terrorist attacks. By providing beverages, meals, and emotional and spiritual care to first responders and survivors, The Salvation Army strives to bring hope and healing to people who find themselves in the midst of extremely difficult situations.
Our Disaster Services
Disaster Relief Services
While each disaster creates its own unique circumstances and special needs, Salvation Army disaster relief efforts focus on seven core services. These services may be modified based on the magnitude of the disaster and adapted to meet the specific needs of individual survivors.
The first step in being ready to respond to an emergency is training. In partnership with other agencies, The Salvation Army’s disaster training program offers a variety of courses designed to help individuals and communities prepare for emergency events and become trained disaster volunteers.
When disaster strikes, one of the first signs that help is on the way is often the arrival of a Salvation Army mobile feeding unit, offering meals, snacks and drinks to rescue workers and survivors.
Emotional and Spiritual Care
Motivated by Christian faith, The Salvation Army deploys specially trained individuals to offer emotional and spiritual care to rescue workers and disaster survivors.
The Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) includes a worldwide network of volunteer amateur radio operators and other communications specialists, who may be mobilized to transmit emergency information during a disaster event.
Disaster Social Services
After a family has lost everything in a disaster, The Salvation Army is there to provide emergency assistance to help meet survivors’ most urgent needs for food, clothing, shelter and medical services.
The Salvation Army is one of the nation’s leaders in responsibly collecting, sorting and distributing donated goods. The Salvation Army encourages cash donations as the best and most flexible way to help and solicits only those in-kind donations which can be effectively received and efficiently distributed.
The Salvation Army supports long-term disaster recovery operations with flexible programming that is adaptable to the unique needs of individual communities.
TrainingPreparedness is the first phase of the Emergency Management Cycle. Just like individuals and families must make preparations for potential dangers and threats, so too, disaster workers prepare by participating in training classes. Courses are designed with adult learners in mind that emphasizes group interaction and cooperative learning. Training courses include classes in incident management, canteen operations, food service, emotional and spiritual care as well as basic first aid and CPR training.
Disaster training courses are rated according to difficulty; the higher the difficulty level, the more complex the knowledge presented. Certain courses may also require prerequisite classes.
NEXT STEPThank you for your interest in sharing your time and talents with The Salvation Army. Volunteers play a crucial role in disaster response efforts by offering basic needs to those who may have lost everything. To learn more about what The Salvation Army does during a disaster response, click here.
The first step in becoming a disaster worker with The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services program is to create an online profile and complete a simple application. Click the Next button in order to begin that process. After you have completed the online application, your information will be shared with your local Salvation Army.
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