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Disasters of incredible magnitude call for people with incredible generosity.
When disaster strikes, The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) rolls into action — offering cold drinks, hot meals, and compassion to both victims and first responders. And in the long term, we remain committed to help — providing food, clothing, shelter, and a plan for real recovery.
While every disaster is unique, the core of our disaster program consists of several basic services that address many of the typical needs of a disaster survivor. However, The Salvation Army disaster relief is also flexible. Our services are adapted to the specific needs of individuals and communities and are scalable according to the magnitude of the disaster.
In a sense, The Salvation Army deals with disasters daily, on an individual, human scale. With EDS, we are shifting from individual disaster assistance to a larger, community disaster assistance. And we know how to work with communities. We also have a wide range of capabilities. If they need translators on the scene, we can find them. If they need water, we can bring that. If they need a hot meal, we can offer one. We can also provide real emotional and spiritual care. -John McKnight, EDS Director for The Salvation Army’s Golden State Division
As one of the nation's major emergency relief organizations, The Salvation Army recognizes the critical importance of being prepared for natural and manmade disasters. Therefore, we take steps to ensure our own ability to respond quickly and efficiently to a disaster, while also working to educate other disaster professionals and the public at large about how to prepare for and respond to emergencies.
Immediate Emergency Response
Emergency response services are activated on short notice according to an agreed-upon notification procedure coordinated with federal, state, and local governments. Typically, Salvation Army personnel and resources will congregate at predetermined staging areas, entering the impacted area only once government first-responders have indicated that it is safe and constructive to do so. These immediate response activities include food and hydration services, shelter, cleanup, and emergency communication assistance to put victims in touch with their loved ones.
Long-Term Disaster Recovery
Depending on the magnitude of the disaster, The Salvation Army may continue providing immediate response services, such as emergency shelter and food service, well into the recovery process. Additionally, The Salvation Army will often coordinate with local, state, and federal entities to develop and execute long-term strategic disaster recovery plans. These activities include restoration and rebuilding initiatives, disaster social services (to address essential living needs, medical expenses or funeral costs), and in-kind donation distribution to disaster victims.
Spiritual and Emotional Care
Throughout the duration and aftermath of a major disaster, The Salvation Army provides spiritual comfort and emotional support upon request to victims and emergency workers coping with the stress of a catastrophe. Salvation Army counselors, who are often ordained as clergy (officers), may simply offer a "ministry of presence," but often people who know about The Salvation Army as representatives of God may ask for prayer or help from the Bible. Disaster relief and recovery services are provided to all in need without discrimination.
John A. McKnight, Director of Emergency & Disaster Services, The Salvation Army Golden State Division
Dan Guhl, Director of Emmanuel House Shelter, The Salvation Army Silicon Valley, Office: (408) 282-1175