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 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. Courses include Salvation Army specific material as well as certified CPR, AED, and basic first aid training, ServSafe® food service training, Mental Health First Aid®, and Critical Incident Stress Management®. Nearly all classes are offered at no cost to participants.
After a disaster, the most immediate needs are food and hydration. The arrival of Salvation Army mobile feeding units providing meals, snacks, and drinks to first responders and survivors is often one of the first signs that assistance efforts have begun. A hot meal, a warm cup of coffee, or a cold drink can mean hope to those who have lost most everything.
Many disaster survivors and first responders experience emotional distress after a traumatic event such as a disaster. The Salvation Army deploys specially trained individuals to offer emotional and spiritual care to rescue workers and disaster survivors who may need a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on or a word of encouragement. Emotional and Spiritual Care workers are also able to answer questions about the disaster recovery process and how to find and receive services.
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.
In the early stages after a disaster, emergency assistance is focused on helping families with essential needs such as hygiene items, childcare supplies, replacement prescription medications, tools, cleaning supplies, food, and other basic needs. While these items cannot replace all that is lost, they do provide individuals and families with some assistance. Gift cards and vouchers may also be provided to aid in short-term recovery.
Many individuals and families require much more assistance than insurance and government programming may provide. When this happens, The Salvation Army, partnering with other government and nonprofit agencies, utilizes flexible programming that is adaptable to meet unmet basic needs and address restoration and rebuilding projects.
The Salvation Army is one of the nation’s leaders in responsibly collecting, sorting and distributing donated goods. The Salvation Army encourages financial 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.