Emergency Disaster Services
Always on Call
Within moments of terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, which left our nation in a state of shock and grief, The Salvation Army called on its troops to stand side-by-side and support the citizens of this great land.
"The Salvation Army's response to this grim crisis and to the anguish and pain of Americans is made possible by a powerful national network. The Salvation Army has an operation in nearly every city in this country and each is fully mobilized and on alert to help all affected by this act of terror-both physically and emotionally-now and in the days to come," said Commissioner John Busby, then national commander, in charge of The Salvation Army-s work in the United States.
This catastrophe is only one of many that plague our world today. We continually hear news reports about floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, fires, airplane crashes, terrorist attacks and other tragedies, but find it difficult and painful to imagine the individuals and families directly affected by these disasters. Many people are left homeless, without food, clothing and other basic necessities because of a natural disaster, an accident or an act of violence. Some lose loved ones. Entire communities can be immobilized, causing terror and despair.
This national network allows The Salvation Army to respond immediately and effectively minister to communities and individuals. When a tornado hits a rural town in Nebraska, we're there When fires sweep through western states, we're there. When hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, terrorist attacks devastate thousands of lives, we're there. We're there, always on call, serving without discrimination!
Restoring hope to people in need is the foundation of The Salvation Army's mission. Often within minutes of a calamity, Salvation Army personnel and equipment arrive to provide food and beverages, clothing, shelter, pastoral counseling, motivated by Christian love. Wherever the need, our commitment to service assures that people receive practical, emotional and spiritual support.
To ensure thorough assistance and avoid duplication of aid, The Salvation Army collaborates with the U.S. National Guard, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), American Red Cross, National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, Southern Baptist Convention and other agencies during times of crisis. Partnering with businesses and corporations, The Salvation Army establishes warehouses and distribution centers in key locations to receive, sort and disperse donations. Churches, schools, businesses, community groups and individuals collect non-perishable food, hygiene products, baby care items and cleaning supplies for distribution through The Salvation Army.
Often, The Salvation Army only requests monetary donations to most affectively and efficiently meet the needs of people. These donations are used to purchase supplies that can be distributed immediately, alleviating the costs often associated with storing gifts-in-kind. This also allows The Salvation Army to put money directly into the local economy, struggling in the disaster?s wake.
In addition to immediate relief The Salvation Army frequently participates in long-term recovery such as cleaning flooded homes and distributing donated furniture and household goods or in severe disasters providing construction materials and volunteer laborers to help people rebuild destroyed homes and restore ravaged communities. Salvation Army workers give a friendly smile, a listening ear, an encouraging word, a helping hand, a shoulder to lean on, a whispered prayer. Thousands of volunteers join hands with The Salvation Army to help shovel mud, serve a hot meal, remove moldy drywall and carpet, organize donated supplies, demolish splintered walls, scrub filthy floors, sort damaged heirlooms and help wherever they can.
One of the largest long-term efforts has been in response to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. The Salvation Army spent $35 million to assist people through a long-term action plan including continued service and support to those directly impacted, a joint effort with Whitsons, a Long Island based food service provider, to help businesses regain income, and opening low-and no-income counseling centers in the Greater New York area to provided grief and stress counseling over a three-year period.
One of The Salvation Army's first emergency operations occurred in 1900 in Galveston, Texas, after a major hurricane left extensive destruction in its wake. In 1906, The Salvation again went into action after an earthquake and fire reduced San Francisco, Calif., to a mound of smoldering rubble, The Salvation Army organized a campaign to raise funds and collect donated goods from Michigan to California. During the first six weeks nearly 30,000 people were fed and over 9,000 received shelter. During both World Wars Salvation Army volunteers distinguished themselves at the battlefronts by distributing refreshments, dry socks and other comforts to the troops at no charge. Still today, The Salvation Army ministers to our troops and their families by meeting needs and offering support.
Salvation Army disaster ministries have grown in efficiency and effectiveness through the innovative leadership of officers (pastors) and personnel who have organized disaster training seminars; developed comprehensive disaster preparedness plans; acquired state-of-the-art equipment such as mobile canteens, cellular telephones and short-wave radios; and initiated partnerships with large corporations which have contributed finances, personnel, equipment, transportation, warehouse space and donated goods.
The Salvation Army's role in disaster assistance was affirmed in the U.S. by The Federal Relief Act of 1970 and The Disaster Relief Act of 1974. These laws were passed with support from Salvation Army volunteers, officers, lay members and employees who informed their legislators about The Salvation Army's crucial disaster response ministry.
A significant development in disaster response was the creation of the Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN). It has grown from four amateur radio operators in 1988 to a worldwide network of more than 1,000 members who relay messages during calamities. SATERN has links to the United Nations, Western Europe, Canada, Mexico, Great Britain, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Australia and other countries.
Disaster Services Website