While each disaster creates its own unique circumstances and special needs, The Salvation Army offers several basic services to disaster victims and rescue workers. These services form the core of The Salvation Army's disaster services program, but are not the limit. Salvation Army services are flexible and may be adapted to meet the specific needs of an individual community or a disaster event.
Our Role In Disaster Services
Federal law has reaffirmed The Salvation Army's authority to provide disaster assistance with the passage of the Robert T. Stafford Emergency and Disaster Assistance Act, which also created the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This Act specifically names The Salvation Army as a relief and disaster assistance organization. Several factors guide The Salvation Army's role in responding to disasters. These guiding factors include:
- The Salvation Army has an established right to provide disaster relief services. That right is recognized by public law and through signed Memorandums of Understanding and Agreements (MOUs) with government agencies and other voluntary organizations.
- The Salvation Army's disaster relief services are supported solely by donations.
- The Salvation Army is not a first responder; rather, it supports first responders.
- The Salvation Army is a mass-care support agency.
The Salvation Army's Goals in Emergency Disaster Services When The Salvation Army initiates a disaster relief operation, the first aim is to meet the basic needs of those who have been affected, both survivors and first responders (such as firefighters). Even at this level, The Salvation Army's workers are ministering in that they serve as a means of expressing God's love. The Salvation Army's goals are to offer:
- Material comfort
- Physical comfort
- Emotional comfort
- Spiritual comfort