Is Your Family Disaster-Ready?
September is National Preparedness Month, when Americans are encouraged to prepare for disasters or emergencies striking their home, business, or community. In 2018 alone, authorities estimate that natural disasters cost the country nearly $100 billion and killed nearly 250 people, making preparedness a priority both for individuals and institutions.
The Salvation Army has been responding to natural disasters since September 1900, providing everything from food and shelter to emotional and spiritual care. Based on those 100+ years of helping people impacted by hurricanes, floods, fires, tornadoes and more, our Emergency Disaster Services offers these tips for being prepared:
- Create a family emergency plan. Talk with your family and map out what you will do when disaster strikes. During a tornado, go to the lowest and most interior part of the home (preferably without windows). For a fire, leave the home immediately and move as far away as possible.
- Have a list of support organizations. When you are safe and the immediate danger has passed, reach out to organizations that can help. Organizations like The Salvation Army help with shelter, food, medicines and more. Contact the local utilities to shut off water, electricity and gas.
- Prepare an emergency supply kit. A kit should include items such as flashlights with extra batteries, matches and candles, power packs to charge phones, dust masks, gloves, first aid materials, a week’s worth of prescriptions, and copies of IDs, insurance policies and other important forms.
- Support response agencies like The Salvation Army. When you become a Bed and Bread club member, you ensure that The Salvation Army is immediately ready to provide food and shelter in your community when disaster strikes.
- Check your insurance policies and coverage for hazards you may face. Update your policy as needed.
- Learn lifesaving skills such as CPR and other life-saving techniques.
- Connect with agencies engaged in disaster response and relief – like The Salvation Army – or see if your area supports a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).
- Be aware of the weather. Listen to your local news. Know what type of storm is coming, and the expected damage it could bring.
The Salvation Army serves every zip code throughout the United States, and are always among the first relief agencies to respond in times of tragedy. We’re also often the last organization to leave.
Our core disaster services include:
Food Services – The Salvation Army provides snacks, drinks and meals at fixed locations (i.e., shelters) and from mobile feeding kitchens (i.e., canteens) during a disaster.
Emotional and Spiritual Care – The Salvation Army deploys trained professionals to disaster locations to provide emotional and spiritual support for survivors.
Disaster Social Services – The Salvation Army provides emergency assistance to meet individuals’ most urgent, as well as long-lasting, needs.
Donations Management – The Salvation Army is one of the nation’s leaders in responsibly collecting, sorting and distributing donated goods. Cash donations are encouraged to help stimulate economic recovery and to ensure survivors are given items that are needed most.
Volunteer Management – The Salvation Army’s disaster training program offers a variety of courses designed to help individuals and communities prepare for emergency events. Talk to your local community center to learn more and become a volunteer.
Recovery – The Salvation Army adapts long-term disaster recovery operations to the unique needs of individual communities. Long-term recovery goes beyond the initial relief and cleanup to the rebuilding of homes and lives, which may take weeks or years.
When you support The Salvation Army, you ensure that we are poised and ready to help those in need immediately when disaster strikes. You ensure disaster victims have food and shelter, the most pressing needs when all is lost. And you offer perhaps the most meaningful help of all: the knowledge that someone cares.
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