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As one of the nation's major emergency relief organizations, The Salvation Army recognizes the critical importance of being prepared for natural and man-made 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 emergency situations.
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.
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 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.
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. As is true with all Salvation Army Services, disaster relief and recovery services are provided to all in need without discrimination.
We work closely with other disaster relief organizations and government agencies to maximize our impact and avoid duplicating services. We are also an active member of the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (NVOAD) and work with state and Federal agencies to provide assistance.
Our mobile kitchens travel the streets to provide hot meals to survivors and relief workers. We also set up meal stations near busy work sites or in community buildings where neighbors and volunteers gather for support.
During a major disaster, time is of the essence in letting families know their loved ones are safe. We locate survivors and provide information to their family and friends through our Salvation Army Team Emergency Response Network (SATERN).
In major disasters, we set up hubs that provide shelter, meals and counseling, often working with other agencies. When the best option is a short-term hotel stay, we cover the bill.
In major disasters, we can coordinate or assist with cleanup and reconstruction. We have troops of volunteers to enlist for large projects like this. We also provide hundreds of thousands of clean-up kits to disaster survivors annually so they are able to get started on the road to recovery.
We know it won?t undo what?s been lost, but we can offer financial help as a step toward a brighter future. We have short-term grants for medicine, groceries and other pressing needs. When the road back to normal is a bit longer, we partner with other agencies to give you long-term financial help. You never have to worry about repaying anything we give.
We recruit, train and deploy disaster volunteers, sometimes by the thousands. We also help coordinate community volunteers during large-scale efforts.
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