The frequency and impact of natural disasters is on the rise worldwide. Earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis, forest fires, tornadoes, ice storms and severe rain storms are happening more often than ever before.
As one of Canada’s major emergency relief organizations, The Salvation Army is, many a time, assigned specific roles by Emergency Preparedness authorities. Emotional and spiritual support, registration and inquiry, shelter, transportation, emergency housing, feeding or clothing is provided both in the response and recovery phase.
The Salvation Army has developed a National Disaster Training Program (NDTP), a very detailed emergency response training program whereby volunteers are trained in every aspect of Salvation Army emergency response. Only pre-trained, pre-registered volunteers are called on during an emergency or disaster response.
The Army’s established and well-rehearsed emergency protocol allows the organization to deliver fast, efficient service to first responders and disaster survivors. And while the Army is often first at the scene, it is the last to leave when tragedy strikes.
For example, in June 2013, when heavy rainfall triggered catastrophic flooding in lower Alberta, The Salvation Army was not only immediately on the scene providing food, hydration and emotional care, it stayed in the hardest hit community of High River for months following. While people tried to resume some sense of “normal” the Army provided food, clothing, gift cards, furniture vouchers, as well as other miscellaneous items such as work gloves, diapers and cleaning supplies.